Editor's note: This story includes discussion of suicidal ideation and details of a suicide note.
A grieving father who lost his son — an airman at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico — to suicide this month has written an open letter to the service's leadership, as well as the Joint Chiefs chairman and defense secretary, pleading for the military to confront alarming numbers of suicides within the ranks.
Sean Stevenson said in the Nov. 22 letter that his son, 24-year-old Senior Airman Sean Ryan Stevenson, died Nov. 1 after the Air Force “let him down to the point he became broken and alone.”
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He also included the text of his son's suicide note “found on his computer by officials investigating his death” in which the airman detailed a logistical nightmare of trying to go to his next duty station in Japan and ultimately having to be called back, sidelining a lifelong dream of service in the Air Force.
“I'm sorry, I love you all and I'm terribly sorry for this selfish decision,” the airman wrote. “But I can't deal with it anymore. I loved the Air Force since I was a kid, and all I ever wanted to do in life was be in the Air Force. Over the past year, I've learned just how little the Air Force cares about me, despite how much I threw into it.”
Stevenson's father, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant…