Shockwaves Through My Soul

Shockwaves Through My Soul

Sgt. Jacob Blaylock tried to resume his life back home after serving in Iraq, but the memory of his fallen comrades haunted him. (NYT)

Through a blend of his own video diaries, and reminiscenses from his military buddies and his girlfriend, the New York Times poignantly documents the unraveling of troubled soldier Sgt. Jacob Blaylock, who
was ultimately unable to negotiate the transition from war in Iraq to life back home in the U.S.

Blaylock was among the soldiers of the 1451st Transportation Company, whose luck evaporated less than two weeks before they were to return home, in the spring of 2007. A scout truck driving at the front of a convoy late at night hit a homemade bomb buried in the asphalt. Two soldiers were killed — the unit’s first fatalities… on their last mission.

The deaths stunned the unit, part of the North Carolina National Guard. Sergeant Blaylock went back to Houston, where he tried to pick up the pieces of his life and shape them into a whole. But grief and guilt trailed him, combining with other stresses: financial troubles, disputes with his estranged wife over their young daughter, the absence of the tight group of friends who had helped him make it through 12 months of war.

On Dec. 9, 2007, Sergeant Blaylock, heavily intoxicated, lifted a 9-millimeter handgun to his head during an argument with his girlfriend and pulled the trigger. He was 26.

Over the next year, three more soldiers from the 1451st would take their own lives. The four suicides, in a unit of roughly 175 soldiers, make the company an extreme example of what experts see as an alarming trend in the years since the invasion of Iraq.

CHANNEL: New York Times

Length: 15:19

By Erica Goode & Rob Harris