Soldier's suicide attempt may put psychological battle scars on trial
By Angela Carella
Assistant City Editor
Published December 6 2007
STAMFORD - The case of 1st Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside is becoming a bellwether for how the U.S. Army handles soldiers who are psychologically injured in Iraq and other battlefields.
Whiteside, a 25-year-old reservist who spent part of her childhood in Stamford, had six years of exemplary service until a year ago, when she was a platoon leader in the 329th Medical Company, running an ambulance service at a detainee prison near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.
Now Whiteside is waiting to hear whether she will be tried for attempted suicide and endangering the life of another soldier. If convicted, she could spend the rest of her life in prison. A decision is expected this week.Roger Crossland of Fairfield is a retired Navy officer who knew the Whitesides when they lived on Woodridge Drive South off Long Ridge Road in Stamford for four years until 1991. Crossland said he wants people to know the story of Elizabeth Whiteside."It seems to me she should get a medal, not a court martial," he said.
According to reports from the Washington Post, Whiteside supervised nine medics on the night shift who transported injured U.S. troops and Iraqis around the prison, which has a hospital. Detainees in the prison have included Saddam Hussein, Ali Hassan Majeed - "Chemical Ali" - and suspected terrorists, the Post reported.
Whiteside, nicknamed Trauma Mama by her soldiers, ate one meal a day, slept four hours twice a day, and worked seven days a week. On Dec. 30, Saddam was taken from his cell to be executed and, the following day, thousands of detainees rioted and had to be subdued with rubber bullets and tear gas.
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Message from DOD to soldiers, get wounded and instead of having your wound treated, you are put on trial! Sometimes it is a clear trial. Most of the time it is trial by the DOD and the VA to prove you deserve to have your combat wounds taken care of.