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Paratrooper considered AWOL

Posted February 16, 2009

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— Spc. Joseph E. Putnam is officially absent without leave, Army spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica Fimbres said Monday.

Putnam, 22, was reported missing last Tuesday after a night out in Fayetteville. On Friday, police said they had credible evidence indicating that he had returned to Arkansas and had been in contact with friends and family members.

Also Friday, police located a man who used Putnam's debit card hours after the soldier was last seen, but they determined Putnam gave the card and his personal identification number to the man, whose name hasn't been released. Police said they don't know how the two met or whether they already knew each other.

Fayetteville police have turned the search for Putnam over to the military and Arkansas authorities.

Putnam is from Bismark, Ark., about 80 miles southwest of North Little Rock.

His mother, Angela Stanford, said she hadn't heard from her son as of Monday evening. She said he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome from his deployment to Iraq, and she worries about his safety.

He is assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. He was assigned to Fort Bragg in September and had recently graduated from the 82nd Airborne's jump school.


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  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Feb 17, 2009

    furburg, how often do you meet with your men to make the determination that they do not have PSTD?

    parr4246, your statement almost sounds like a male-macho attitude thinking that PSTD does not exist and that any soldier who admits has PSTD is a wuss. This line of thinking causes the Army to not learn from the lessons of the Vietnam War. I lost my father from PSTD, but I believe due to peer pressure from his Army buddies, he never sought help and became a recluse. My mother and father eventually had to separate.

    To my understanding, there is a formal psychological evaluation process to determine if an individual has PSTD or some other disorder. A person may use PSTD as an excuse, but he/she must go through the process to be officially declared having PSTD. If anyone has any experience going through this process, I would love to hear about it.

  • discowhale Feb 17, 2009

    AWOL & PTSD with no prior problems?

    But no one has really seen him? He doesn't contact his family, but he's supposed to be in his hometown?

    I thought this sounded fishy from the start and that smell lingers. If this kids alive, they should be able to find him in a few days and it's been much longer than that.

  • furburg Feb 17, 2009

    I served in the Army for 8 yrs and not one of my fellow soldiers came down with that PTSD stuff, and im not saying that it doesnt exist, but to many people are using it for an excuse theses days that boy is awol pick him up, lock him up and trial his rear to jail.

  • parr4246 Feb 16, 2009

    Don't get me wrong if he truly suffers from PTSD I hope he gets the help he needs and deserves..........

  • parr4246 Feb 16, 2009

    I'm sure that PTSD is an awful thing to have but not every soldier can say that they have it, but it seems like every time something goes wrong and the soldier has been to Iraq or Afghanistan that is used as their defense.....

  • nandud Feb 16, 2009

    As bad as being AWOL is and as much trouble as he is in, I'm relieved that he is not a victim of foul play.