Monday, December 04, 2006

"Huffing" caused gaurdsman's death


A Pennsylvania National Guard soldier who died in Iraq this spring accidentally killed himself while inhaling from a container of pressurized air to get high, an Army investigation concluded.
Frederick Carlson IV, 25, of Bethlehem, was found unconscious in his room at the base in Taqqadum shortly before 6 p.m. on March 26, according to an Army report obtained by The Morning Call of Allentown through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Carlson went to sleep after returning from a mission at 6 a.m. and woke up around 4:30 p.m., investigators said. He was found unconscious a little more than an hour later and could not be revived.
Inhaling the chemicals given off by glue, aerosols and other substances — something called “huffing” — replaces oxygen in a person’s lungs. It causes excitation, drowsiness and lightheadedness, but it can be fatal when too much oxygen is replaced.
Investigators found a can of compressed air near Carlson’s bunk and a colleague said he remembered him “huffing” at least once before.
Carlson served as a cook with the 228th Forward Support Battalion, but guard officials said he volunteered for duty on the rapid-response force, providing security for military convoys. “He could have stayed on base, yet he volunteered for dangerous missions outside the wire,” said Capt. Cory Angell, a Pennsylvania National Guard spokesman. “It’s tragic that he got caught up in using inhalants.”
taken from The Standard Journal