Friday, February 14, 2014

Event to celebrate deceased soldier

Ian Tyler Brooks completed two deployments in National Guard

Express Staff Writer

Wood River High School graduate Ian Brooks took his own life after five years in the military. He will be honored at an event Saturday in Hailey. Photo by courtesy photo

    Sgt. Ian Tyler Brooks grew up in the Wood River Valley and served two tours of duty with the Arizona National Guard before taking his own life on Dec. 26.
    The Wood River High School graduate will be honored at the National Guard Armory in Hailey on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 3-7 p.m. An Idaho National Guard honor guard will present honors at 3:30 p.m., followed by music and food.
    Friends, family and fellow soldiers will share stories of Brooks’ life.
    “He was the most intelligent person I will ever meet in my life. He was also very protective. I felt like I had a bullet-proof vest on when I had him around,” said Brooks’ sister, Crystal Brooks, a 22-year-old Wood River Valley resident. “He was my hero and still is.”
    A memorial fund has been set up in Brooks’ name through Higher Ground Sun Valley to help future service personnel return to civilian life.
    “My son would like that,” said Brooks’ father, Bruce Patton.
     Patton is a Vietnam veteran and instructor for Higher Ground, a nonprofit organization that provides rehabilitation services for veterans and active-duty personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Brooks, who was 25, had served five years in the military—two deployments in the Arizona National Guard on the Mexican border and in Afghanistan—before coming home to Arizona in April.
    Patton said the cause of his son’s death could be attributed to a type of post-traumatic-stress syndrome.
    “He died of survivor’s guilt,” Patton said.
    Brooks was born in Hailey and attended Hemingway Elementary School and Wood River Middle School. He graduated from Wood River High School in 2006.
    Brooks was a friend of prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl, 27, who is also from the Wood River Valley.
     Bert Gillette, program director for military expansion at Higher Ground, said suicide among returning veterans has become an epidemic in the military.
    “In 2010, the Department of Defense stated that 18 veterans were committing suicide every day. In 2013, that increased to 22 per day. That’s 8,030 per year that we’re losing,” Gillette said.
    Gillette said the stigma surrounding mental illnesses can keep some soldiers from seeking treatment.
“In military culture, they see mental-health issues as a sign of weakness and are reluctant to seek help. For active-duty personnel like Ian, if it comes though that they are having mental-health issues, it could affect their careers,” Gillette said.
Patton said his son had applied to Army Ranger School and for helicopter flight training before he ended his life.
    “That would be a very promising career,” Gillette said.
     Crystal Brooks said she had been in touch with her brother since he returned from Afghanistan, but that he showed no obvious signs that he was struggling.
    “He was his regular awesome self. I’m not sure when he got really depressed,” she said. “When soldiers come back, they do an evaluation on them. I don’t know how well the government does this, but apparently not well enough.”
     Donations to Higher Ground can be made at the wake or by contacting Higher Ground Sun Valley at 726-9298.
Tony Evans:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.