Saturday, May 17, 2008



who killed brother and self is called a victim of stress.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands next to a car that was pursued for 130 miles on Interstate 8 on Wednesday. After the car was disabled, law enforcement officers heard two shots. The bodies of two men were found in the car. (photo: AP)

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Story here...

Story below:


Widow: Iraq trauma fueled tragedy

Marine who killed self, brother called victim of stress

The Associated Press

A decorated Marine Corps staff sergeant who apparently fatally shot his brother before killing himself at the end of a long police chase in Arizona served four tours in Iraq, met President Bush and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, his wife said Thursday.

Pinal County sheriff's spokesman Mike Minter said no motive has been established for why Travis N. "T-Bo" Twiggs, 36, killed his 38-year-old brother, Willard J. "Will" Twiggs, and himself on Wednesday.

Nor is it known why the brothers earlier in the week may have tried to commit suicide by attempting to drive their car into the Grand Canyon.

Article continues below:

"All this violent behavior, him killing his brother, that was not my husband. If the PTSD would have been handled in a correct manner, none of this would have happened," Kellee Twiggs, the wife of Staff Sgt. Travis Twiggs, said in a telephone interview from Stafford, Va.

She said her husband began changing after his second tour of duty in Iraq. His condition worsened after he returned from his third stint there, when he lost two good friends from his platoon.

"He went and saw a physician's assistant who said that was the severest case of PTSD she'd seen in her life," Kellee Twiggs said.

Travis Twiggs was given medications for mood elevation and sleeping to get him calmed down before beginning therapy. But again he was sent back to Iraq "and he was very, very different, angry, agitated, isolated and so forth," upon his return, Kellee Twiggs said. "He was just doing crazy things."

She said her husband was treated in the psychiatric ward of Bethesda Naval Medical Center and then sent to a Veterans Affairs Department facility for four months. But Kellee Twiggs said she couldn't understand why he was not sent to a specialized PTSD clinic in New Jersey.

"They let him out. He was OK for a while and then it all started over again," she said, adding that Travis Twiggs was working with the Wounded Warrior Regiment and had accompanied a group to Washington a few weeks ago where he met President Bush at the White House.

"He said, 'Sir, I've served over there many times, and I would serve for you any time,' and he grabbed the president and gave him a big hug," Kellee Twiggs said.

She said she believes her brother-in-law joined her husband in driving West "because T-Bo was hurting so bad and for so long that Will's life was a little in chaos. For them to both drive off into the Grand Canyon, they both apparently wanted to end their lives," she said.

Travis Twiggs, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1993 and held the combat action ribbon, wrote a lengthy article in the January issue of the Marine Corps Gazette detailing his efforts to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The symptoms disappeared yet again when he returned to Iraq for his fourth tour, he wrote, but worsened when he came home again.

"All of my symptoms were back, and now I was in the process of destroying my family," he wrote. "My only regrets are how I let my command down after they had put so much trust in me and how I let my family down by pushing them away."

Most recently, Twiggs was assigned to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory at Quantico, Va.

A spokesman at Quantico, 1st Lt. Brian Donnelly, said the corps is committed to providing full medical, psychological and social support to anyone with a combat-related injury, including PTSD, through organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Regiment and local deployment health clinics.

"Our leaders are trained to be alert for signs of PTSD in their Marines and to provide a supportive climate in which Marines can feel comfortable seeking help."

Travis Twiggs had been absent without leave since May 5.
On Wednesday, Twiggs and his brother led law enforcement agents on a chase across more than 80 miles of Interstate 8 after speeding away from a Border Patrol checkpoint in southwestern Arizona.

After officers with the Tohono O'odham Police Department placed spike strips on the interstate, the car continued for about a mile.

Police and Border Patrol agents heard two shots from the disabled car and later found both men slumped forward and dead in a vehicle they had carjacked Monday night within Grand Canyon National Park.

They are believed to have crashed their car at the canyon's edge and walked away from the scene, witnesses said, hours before the carjacking at gunpoint.

Park spokeswoman Shannan Marcak said that investigators believe, based on how the car was hung up on a tree, the men may had tried to drive off the road and into the canyon.



What a waste of 2 young men, regardless of the end result the command, the doctors who were treating him, etc, should have seen something like this coming, why wasn't he in an inpatient treatment program someplace, it appears he had been diagnosed before his 3rd trip to Iraq and then to send him on a 4th tour was not a way to "cure" the PTSD, why wasn't he medically discharged from the Marines? Do they really need bodies for the units that keeping active duty soldiers and Marines on duty for combat with mental health issues that are this severe is now acceptable in this nation? It's time for the Armed Services Committee in the House and Senate to be digging into this and getting to the truth. You can't just "suck it up and drive on" when it is this bad, after 5 years of war, and all the warnings of repeated deployments making the PTSD cases more severe, well here seems to be the proof.

As a disabled vet with PTSD this just pizzes me off.......

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