AWOL Soldier From Lewis-McChord Turns Himself In
A soldier from Joint Base Lewis–McChord who went AWOL plans to turn himself in this afternoon. Twenty–six–year–old Brook Thomas Lindsey says he fled the military because he wasn't receiving the mental health care he needed.
He's speaking publicly in front of the base at a rally beforehand to raise awareness about the rights of active duty service members to conscientiously object. The rally is being held by the activist group March Forward.
Brook Thomas Lindsey was raised in Indiana. He comes from a military family. When he joined up seven years ago he says he believed he had a duty to his country. He says in February everything changed.
Lindsey: "Once I considered taking my own life, I was like, this isn't worth it. And if you guys aren't going to help me out I'm just going to leave and that's what I did. And I stood by that and I'd do it again."
Lindsey did 22 months in Iraq with the infantry division. He says he saw friends die, some in the line of duty, some from suicide.
Lindsey says he began to unravel mentally. He was going through a divorce. He wasn't sleeping, he was drinking every day. Lindsey says he sought help for PTSD. He believed his counselors were listening.
Then he says they told his commanding officer his PTSD complaints were probably fabricated to get disability money.
Lindsey: "I don't want money from you guys. I want frigging help. I want my soul back, I want my dignity back. You know what I mean? As a matter of fact, they can keep their money, I want to get better and I want to become a better person."
And that's why Lindsey says it's time to turn himself in. He knows he'll probably face jail time, but he wants to move on with his life. He says he can't do that until this chapter is closed.
I'm Patricia Murphy, KUOW News.
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