On March 14, 2023, a service member found dead in the Pentagon parking lot brought about multiple confused officials and sad headlines. Master Sgt. Juan Paul Ferrer Bordador was a Soldier who took his life at the heart of the U.S. Department of Defense. The cause of his death was under investigation for quite some time. Initial reports are now stating that the gunshot wound to his chest was self-inflicted. Juan Paulo Ferrer Bordador is one of many tragedies the U.S. military has had to deal with as mental health concerns continue to come forth. The 42-year-old military service member found dead in the Pentagon parking lot is another reminder that the job of helping those defending our nation is far from over.
Statistics aside, every single person who has taken their own life is a tragedy. Not only for the sake of humanity or the military community but for the individuals who will forever mourn their loss. If you are a part of the military community and are struggling, the Veterans Crisis Line is available at VeteransCrisisLine.net, by calling 988 or 1-800-273-8255, and by texting 838255. Help is available 24/7/365.
Suggested read: New Veteran Suicide Report Shows Positive News
An Investigation Brings Some Closure for Military Service Member Found Dead in Pentagon Parking Lot
The death of Master Sgt. Bordador is highlighting the challenges that American Armed Forces face.
The first quarter of 2023 reported more suicides than quarter one in 2022. This is a trend that nobody wants to see continue. Despite persisting tragedies, all branches are implementing measures to help with mental health.
“The investigation into the tragic death of Master Sgt. Juan Paulo Ferrer Bordador by the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division was concluded (on) July 25, 2023. The investigation by Army CID and the autopsy conducted by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner both concluded the cause of death was a contact gunshot wound to [the] chest, and the manner of death was suicide,” said Army Criminal Investigation Division Spokesman, Thomas B. Hamilton III.
The Army published its highly anticipated suicide prevention doctrine in August 2023. The new guidelines will become effective beginning September 8, 2023. These new advisements are aiming to standardize prevention and response to suicide.
In a separate initiative, the Pentagon introduced the Brandon Act in May, enabling service members to confidentially seek mental health services through leadership referrals.
Bordador, the service member found dead in the Pentagon parking lot, was an Intelligence Senior Sergeant. His accolades included the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and was deployed to Iraq in 2010 after enlisting in 2004. Born in the Philippines, he immigrated to Daly City, California as a child.
An Uncommon, But Particularly Curious Method
Recurring themes and overlapping elements with the NFL and military continue to involve head injuries and mental health issues. Speculating about the service member found dead in Pentagon parking lot without having all of the facts or qualifications is vastly irresponsible. But here’s what we do know:
- Not many people commit suicide, particularly in the manner that occurred in the Pentagon parking lot without some underlying cause.
- Some instances of death by self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the chest are done to send a message of some sort.
Again, blindly speculating about the tragedy of Bordador’s desperate act is in poor taste. However, bringing attention to a warfighter we lost too soon is paramount to raising awareness and preventing future tragedies.
Deploying mental health resources across the American Armed Forces to stop disturbing trends involving suicides is the next step.
As more details come out, it’s important to continue on the path of eliminating stigmas. Furthermore, providing resources for those struggling will help prevent as many would-be tragedies as possible.
The Service Member’s Death in Pentagon Parking Lot is a Headline but Not the Full Story
The headline of a service member found dead in Pentagon parking lot isn’t the sole focal point. Our world lost Juan Paulo Ferrer Bordador too soon and is worse off for it. Suicide affects a variety of people and not just the individual suffering enough to take their own life. Our nation must provide more resources and funding to help the mental health crises that lead to such acts.