Iraq death a suicide, Army says
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 24, 2009
An Army investigation has concluded that Capt. Roselle Hoffmaster took her own life by shooting herself in the head while alone in her room in Iraq, The (Springfield, Mass.) Republican reported Thursday.
The report was released to The Republican this week, 16 months after the Army announced that the 32-year-old Hoffmaster, an Army surgeon, had died while on deployment in Kirkuk on Sept. 20, 2007.
As the report describes it, Hoffmaster was found dead on her cot by one of her roommates, an M9 Beretta pistol still in her hand, the Republican wrote.
According to the report, one officer told investigators that Hoffmaster was "swamped from the day she arrived at the unit." Hoffmaster was a last-minute replacement for another surgeon, and was unable to attend a joint readiness training center in Louisiana, the officer said. The officer told investigators he felt the Army did Hoffmaster a disservice and called the situation "a ‘perfect storm’ to create tension and anxiety," according to the Republican.
As the report describes events, Hoffmaster received a verbal reprimand from a supervisor on Sept. 20 for not completing a pre-screening for blood donors. After Hoffmaster walked out of the meeting crying, the supervisor told another officer that Hoffmaster needed to "toughen up," according to the Republican.
The paper wrote that according to the Army report, a female major pulled Hoffmaster aside and gave her a pep talk, telling her she was "in the Army now" and that "everything would be OK." Hoffmaster told the major that "she couldn’t do it anymore and that she wanted to quit," one of Hoffmaster’s roommates told investigators.