Every 65 Minutes

 

On average, every 65 minutes a veteran takes his or her own life. 1 is too many. 22 per day is catastrophic! That we are aware of, 6 men from the 3/5 Darkhorse unit, have taken their lives since returning from combat. They, along with our dear friend's son, Tim, will also be honored at Darkhorse Lodge. Like our "3/5 25", as we receive information and photos of these men, we will add them here. Only items submitted or authorized by their families will be entered here. Please share their stories. We cannot forget!

 

 Cpl Anthony Rivers
USMC
4/1/1990-12/1/2015

 

“If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever” -Unknown

Anthony was born on April 1, 1990 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  He grew up playing many sports such as wrestling and football.  He was always well liked by many and he had such a contagious smile.  Anthony and I first met in 8th grade.  He was a new student to the Putnam City school district.  I will never forget the day I met him, Anthony begged a mutual friend of ours to introduce him to me.  We instantly became great friends due to our common interests.  We would spend hours after school talking on the phone, so much so, that we would get in trouble for staying on the phone so long.  We started dating the summer after our sophomore year of high school.  We would go to school and then when we got out for the day we would go to places like celebration station, the zoo, the movies just to have a good time.  A week after graduation in May 2009 Anthony left for boot camp in San Diego, California to become a United States Marine. He wanted to be the best that he can be and make a difference in the world.  His dream was to be a Marine.  That October of 2009 Anthony flew me out to San Diego for the weekend and woke me up at 2AM to ask me to marry him- I of course said yes.  At that time Anthony finished his training and was attached to 3rd battalion, 5th marines as an 0331 machine gunner at Camp Pendleton, California.  While on leave for Christmas, Anthony and I got married on December 21st 2009.  I had just finished my first semester of college. Though I was only 18 and Anthony was only 19, I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  September 2010, Anthony’s battalion deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan for a long 7 months.  Upon his return in April 2011 Anthony quickly transferred to 2nd battalion 1st marines in hopes of returning to Afghanistan.  Instead 2nd battalion 1st marines deployed to Okinawa, Japan on the 31st MEU.  Anthony spent another 7 months training with other militaries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, and many others.  After Anthony’s return he decided to get out of the Marine Corps and come home in May 2013.  Many things changed for us as we both were hit with civilian life.  Anthony quickly got a job at H and H shooting sports where he worked in the IT department with some of his really good friends.  His hobbies included watching movies, playing video games, and shooting guns at the range.  If you have never met Anthony, you wouldn’t know how goofy he was.  He had a wonderful smile and a big heart.  He would drop anything to help anyone.  He loved to play jokes on people, and loved to make you smile.  He was strong, loyal, and brave.  Anthony had so much pride. And he wasn’t going to let anyone know that he was having problems.  On December 1st 2015,  20 days before our 6 year wedding anniversary, Anthony took his life…  He left our family, close friends and me nothing but a text message explaining his decision.  He will forever be loved and missed and will never be forgotten.  If only he knew how much he meant to many.

 

Submitted by Beverly Rivers

 

 Cpl Paul Wedgewood
USMC
11/2/1990-8/23/2016

Paul Lucian Wedgewood, simply known as "Wedge" to many, touched many lives in his short 25 years. The first thing you would notice about him was his big smile, then probably his big ears. He was a friend and man who would help anyone, anywhere, any time. Paul passed away on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 in Fort Collins, Colorado. He took his own life after several years of being haunted by his experiences as a Marine in Afghanistan. Paul was born on November 2nd, 1990; a month early. He always did things on his own time. Early on he made it clear that he did not want to have his feet covered by socks or shoes and as an adult, you could see him going around Fort Collins in the Colorado winter in nothing but flip flops on his way to or from classes. Otherwise, he was a happy and engaging child. he enjoyed reading and playing video games; biking and skateboarding and anything having to do with water. Paul began to swim competitively at the age of 5 and continued throughout high school until an injury prevented him from continuing. Along the way, he achieved many local, state and regional level awards, wanting one day to swim in the Olympics. Once he could no longer swim, he switched to football. He spent his grade school years in Wisconsin and grew up an avid Green Bay Packers fan. He attended and graduated high school in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area.

After high school, Paul joined the United States Marine Corps. When asked why he chose the Marines, he would tell you it was because they are the toughest and the best. He never regretted that decision. The discipline and patriotism he learned in the Marines never left him, as friends and family will attest. Paul served his country as a Marine from 2009-2013 with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines India Company in the infantry as a mortarman. He spent 6 months in Afghanistan in the Sangin area of the Helmond Province during some of the most brutal activity in recent history as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (To know more about this time, the book "One Million Steps" is available). Paul followed this with a deployment on the USS Green Bay- which he found amusing since he spent many years living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He achieved Expert Rifle Qualification 3 times. During his service, he received many commendations for his dedication and bravery including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon ( Afghanistan), Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 1 Star, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (USS Peleliu), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, 2 Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and the NATO Medal ISAF Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, like so many of our veterans, Paul struggled with PTSD and alcohol use. He was actively supported by and engaged with family and friends and medical/psycological professional services. Despite all of his resources, he was tired and took his own life.

 

Submitted by Helen Wedgewood

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