HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - FORT SILL, OK (KSWO)- Major General John Rossi, who was just days away from taking command of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command at Redstone, died by suicide.
General Rossi served as Fort Sill Commander for two years, from June 2014 until July of this year. July 21 was General Rossi's change of command ceremony on post. It was his last formal act as commander before leaving for his next assignment.
"This is a tremendous loss for the Rossi family and, indeed, our entire Army family," the Army said in a statement. "Maj. Gen. Rossi was a respected leader, valiant warrior and trusted friend who gave more than 33 years of service to this nation."
Rossi, 55, died in July at his Redstone Arsenal home. He was just days away from assuming command of Army Space and Missile Defense Command.He was to succeed Lieutenant General David Mann.
Rossi's family asked for time and space to grieve their loss.
"We appreciate the kindness and support of our extended Army family as we have worked through these difficult days," Rossi's family said in a statement provided by the Army. "To the Army, he was Maj. Gen. Rossi. To us, he was John, husband, dad."
The family also requested the Army "continue to better understand suicide and to help and treat those in need," the statement said.
"For our family, this has been an incredibly painful time, and we ask that you continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. To all the other families out there, to the man or woman who may be facing challenging times, please seek assistance immediately. Compassionate and confidential assistance is available," the family said in a statement.
Though General Rossi was only at Fort Sill for two years, he had a huge impact on the community. Community leaders, who consider themselves friends of Rossi, say he truly cared about the Lawton and Fort Sill and was a genuinely good person.