23 April 2010

Wounded warriors encourage paratroopers to help stop Soldier suicides

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Michael Schlitz, a veteran who was burned over 85 percent of his body by an IED, tells a joke to paratroopers stationed at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. Part of Operation Proper Exit, Schlitz often uses humor to broach difficult subjects such as suicide prevention. Photo: Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod.

SFC Schlitz is in Iraq as part of the fifth Operation Proper Exit rotation of Soldiers returning to the battlefield to find emotional healing. In 2007, Schlitz was severely wounded by an IED, sustaining burns over 85 percent of his body and losing both hands.

"If you're going to commit suicide by fire, make sure there're no fire extinguishers or people around to help you, or you're going to end up looking like me," he said with a smile.

Once the audience stopped laughing, Schlitz offered serious advice on suicide prevention.

Full story here.

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