Military Wife Finds Out via Facebook That Her Husband Was Killed in Afghanistan

Illustration for article titled Military Wife Finds Out via Facebook That Her Husband Was Killed in Afghanistan

No matter how one hears about it, finding out about the death of a loved one is bound to be awful. But one military wife had a particularly terrible experience—she found out her husband had been killed in action via Facebook. Ugh, yet another downside to being able to instantly contact anyone.

Ariell Taylor-Brown's husband Staff Sgt. Christopher Brown was killed by an insurgent bomb in Afghanistan on April 3rd. That day a woman posted on her Facebook page about an emergency. Says Taylor-Brown, "It was a girl in his platoon. She wrote to me and told me to call her immediately." Obviously, she called, and that's when things got terrible:

She told me over the phone, right in front of my kids and I completely had a meltdown. She wasn't supposed to but I guess she took it on her own power to do it.


Taylor-Brown also rightly points out, "It was a horrible way for me to find out. She didn't even give me a chance. I could have been driving and I could have harmed myself learning this." Not only is that incredibly poor judgment on the soldier's part, but it's also an offense that can result in a court martial since soldiers are not supposed to release information about deaths until next of kin have been told.

Taylor-Brown was home by herself with her two kids—and she is pregnant with the couple's third child—when she found out. What made the news even more shocking is that her husband had just started his fourth tour of duty a week before he was killed, and he'd been on Skype with her earlier in the day. Then, suddenly, he was gone.

Several hours after the woman notified Taylor-Brown, two soldiers were at her door to give her the official notice of his death, but of course she already knew what they were there for. She is obviously devastated by the loss and angry that she didn't hear the news from the military first. The Army is investigating the incident, and hopefully will punish the idiot who decided to take matters into her own hands.

Widow Learns Of Soldier's Death Through Facebook [NBC4]
Soldier's wife learns of death through Facebook [AP]

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Wait, but she didn't find out from Facebook, did she. The platoon posted on Facebook that there was an emergency and she needed the wife to call her. Granted, that doesn't sound good, but it isn't quite the same as announcing the death on Facebook.

And I'm not sure I want the platoon member punished. I understand she broke army regulations and she probably will be punished. But my gut feeling is that she meant well, perhaps even had a pact with the husband. Maybe she thought it would be better to hear the news from someone who cared about the husband. Obviously the protocol exists for a reason as they have grief training, but this doesn't seem malicious.