Sergeant Richard Dempster served his country proudly.
A 10th Mountain Division soldier, Dempster went to war twice - once to Afghanistan and then to Iraq.
On Memorial Day 2009, Richard Dempster took his own life.
"When he came back from war, he had problems, you know, as a lot of people do," said SG Gates, Dempster's father-in-law.
Sadly, Dempster's death is not unique.
The military's suicide rate has increased dramatically over the past decade.
"The military's got a big problem and they've got to do something about it," said Grace Gates, Dempster's grandmother-in-law.
It's a problem the military has been working on - especially in recent years - implementing hundreds of suicide prevention and intervention programs across the services.
"Anything that promotes better psychological health has an impact on suicide prevention," said Captain Paul Hammer, Defense Centers of Excellence director.
Fort Drum's Behavioral Health has greatly increased the size of its staff and the variety of services it offers.
"Certainly we're always looking at how to improve our services, both in terms of access to care and continuity of care. But our providers are trained in basically the best practices for soldiers and they really work hard and do a great job," said Dr. Todd Benham, chief of Fort Drum's Behavioral Health Department.
The numbers seem to back that up.
Of the 950 or so Army suicides since 2003, only 26 were Fort Drum Soldiers.
"Certainly, you know, we're always looking at making sure our resources match the demand," said Benham.
But across the military, have the resources poured into suicide prevention made a difference?
"It's unclear really how effective these programs are at reducing suicides," said Dr. Rajeev Ramchand, a behavioral scientist and lead author of "The War Within".
"The War Within" is a recent study about how well the military's current initiatives are working and how well they incorporate best practices for suicide prevention.
"There are some areas where they're doing really well, and some areas where they're not," said Ramchand. "In 2009, the suicide rate was relatively high in the DOD and in 2010, the numbers remain roughly the same."
The Army's suicide rate actually increased between 2009 and 2010.
Despite a small reduction in active-duty suicides, the number of suicides among national guard and reservists nearly doubled.
"There's a shortage of mental health services in the area, so we definitely are an added support for people that just need that extra help," said crisis counselor Lori Ball.
Transitional Living Service's Mobile Crisis team provides 24/7 confidential crisis counseling to anyone in the Jefferson County community, even on Fort Drum.
"It takes strength to reach out for help and that's what a real warrior does," said Hammer.
"Suicide is something that can be prevented," said Ramchand.
"They're trying. I mean it's not going to bring back the ones that it's already happened to but maybe it can save the next ones," said SG Gates.
There is no easy answer.
The military must continue to refine its suicide prevention strategy as it fights the war within.
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- Emergency - 911
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255) - www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- Transitional Living Services of Northern New York Mobile Crisis Service-(315)782-2327 - www.nctls.org/mobile_crisis.htm
- Fort Drum Behavioral Health Department 24 hour Crisis Line-(315)785-4516 - www.drum.amedd.army.mil/clinics/bh.htm
- Military One Source - 1-800-342-9647 - www.militaryonesource.com
- The Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) - 1-866-966-1020- www.dcoe.health.mil
- Army G-1, Army Well Being Liaison Office - 1-800-833-6622
- Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline - 1-800-984-8523
- CONUS DSN: 421-3700
- OCONUS DSN: 312-421-3700
- Real Warriors Campaign - www.realwarriors.net
- AfterDeployment.org - afterdeployment.org
- TriCare Mental Health Resources - www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth