WASHINGTON--U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today released the following statement regarding the shooting death of five American soldiers, including Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos of Paterson, NJ, at Camp Victory in Iraq.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the soldiers who were killed at Camp Victory in Iraq, especially those closest to Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos,” stated Pascrell. “Sgt. Bueno-Galdos emigrated here from Peru where he enlisted in the Army to serve America with honor and distinction. Sgt. Bueno’s service and sacrifice exemplify the deep sense of commitment that so many immigrants have for America. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten in the City of Paterson.”
“This incident is a harsh reminder of the stress, mental anguish and consequences that may result when members of the Armed Forces serve multiple tours of duty without receiving adequate mental health attention. It is time that we end the stigma that comes with mental illness in the military and embrace a new approach to screen and mitigate the effects that maladies of the mind have on thousands of soldiers.”
Pascrell is the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and has been a forceful advocate in Congress for the need to increase mental health resources for soldiers.
Taking action to promote awareness and provide resources in Congress, Pascrell recently organized the International Conference on Behavioral Health and Traumatic Brain Injury at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson. The Conference resulted in a request for Congress to add $350 million to the $900 million recently allocated to fund resources for the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) victims and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors.
Commenting on the administration’s recent budget proposal for traumatic brain injury and psychological health programs at the Department of Defense, Pascrell stated “I am pleased that the administration’s 2010 budget proposal makes a serious commitment to the psychological health of our soldiers. Although funding has increased in recent years to address PTSD, more must be done, and more can be done, to prevent the type of tragedy that occurred at Camp Victory earlier this week.”
The administration has proposed $1.2 billion in funding for traumatic brain injury and psychological health in the upcoming fiscal year.