The wife of the soldier who died downrange last week while talking to her on Skype has released some harrowing details of just what she witnessed on that day.
According to this story a new statement released by the family says Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark was suddenly knocked forward during one of his regular Skype chat sessions with his wife, Susan Orellana-Clark. In a closet behind him both Susan and several other individuals who rushed to her home immediately after the incident spotted a bullet hole.
The Skype connection remained open for more than two hours as Susan made frantic phone calls trying to reach someone downrange and have them check on her husband.
According to the story:
“After two hours and many frantic phone calls by Mrs. Clark, two military personnel arrived in the room and appeared to check his pulse, but provided no details about his condition to his wife,” the statement said.
DoD has said Clark’s death is under investigation – but there have been plenty of rumors flying around, including that Clark committed suicide. In the statement Susan said she was releasing details specifically to dispel those rumors. From the story:
Susan Orellana-Clark said she was providing details of what she saw “to honor my husband and dispel the inaccurate information and supposition promulgated by other parties.”
Despite Susan’s spotting of the bullet hole, officials at William Beaumont Army Medical Center where Clark was stationed have said that he died of natural causes, this Daily Mail report says.
According to that story, Clark suddenly looked alarmed and disapeeared from his wife’s sight.
“He assumed an alarmed look and fell back out of the picture,” an Army spokesman told the Daily Mail.
Of course the official cause of Clark’s death will likely not be available for some time. And it would be easy to say that how he died does not matter … that all that matters is that we let Susan know we support her.
But the way he died does matter – and this is why: by knowing what caused his death we can work to make sure no one ever again has to experience the pain and sense of helplessness Susan and her family are surely feeling right now.
Skype, as we have said before, offers a coveted window into our loved one’s worlds downrange. While the concept of witnessing a heart wrenching event like this has certainly been a fear of ours before, we have always been able to dismiss it as an unfounded one. This event lends legitimacy to that nightmare.
If Susan spent two hours trying to find a way to get someone into her husband’s room to help him, her tragic circumstance can serve as a rallying cry to make sure spouses have a way to reach help for those downrange in an expedient manner.