California National Guard reports puzzling increase in suicides

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California National Guard officials expressed alarm on Tuesday at a sudden and unexplained increase in suicides within its ranks.

“We went from an average rate of one death per day to 15 all of sudden,” said Capt. Landon Thomas, a spokesperson for the Guard. “It’s nuts. We had to call in our AGR guys to work five whole days a week until we figure it out.”

Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, the Adjutant General for California, vowed to take action against the unexplained epidemic.

“We are ordering all soldiers to repay any bonus money received in the past 20 years,” he told reporters on Monday. “These funds will be used to create emergency suicide prevention briefings. My lieutenants are working on the slides as we speak.”

Still, many soldiers are standing by their units despite the problems. Sgt. Tony Jones, a squad leader in the California Guard, interrupted his re-enlistment ceremony to speak with reporters. “I’m re-upping because I have faith in my command,” he said. “Our website says that ‘we take care of soldiers and their families,’ and ‘we deliver on our commitments,’ so I know we’ll do the right thing.”

Jones went on to explain that he has great faith in holding true to his military contract and is absolutely certain the Guard would do the same, even if it makes some sort of inexplicable mistake like overpay him a bunch of money without his knowledge.

"We can’t use soldiers as political props if they’re dead, so we absolutely need to fix this,” said one congressman about the issue, which he said he had no knowledge of whatsoever. “Although we can still use Gold Star families.”

In an unrelated story, the California Guard had also asked widows of fallen soldiers to repay their Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) due to a clerical error.