Suicide is REAL, the threat is always there and it is very real; if you think you are immune then you are wrong.  I work with some of the toughest men and women in the world and they still succumb to the demons inside their heads.  I don’t share a lot of feelings and I compartmentalize things very well, but one week ago today my world was rocked when a Warrior who has worked for me for the past year died by suicide. 1LT Malcolm Scott Baraibar was a man who I would NEVER suspect would take his own life; THIS MUST STOP NOW!

I try to surround myself with great people he was truly one of the best.  He was literally my right hand for the past year, anything I needed, anything at all could be handed to this brilliant Lieutenant and it would be completed exceptionally well.  The thing about Scott is that he was the right hand man for several other officers, great officers like LTC Tim Sulzner, MAJ Jason Merchant, MAJ Mike Minard, MAJ Jim Avrams and many others; the finest officers in the Iowa National Guard relied on Baraibar and he never once let them down.  It didn’t stop there, NCOs, peers, and subordinates all came to Baraibar as a sounding board, a voice of reason, a person to proof their concept or idea; he never let any of them down. His career had no limits, he was the best officer I have ever worked with.

I have seen so much heartache and pain from his beautiful wife Jamie, wonderful family, and close friends this week that it makes me completely sick.  To see everything that he left behind; the most caring and compassionate family and friends any man could ask for, just thrown away for a reason that none of us will probably ever know.

I thought I was immune, sure I have seen suicide in my periphery but I never thought it would get right up in my face, but it did.  I have seen and done some terrible things in my military career but this has been one of the worst weeks I have ever had in my life.

If you are still following along: It’s real! Talk to you friends, family, loved ones. Hug them, kiss them, talk to them, and let them know you will be there for them. Nothing is worth taking your own life and putting your family and friends through an incredible amount of pain.  Ask for help if you need it; I will always help you and I know many others would too, you are never alone!

-MAJ Randall Stanford, written in March 2016