Last fall, Sgt. Chad Barrett stood before an Army medical evaluation board in Fort Carson, Colo., and asked to return to Iraq, even though his medical record included a PTSD diagnosis, a suicide attempt and a commander's recommendation that he be "removed from the United States Army and receive the treatment he needs."
On Christmas Day last year, the Army sent Barrett to Iraq for the third time. He never came home.
"This was a slow, progressive mental illness that never would have come about had he not been deployed repeatedly in a short period of time, had he gotten the care that he needed, had he gotten the best that the Army had to offer," said Chad's widow, Shelby Barrett.
A month into his third tour, 35-year-old Chad Barrett committed suicide in his barracks. He overdosed on the medications the Army had prescribed to help him cope.
Officials at Fort Carson, citing privacy, said they could not comment on Barrett's death.
"In a body bag is not how I wanted my husband back," said Shelby Barrett.
The most recent Army Suicide Event Report showed suicides climbed to the highest number on record last year. Half of those who committed suicide had visited a medical program or clinic within 30 days of death and twenty-seven percent had a history of psychiatric medication.
ABC News looked into a dozen suicides that followed multiple deployments and had showed clear signs of mental distress.
In February 2007, Army Sgt. Brian Rand took his life in the park in Clarksville, Tenn., where he had been married a year before.
"He shot himself in the head," Rand's widow, Dena Rand, told Woodruff. "It was like a nightmare."
Dena Rand has paperwork showing that her husband sought mental health care and was referred to the mental health department during his second tour in Iraq. But nothing ever came of it.
"He knew he needed help, and he tried and he wasn't very successful," Rand said.
In a physical exam for discharge from the military, a psychiatrist wrote that Brian Rand was "mentally unsound."
"Someone got that report showing that my husband was mentally unsound. Someone should have notified his chain of command, or at least myself," said Rand. "I want to know who dropped the ball."
For more information, visit the Army's 'Battlemind' program for mental health: www.battlemind.army.mil