Lesbian Soldier’s Death Queer

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The United States Army’s got a gay mystery on its hand. Why did three Army members kill themselves over the course of three months last year? And, even more mysterious, was one of them being blackmailed for her lesbian ways?

Here’s the SLDN background:

A veteran of the war in Iraq, Lannaman (pictured) was most recently assigned to a desk job at a procurement office in Kuwait. She carried out her duties there with “superb performance,” according to one superior, and her steadfastness “eliminated misuse of [military] funds by 36 percent.”

But some evidence also points to the possibility that another soldier – more intent on laundering money than saving it – may have tried to use Lannaman’s sexual orientation as a way to blackmail her into silence.

On August 27, 2006, a commanding officer named Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez was arrested for allegedly trying to “shake-down” a contractor for $3400. Gutierrez killed himself on September 4, 2006.

About a month later, October 1, 2006, Lannaman, whose plans to go home were put on hold after Gutierrez’s arrest, had a meeting with an army family liaison, retired Sergeant George Roach. During that meeting, Lannaman reportedly told Roach that she was going to be sent home in disgrace. She did not, however, say why. A few hours later, 46-year old Lannaman shot and killed herself.

Lannaman’s sister, Michelle Forgenie, wonders what Lannaman meant when she said she’d be “sent home in disgrace”:

We were not given a reason. Were they trying to scare her, had she stepped on toes of people who were profiteering, did someone threaten to expose her homosexuality?

Two months after Lannaman’s suicide, another Army member, Gloria D. Davis, offed herself after admitting to taking bribes.

What roll did Lannaman play in this scheme? Did she pick up on Davis and Gutierrez’s misdeeds? Did she threaten to out them, only to be threatened herself? Who knows?

Despite all the questions, the army granted Lannaman a posthumous honorable discharge.