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At Memorial Day: Another Iraq Vet, With PTSD, Dies

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On Memorial Day weekend, yet another American family is mourning the death of son who survived the war in Iraq -- only to fall victim at home from post traumatic shock disorder.

The family lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Marine was Chad Oligschlaeger, age 21, who died this week at the Twenty Nine Palms base in California.

While the cause of his death is still being investigated, family members say he was taking eight different types of medications to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving two tours in Iraq.

I've been chronicling these stories for nearly five years, and the surge in such reports in recent weeks is truly troubling.

Byron Smith, Oligschlaeger's uncle, told a local TV outlet, "the first tour he came back and he asked for help, and they sent him back over there. I guess that was their idea of help. He did what a marine does -- he went over there."

His father, Eric, said, "The second tour ... I don't think he was ready to go back. I think he was fighting it. I think he was afraid to go back."

"We sent these kids over there, we're putting them through things that we'll never see in our lifetimes. Things we see in the movies that are not real, it's real to them," said Christine Judan, a family friend of the Oligschlaegers.

Also reported yesterday: a West Virginia paper has found four local cases of Iraq vets who died in their sleep after taking a combination of drugs prescribed for PTSD. More on this soon.
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Greg Mitchell's new book has several chapters on Iraq vet suicide. It is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. It features a preface by Bruce Springsteen and a foreword by Joe Galloway.