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Nevada Guardsman's death shines light on growing suicide issue

Funeral for Staff Sgt. Chase Rauchle (Photo: NV Army Guard)
Funeral for Staff Sgt. Chase Rauchle (Photo: NV Army Guard)
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Chase Rauchle just wasn't himself the morning of September 9 -- but his family had no idea he would take his own life that day.

"That morning, he just wasn't my Chase. He didn't have any emotion, everything was just off that day," Alyssa Rauchle said of her husband.

Chase, a full-time Nevada National Guardsman, was the kind of husband and father others could look up to. Alyssa and Chase met at Galena High School. The two married eight years ago and have two children -- a four-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.

"He was the most amazing dad. He loved that little girl -- both of them -- more than anything," Alyssa said.

Alyssa said, in the months leading up to his death, her husband was more anxious and angry at times, and he couldn't understand why. She said he was getting private counseling. But September 9, he hit his breaking point.

That afternoon, he shot himself.

"I obviously know there was a lot of pain, [he] just didn't really know how to keep going, and he just shut down. [He] shut me out, just super upset most of the day. It was just very traumatic looking back on that day," Alyssa said.


Unfortunately, Chase adds to the growing number of suicides at the Nevada Army Guard. He was the sixth to commit suicide since 2015. The Department of Defense says that National Guardsmen are at "heightened risk" according to the Department of Defense -- nearly double the rate compared to the general U.S. population.

Suicide rates are higher among the National Guard because the men and women may be managing a civilian job on top of guard duties and personal stressors. That's not the case for active duty personnel.

According to the Pentagon's Suicide Report, there were 30.6 suicide deaths per 100,000 Guardsmen. 22.9 for reservists, and 24.8 for active duty military. The suicide rate for the U.S. population for ages 17-59 was 18.2 per 100,000 people.

Click here for the Pentagon's report, released last September.


The military provides counseling; but Behavioral Health Officer Capt. Jeremiah Trapp said the military can always do more.

"There are lots of resources available, and a lot of help out there, if soldiers and airmen engage," he said. "It’s a pretty big deal that we reach these soldiers and airmen early."

But there's often a stigma attached to getting help; and the fact a soldier received counseling would be noted in his or her file. Capt. Trapp hopes conversations are changing about suicide.

"Once people starting sharing, ‘Hey, [this is] what I've gone through, and I've gotten help, and I’m better for it, and it didn’t effect my career or my promotion,’ I believe that will have a huge impact on peoples’ willingness to go get care," he said.

Chase Rauchle's dad, Craig Rauchle, said stress, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from two deployments all contributed to his son's suicide.

"He was just in despair at the time. It may have been a ten second emotion, [and] that ten second decision effected the rest of his life," he said.

Craig has established The Chase Rauchle Memorial fund. All funds raised will be used for support, education and treatment of stress related disorders, depression, PTSD and related mental illnesses. He also met with the general at the Army Guard in Carson City to push for change.


The National Guard Bureau plans to implement new initiatives aimed at lowering the suicide rates. One is the SPRING (Suicide Prevention and Readiness Initiative for the National Guard) Program. It will compile the top suicide-prevention practices from all 54 National Guard states and territories.

The Nevada Guard will host a suicide prevention training for soldiers and family members November 20-22 in Las Vegas.

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Soldiers and Airmen who need help should call the Military Crisis Line at Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, then press 1. Or, click here for specific information on each military branch and additional contact numbers.

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