"Why do the numbers keep going up? We cannot tell you," said Army Secretary Pete Geren. "We can tell you that across the Army we're committed to doing everything we can to address the problem."
It's all about pressure and the military approach, said Kim Ruocco, 45, whose Marine husband was an officer and Cobra helicopter pilot who hanged himself in a California hotel room in 2005. That was one month before he was to return to Iraq a second time.
She said her husband, John, had completed 75 missions in Iraq and was struggling with anxiety and depression but felt he'd be letting others down if he sought help and couldn't return.
"He could be any Marine because he was highly decorated, stable, the guy everyone went to for help," Ruocco said in a telephone interview. "But the thing is ... the culture of the military is to be strong no matter what and not show any weakness."