Camp Lejeune Navy commander is 1 of 5 killed at a stress clinic in Iraq


Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email
Updated by Laura Sinacori - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A national tragedy hits home as the United States Army is trying to understand what drove a solider serving in Iraq to kill five people at a stress clinic in Baghdad Monday.

WECT has learned that 52-year-old Commander and Dr. Charles Springle of Wilmington, who was based out of Camp Lejeune, was one of the vicitms killed in the shooting.

Springle was one of two doctors in the group who died.  He was a Navy Commander who was based out of the community counseling center at Camp Lejeune before he was deployed to Iraq in 2008.

"[He was] a terrific individual, engaging, fun to be around," said Bob Goodale with the Citizen-Soldier Support Program.  "I missed him when he left and now I'm sick at the prospect of not seeing him again."

Army Sergeant John M. Russell has been charged with the murder of the fellow soldiers.

Sgt. Russell previously did two one-year tours of duty in Iraq, one starting in April 2003 and another beginning November 2005.

Sgt. Russell's father, Wilburn, said his son was six weeks away from completing his third tour.

The stress of repeat and extended tours is considered a main contributor to mental health problems among troops serving overseas, and Sgt. Russell, had been receiving counseling.

The father of the U.S. soldier accused of the shooting says his son was treated poorly at the military stress center and had emailed his wife calling two recent days the worst in his life.

Wilburn said he hopes "we find he snapped because of the pressure. He wasn't a mean person."

There will a memorial service for Springle Wednesday, May 20th in Morehead City.

Memorial contributions can be sent to:

UNC School of Social Work
Developmental office, c/o UNC social work
325 Pittsboro St. Campus Box 3550,
Chapel Hill NC 27599-3550

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