After six years and three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Corey Michael Hadley returned home to Philadelphia in 2013.
As an Army rifleman in a leadership role, Mr. Hadley had spent many days traveling door to door to root out armed militia members and terrorists who had sworn to kill Americans. For his service, he won multiple military honors.
But his experience overseas left him anguished, he told his family. He struggled with depression and PTSD. And on Jan. 2, Mr. Hadley, 30, died by his own hand in his own home.
“His wounds were slow-acting and invisible, but nonetheless crippling and fatal,” the family said in a statement. “We are unutterably heartbroken.”
Nationally, the number of deaths by suicide has risen since 2000, according to a 2019 report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. From 2005 to 2017, there was a 6.1% increase in such deaths among the veteran population, from 5,787 to 6,139. In 2017, veterans accounted for 13.5% of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults.
Mr. Hadley was born in Detroit to Kevin and Rosalind Williams Hadley. He was raised in Mount Airy, where he was home-schooled until enrolling in W.B. Saul High School. He didn’t always pick up on social cues in high school, which made for some funny situations.
“Who can forget his teachers’ complaints when in the ninth grade he ate the apples needed for a fundraiser?” his family said in their statement.
Active in scouting, Mr. Hadley achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 18 and demonstrated exceptional skill as a sharpshooter. It was no surprise when he enlisted in the Army.
During his three tours, he operated in an imminent danger area in Iraq, according to his military discharge paper. For his service, he received honors including the Iraq campaign medal with three campaign stars, the Afghanistan campaign medal with one star, and the global war on terrorism service medal.
“He stared death in the face every day for six years,” his family said.