If you or a loved one is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you can confidentially seek assistance via the Military/Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, via text at 838255 or chat at http://VeteransCrisisLine.net.
Yet another soldier assigned to Alaska died in his Fairbanks home on Dec. 30 — and the top enlisted soldier for Army Alaska took to Instagram after the death was announced to ask his troops “how we can help.”
Master Sgt. Wesley Woods, a senior infantry NCO assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is at least the sixth off-duty soldier assigned to Army Alaska found dead since mid-October.
First responders attempted CPR for more than 30 minutes, but Woods was declared dead at the scene according to an Army Alaska release. His death remains under investigation, and his funeral is Monday.
Command Sgt. Maj. Phil Blaisdell asked his soldiers on Instagram to “please send a DM if you need something,” adding in the caption that he’s “not sure what else to do...please let us know how we can help.”
According to the release, the 40-year-old Florida native had deployed to Djibouti and Iraq previously in his career.
Woods’ individual awards included two Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, seven Army Achievement Medals, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, among other badges and decorations.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Master Sgt. Woods,” said Woods’ battalion commander, Lt. Col. Matthew B. Chase. “He was a dedicated, servant leader who made a tremendous impact during his time in the Arctic Wolf Brigade and through this career in the Army. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and all those that cared for him at this time.”
Woods’ death is the latest in a series of losses for the command this year.
Army Alaska spokesperson John Pennell confirmed to Alaska Public Media in December that 10 Army deaths this year are confirmed suicides, and six remain under investigation in addition to Woods.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.