Thursday, June 11, 2009



Donna Hogue, left, and Tracey Hogue, mother and sister of Trevor Hogue, burn a candle in his memory. "You think they are safe when they get back home," his mom said. "They're not. The reality (of their experience) continues to haunt them."
Donna Hogue

At 19, Trevor Hogue enlisted in the Army...
Donna Hogue

After 15 months in Iraq, he was a changed man...last week, he killed himself.


Donna Hogue, left, and Tracey Hogue, mother and sister of Trevor Hogue, burn a candle in his memory. "You think they are safe when they get back home," his mom said. "They're not. The reality (of their experience) continues to haunt them."

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"Being an Army Veteran I can say this...the Army is very adept at telling you how to "turn it on"...they are sorely lacking in telling you how to "turn it off"...this is no different that being killed on the deepest respect and condolences to the family..."

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15 months after bloodbath in Iraq, young veteran takes his life
By Cynthia Hubert
Published: Thursday, Jun. 11, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 11, 2009 - 7:09 am

On March 7, 2007, Army Spc. Trevor Hogue was inside his barracks in Baghdad, describing his morning on the battlefield.

"I saw things today that I think will mess me up for life," Hogue typed to his mother, Donna, as she sat at her computer thousands of miles away from Iraq, in Granite Bay.

That day the young soldier, whose assignment included driving a Humvee through perhaps the most dangerous ZIP code on the globe, saw his sergeant blown to pieces. He saw the bodies of half of the men in his platoon torn apart. Heads were cut off and limbs severed. It happened 30 yards in front of him, and he had never been so afraid, he told his mom.

"My arms are around you," Donna Hogue wrote. "You'll be alright."

But Hogue never really recovered. Last week, he committed suicide by hanging himself in the backyard of his childhood home. He was 24 years old.

According to the Army, soldiers are killing themselves at the highest rate in nearly three decades, surpassing the civilian suicide rate for the first time since the Vietnam War.

At least 128 U.S. soldiers killed themselves last year, a number that has risen four years in a row. The death toll could be even higher this year. Through April, 91 soldiers had committed suicide.

Hogue's death, because it occurred after he was discharged, is not included in those statistics. But his friends and loved ones believe he was a casualty of war as much as any soldier on active duty.

"You think that they are safe when they get back home," Donna Hogue said, tearfully reading printed messages that she and her son exchanged while he was at war. "They're not. The reality of the things that they experienced continues to haunt them."

After his 15-month tour in Iraq ended and he came home the following February, Hogue suffered bouts of depression. He slept too much and uncharacteristically lashed out at strangers. Loud noises disturbed him. Responsible and law-abiding in the past, he became somewhat reckless and was charged with a DUI.

Despite symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, he never was formally diagnosed with the condition. His mother said he never filed a disability claim with the government in part because it required too much paperwork. If the disorder had been confirmed, the military would have been responsible for paying medical benefits.

Hogue talked to counselors and took medications for depression and anxiety. But he was skeptical the treatments were helping him, according to his family.

The Army has estimated that as many as one in eight soldiers returning from combat suffer from PTSD, which is caused by severe psychological trauma and can cause flashbacks, nightmares, sleeplessness, detachment and irritability, among other problems.

"When Trevor got back, he seemed more melancholy, less outgoing," said one of his closest friends, Troy Peterson. He was angrier and more serious, Peterson said, though he still displayed flashes of his goofy sense of humor.

"I believe that the things Trevor saw in Iraq created demons in his mind," said his father, Rod Hogue. "He couldn't get rid of them, and they destroyed him."

Trevor Hogue, an avid guitarist whose hero was Arnold Schwarzenegger and his favorite movie "The Terminator," surprised everyone when he announced at age 19 that he had quit college and was joining the military.

"I was shocked, to be honest," said Peterson, who described Hogue as a "ridiculously fun" guy who dressed in a skirt on "opposite day" in the sixth grade, helped found a cheerleading group called The Hooligans at Granite Bay High and admired the "hoverboards" featured in the film "Back to the Future." "He had never talked about the military before."

On another level, though, Hogue's decision made sense, his parents said.

After 18 months of college, Hogue was tired of the "party scene" at Chico State, his father said, and the rules and structure of the military appealed to him. His mother said he wanted to carve out his own identity. "It was a way of making his mark in the world," she said.

Call The Bee's Cynthia Hubert, (916) 321-1082.

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Comments: 43 Showing:

* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
prdparent wrote on 06/11/2009 06:28:12 AM:

My heart goes out to this family. I just don't get it, are there no benefits for serving your country! It is imperative to have some kind of plan implemented for the transition period. It is sad that someone serves their country and they are forgotten once they go home. May the family find the strength to get through this and may Trevor rest in peace.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
AliciaMNC wrote on 06/11/2009 06:24:56 AM:

Hogue family, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. We have a friend who came back from the Iraq war several years ago and still suffers from PTSD. When we don't hear from him for weeks at a time, this outcome is truly our biggest fear. My family genuinely appreciates the service your son provided in the name of our country, and though that alone will never be enough to balance your loss, my family and I will keep your hearts in our prayers.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
mgardnerca wrote on 06/11/2009 06:18:55 AM:

Rest in peace brave warrior. Your duty is done.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
kmblaney wrote on 06/11/2009 06:18:08 AM:

I went to high school with Trevor...he was such an outgoing guy. I even have some pics with him from senior year...this is such a tradgedy. He will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
idonthaveausername wrote on 06/11/2009 06:09:13 AM:

What medications was he on? How much, what role did the medication have in his suicide?
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
Brandywineleathers wrote on 06/11/2009 06:08:28 AM:

I am so sorry. It sickens my heart that these young men and women cannot just walk into ANY facility and ask for help and it be given. The human brain cannot forget the things it witnesses in life. Coping with normal life is tough. Coping with what these young people see everyday is impossible without some help. Everyone should be writing to their legislators demanding that we TAKE CARE OF THESE SOLDIERS no matter what the cost. They are fighting for our rights and freedoms. Don't ever believe what they do isn't necessary. Just because we are a free country now doesn't mean it will be forever. The only thing that guarantees our freedoms is our willingness to fight for it and defend this country. I admire all these young people. I will be writing my letters today demanding they do MUCH BETTER. I thank your son and your family for defending my rights. I will do my best to help protect what SHOULD HAVE BEEN HIS. God rest his sole.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
EMT wrote on 06/11/2009 06:02:02 AM:

Trev was a wonderful person, inside and out. He will be missed SO MUCH by everyone that knew him and I feel blessed to have been his friend.

The system the VA uses to determine whether or not a soldier has PTSD and treat them is broken. I don't know how many other soldiers and their families must go through this before it changes. This is MY generation's cause. We are responsible for this new generation of veterans and it is our responsibility to help them.

We love you and miss you, Trevtacular! I hope you're doing alright wherever you are. I hope you're proud of what we've done, and will do, for you.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
mvasquez wrote on 06/11/2009 06:01:47 AM:

I'm so sorry and sad for your lost!! My brother wants to join the Army and should be leaving some time in August and I'm really scared for him. My family and I have been asking him not to go but he won't give in and already signed up.... I fear for my brother going over there and having the same problems as your son! My prayers are with you and your family.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
HarleyQ wrote on 06/11/2009 05:56:13 AM:

This is a tragic story, true...But lets put it into perspective, ok...52 million died in WW II so we can have the type of freedom, we all want and America is a leader in that freedom. Blaming it on Bush is not correct...
My condolences to his family and friends. He is a casualty, more than we care to imagine... Freedoms are costly. Some need to read more, and type less.

ghardy68, is right, we had a few who won the west, others just lived on the eastcoast and whined... Wars are brutal! Be interesting when the showdown happens with North Korea! Semper Fi...
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
washbark wrote on 06/11/2009 05:56:13 AM:

My sincere condolences to the Hogue Family. I am truly grateful for Trevor's contribution to our country and our freedom. May he rest in total peace.
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