Sleep deprivation, self-doubt contributed to former Ft. Sill Com - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Sleep deprivation, self-doubt contributed to former Ft. Sill Commander's suicide

Major General John Rossi (Source U.S. Army) Major General John Rossi (Source U.S. Army)

LAWTON, Ok (KSWO/Army Times) - Former Fort Sill Commander Major General John Rossi struggled with feelings of inadequacies in his abilities to perform his new job and sleep deprivation before he committed suicide in July of 2016, according to a report released by Army Investigators.

MG Rossi was just days away from becoming a three-star general and assuming command of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama when his wife found him dead in their home.

According to a report in the Army Times, Rossi had been struggling with sleep deprivation and feelings he was not smart enough for his role within the Army for years prior to his decision to end his life on July 31. His death has triggered a review of mental health issues across the entire Army.

“It’s not because we felt we had some burgeoning, endemic problem,” Army Secretary Eric Fanning told the Army Times in a Jan. 4 interview. “It’s because one is too many, and it’s always good to take a knee, take a breath, and see if there’s something new or that has developed because something’s changed.”  

Rossi’s wife told investigators that soon after they moved into their new home in Alabama, Rossi told her he felt he was not fit for his new role.

"He told her that there was 'so much information' associated with the job that he didn't know or understand, and that he 'didn't think he was smart enough for the job,'" according to the Army Times, quoting the report.

The feeling he was not smart enough for his roles seemed to plague Rossi throughout his career, and co-workers said he used an incredible work ethic to try to mask his perceived shortcomings, according to the Army Times.

The investigation found that, while there are many unique stresses for the top brass in the Army, Rossi did not face any challenges other commanders of his rank do not have to deal with. The Army hopes the review being performed will be able to pinpoint some of the issues which are unique to the upper ranks of the Army and come up with a solution so this doesn’t happen again.

"It’s been a very long time since we’ve had a general officer commit suicide, and it’s worth looking at and seeing if there’s anything we’re not recognizing that we’re not getting at,” Fanning told the Army Times. “This is something we need to do force-wide. We’ve been deploying, repeatedly, the Army for 15 years. We need to understand how it’s affecting our soldiers and their families.”  

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All Rights Reserved. The Army Times contributed information for this story.

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