3Internet News Record
Family wants answers after Ohio soldier's suicide (AP)
(Yahoo! News: U.S. News)
Submitted at 10/8/2009 11:36:34 AM
WILLARD, Ohio – Just abouteveryone in Keiffer Wilhelm's life— his father, his brother, his bestfriends — had worn a militaryuniform or grew up aroundsomeone who did.So when he decided that was hisbest option too, he heard plenty of advice about surviving boot campand beyond. He ended up likingthe Army so much, he wanted tomake it a career. He evenvolunteered to join another unit sohe could speed up his departure toIraq.Just days after arriving,everything changed.Now his family and his friendswant to know what happened inIraq that pushed the gentle,playful 19-year-old to kill himself two months ago. His finaldesperate act, they say, doesn't fitwith the young man who grew upin a proud military family andalways wanted to pleaseeveryone.They hope to get some answerson Friday when two soldiers whoserved with Wilhelm in Iraq areexpected to appear at a militaryhearing similar to a civilian grand jury. They have been chargedwith cruelty and maltreatmentrelated to Wilhelm and at leasttwo others. Two more soldiersalso have been charged and arescheduled to appear at hearingsnext week.Military investigators sayWilhelm had been a target of thefour soldiers, who weremistreating some of the men intheir platoon. But they alsoconcluded the alleged misconductdidn't cause Wilhelm's death.Little information has beenreleased about his death, whichhappened 10 days after he met upwith his new unit. His mother saidhe called her twice, telling her hewas being forced to run for mileswith rocks in his pockets thatsmashed against his knees.Those who knew him bestwonder why Wilhelm thoughtsuicide was his only option,searching for clues they mighthave missed. His mother thinks hedid it to save others in his platoonfrom enduring further abuse.Others believe he was pusheduntil he broke.The allegations of abuse byfellow soldiers only add to themystery surrounding a young manwho finally was finding directionin his life."That's the tragedy in it all," saidBob Armstrong, whose son wasone of Wilhelm's closest friends."You'd think there'd be somesigns. This kid was full of life."Armstrong said he saw Wilhelmafter boot camp and thought,"He's on his way."His family says there was nohistory of depression or angryoutbursts."He would bend anywaypossible to avoid a confrontation,"said Wilhelm's father, Shane."And he wasn't the type to quit."Shane Wilhelm said he's learnedin recent weeks that the menfacing charges also are accused of mistreating two other soldiers andthat investigators think it had beengoing on since June — nearly twomonths before his son joined theplatoon.His family and friends, though,say that still doesn't explain whyWilhelm didn't seek help or theunconfirmed reports that he'dbeen teased about his weight.Wilhelm had struggled to keephis weight down in high schooland had to lose about 20 poundsbefore he could join the Army.But he came out of boot camp inthe best shape of his life."He looked good," saidArmstrong, who said Wilhelmwas like another son to him. "Iwas amazed at all the weight helost."Armstrong, a former soldierhimself, was just one of manypeople who had a lot of long talkswith Wilhelm about what toexpect once he enlisted.Wilhelm's grandfather retiredfrom the U.S. Coast Guard, hisfather served in Iraq during theGulf War in the early 1990s andhis brother, Shannon, is a militarypolice officer in the Air Force.One of his best friends joinedthe Army a few months before hedid.All of them helped Wilhelm getready for boot camp, which wassupposed to be the toughest part.By the time he left, he knew allabout the running, the mindgames and the loneliness hewould face."He could've made a very goodsoldier," said Linda Walker,whose son was another one of hisbest friends. "He was smart. Hewould give it his all and ... dowhat was needed. He nevercomplained about anything."She now wonders if that's whyhe never told others in his unitabout the alleged abuse."I think he was fearful of beingkicked out," said Walker, whowas in the Army nine years.Wilhelm wasn't sold on themilitary right away.He applied for a couple of factory jobs after graduating fromhigh school in the spring of 2008and worked for a few months inthe shipping department at aPepperidge Farm factory thatmakes Goldfish crackers.There aren't many opportunitiesfor young, high school graduatesin his rural northern Ohiohometown where the countyunemployment rate is among thehighest in the state and reached 18percent in January.Working in a factory didn't holdmuch appeal anyway, so hestarted thinking more aboutenlisting when his brother andothers encouraged him to take alook at the armed forces.He idolized his brother, whowas two years older. The boyslived with their mother after theirparents divorced when Wilhelmwas 4. Shannon Wilhelm wasoutgoing. Keiffer Wilhelm wasquiet."Everything Shannon did wasthe coolest thing in the world,"said their father. "Shannon had anice car, Keiffer wanted one too.Shannon had a motorcycle.Keiffer wanted a motorcycle."Their mother, Kathe, saidWilhelm had a new attitudecoming out of boot camp that shecould see in the way he walkedand in his smirking, confidentsmile."He felt good about who hewas," she said. "He was excitedabout going to places he'd neverdreamed about."Wilhelm didn't tell his motherthat he had volunteered to go toIraq. Instead, he said his name hadbeen picked randomly. "It wasn't,'Mom I don't want to go,' " shesaid.He arrived in Iraq on July 25,and five days later called home.He told her he was being forced toexercise for hours and that her hispersonal items were disappearing.Another call two days laterrevealed that he was being forcedto go on long runs that left hisknees bloody, and that he spenthours doing push-ups and sit-upsin a dirt pile, she said."He sounded bad," she said. "Hewas in trouble for everything."That was the last time theyspoke.The next day, he was dead.
Inside the Nobel Prize: How a CCD Works
By Charlie Sorrel (Wired Top Stories)
Submitted at 10/7/2009 7:57:00 AM
This year’s Nobel Prize forPhysics has been awarded, withthe inventors of the CCD gettingrecognition for the inventionwhich enabled modern digitalphotography. It has taken a while:Whilst the invention took just onehour, the prize took 40 years toarrive.
Airbags Help Airlines Meet New Safety Regs
By Jason Paur (Wired Top Stories)
Submitted at 10/7/2009 4:00:00 AM
Airlines lift an idea from theauto industry to minimize"unfriendly head-strike surfaces."
Top News/ Tech News/