Rest in Peace, Tyler Cone

A fellow Marine shared this on facebook: Rest in Peace, Tyler Cone.

It’s a story that’s unfortunately far too common. A returning vet taking their own life.

If you get a moment, read the short story of his life and try to think of a vet you know. Honestly, there’s almost no one who goes in who doesn’t come back changed and a little messed up.

Or, at least it’s almost always this way with the Marines that I know.

And partly it’s because things are so clear while you’re serving. You’re doing worthwhile work, you have the closest friends you’ll probably ever have, and things are simple. (Not always fun or easy, but certainly simple.)

And when you get out, the freedom and sudden lack of responsibility is a cold, hard slap in the face. You go from being a hero and doing something worthwhile to stocking shelves and dealing with some seriously immature and spoiled people, who just don’t get it. And you’re getting all these questions about what’s it like to serve and it’s just impossible to answer to someone who’s never been there.

Ack. It’s too complicated to get into without writing a novel. Please read about Tyler Cone (link, once again) and then share some love in the world.

To a vet, if you can, but since we’re impossible to approach or help sometimes, help someone who’s just hurting.

That stranger at the gas station who hasn’t taken a bath or shaven.

That weird friend on facebook who’s posting odd and scary posts on their timeline.

Hell, go give ten or twenty dollars to that woman or man who pulls up to a gas pump in a beat-up car and a look of desperation and fear in their eyes. 

Spread some love and good karma, friends. This world can be a cold, hard place.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

12 thoughts on “Rest in Peace, Tyler Cone

  1. Amen, I hear you. When I retired I thought I would never need the military again, but you know it’s in your blood and you don’t get rid of it. But worst of all are all the faces you’ve known, and now they are not with you any more. You feel that emptiness that only brothers and sisters in uniform can understand. Five years ago I couldn’t fight it any more. With the power of the Internet I started searching the web for old friends, and at the same time I created several Yahoo Groups for old Army Posts where I was stationed. Before I knew it, I had found many old friends I had served with, and made many new ones. Just today I posted 80 photos of a Reunion in Florida for my old Army Post in France. And to see these old men now warms my heart, as I know they are still with us. A few years ago I made contact with an old running buddy, and we corresponded for a while until his health took him away from us. Gosh, if I could offer a suggestion to fellow warriors, whatever uniform you wear or wore, never lose contact with your buddies, and be there for each other. You never know, your voice may be the one thing that will stop someone else from taking their own life. One evening my phone rang, and the voice on the other end was a ghost from Vietnam. I hadn’t heard that voice since the war, and I was almost speechless. Like me, he had survived and was looking for old friends. Don’t hesitate, your friends are still out there. Find them. God Bless, and my heart aches with the families of those who have left us.


    1. Tom, thanks so much for saying all that.

      And this piece of advice…

      “If I could offer a suggestion to fellow warriors, whatever uniform you wear or wore, never lose contact with your buddies, and be there for each other.”

      That is so spot on. Keep the faith, brother…


  2. I just found out about this. I knew this guy. He is the second guy I have known (emphasis on known) who took his own life, within a year. It is hard to process. I didn’t realize Cone’s passing would be noticed the way it has, but I’m kind of glad, if one can find something to be happy about in circumstances like this. After working with some seriously messed up people for about a year and a half, in a professional sense, and having two of them commit suicide, you don’t look at hurting people the same way. There are those who put on a tough exterior and try to pretend that the only emotion they ever feel is hatred for an enemy but that just ain’t the truth. People can be really hurting inside, more so than anybody else could possibly imagine, and be really good at hiding it. Being a big old tough Marine doesn’t change that. Maybe that’s part of why some people with brains in their heads who don’t serve in the military feel such a debt of honor that can’t be repaid towards veterans, because they realize that the veteran isn’t superhuman and can’t feel pain, but feels the same pain and heartache and despair as anybody else, but sometimes just has to push it down and keep fighting and keep on keeping on despite it. (or maybe that’s just what we tell ourselves) All the various “suicide awareness” classes and lectures I have been in didn’t prepare me for when it would happen to people I knew. And I wasn’t real close to either men, but my involvement, while professional, carried a great deal of personal motivation and investment in trying to help them overcome their problems. I felt like a total failure after the first one, and though Cone’s death was removed from my direct involvement with him by a couple of months, I can’t help but feel like I should have/could have done more. I know the terminallance headline was “rest in peace” but I would rather that he had found peace in his life so that his life could go on. I like what Stan said about hurting people in his post…just help somebody! I’m sure that most people have heard, at least peripherally, of the passage of Scripture from the Gospels where Jesus is telling his followers to do “for the least of these.” I will simply continue to try to follow His example and follow Stan’s advice at the same time. It is too easy for us to view other people who are obviously hurting and convict them in the courtroom of our mind, finding them guilty of all kinds of imagined trangressions which “obviously” led them to where they are today. Well, Jesus also said that we should “remove the log from our own eye before attempting to help our brother remove the speck from his” (paraphrased). In yet another example he told the crowd ready to stone the adulterous woman that whoever is without sin (I would insert: problem, issue, baggage, self-inflicted whatever) should cast the first stone. I’m throwing those examples in here because all too often when I’m trying to get other people to see the importance of recognizing other people’s problems they just want to pretend like they don’t have any problems and the other person’s problems are their own fault and “why should I help them?” You should help them because some day it may be you. Heck, just try this: look at the other person and seriously superimpose the image of someone you do care deeply about over them. This might be easier for couples with children. I can totally lose it when I look at kids in various bad situations because I could so easily imagine one of my two sons in the same situation, and sometimes that provides some motivation to get off my butt and do something. I don’t know why I’m going on like this except to say I guess events like these are the kind that make you seriously ponder, well, serious things. I’m going to be offering up some prayers for the Marines of 3/6, the family of LCpl Tyler Cone, and everybody that has ever been affected by the specter of suicide. And please, PLEASE, if you are going through something that is the most difficult depressing despairing thing you couldn’t dream of in your worst nightmare, TELL SOMEBODY! Heck, click reply on this post and talk to me. God bless, and rest in peace, LCpl Cone.


    1. This is a great comment, frankengruven, and I’ve read it twice, just taking it all in.

      There are so many amazing points you make, that I think trying to add anything to them would only detract from them. So, thanks for the amazing comment and extra insight that you possess, and I hope everyone reads it and gets as much from it as I did. S/F, Stan


      1. By the way, LCpl Cone and the other guy I mentioned were in the same unit, same basic group of Marines, although a few had moved on between the incidents. I don’t think this is any sign of a curse or bad command climate. I don’t know of any actual link between the two Marines. Just two people who felt themselves in a hopeless situation. All the various incidents I had heard of over the years, happening to other people and other units never really had an effect on me until it happened to me. So even though some people might still think that “it could never happen to them,” to that I say, maybe you’re right. But it could happen to you. But that’s not even the point. The point is, it happens, and any decent human being should at least be concerned, and others who might have more of an inclination to act, for any reason, should not hesitate, and should ACT. From whatever deep heart felt motivation you have, religious or otherwise, the why doesn’t matter. I don’t care what beliefs you hold, doing right is always right, we can argue the foundations and fundamentals of that later. And you may never know what effect your actions may have, but I firmly believe that doing the right thing and helping out a person in need will not go unnoticed and you may be saving a life that needed saving. Semper Fi.


        1. Wow. Can’t believe they were in the same unit. Anything in particular that might have happened to the unit — and it doesn’t even have to be combat-wise, maybe they deployed but it was mostly uneventful and a complete waste of time in their minds.

          Just wondering if maybe there was some reason or it was just pure coincidence.

          And I agree about helping people and that doing right is always right. There are amazing people from all types of religions and without religions who do amazing, kind acts in our world. All deserve appreciation for that. S/F.


          1. The only factor connecting them (that I’m aware of) were that they were in the same unit and I was professionally connected to both of them. As far as I know they didn’t know each other at all, and their careers and lives otherwise didn’t really intersect.


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