Tragic consequences of untreated mental health issues among veterans
April 17, 2023

Tragedy at New Boston station highlights ongoing challenge of addressing mental health issues in U.S.

Michael Foley’s last drive in his purple 1995 Chevrolet Prizm to New Hampshire’s remote New Boston Space Force Station on May 13, 2022, was a fatal one and exemplary of ongoing mental health issues faced by many veterans.

Armed with a knife in his right hand and an air-powered pellet pistol tucked out of sight in his left, he stood outside the gate, his headlights off, and declared, “FBI or your life means nothing to me,” to the guards who demanded he drop his weapons. In just a minute, Foley raised his BB gun, and a security contractor fired a shot that struck him in the forehead, killing him.

This incident, investigated by New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella, was recently ruled as justified, providing a comprehensive account of Foley’s actions and the events that led up to his untimely demise.

The investigation revealed that Foley had been in contact with the FBI just days before the incident, expressing his desire to die to multiple people and law enforcement agencies. Foley had previously served in the Army, and the search of his car uncovered two propane tanks and a gasoline tank. The authorities believed he was living in his car.

The report also showed that Foley had been texting a woman expressing suicidal thoughts two weeks prior to the incident. On May 11, Foley called another hotline expressing his desire to blow up the community counseling center recommended to him, hoping police would kill him.

Before arriving at the Space Force station, Foley had searched online for military bases in New England and read the Wikipedia entry for New Boston Space Station. The station has a long history in the Department of the Air Force. During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Corps used land in New Boston as a bombing range. Following WWII, the range became a satellite tracking station, and in the late ’80s, it was transferred to Air Force Space Command. After the U.S. Space Force became a service, New Boston’s satellite operation was transferred to its command in 2021.

The tragic incident at New Boston Space Force Station highlights the ongoing challenge of addressing mental health issues in the United States, particularly among the veteran population. Michael Foley’s case also underscores the critical role of law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals in preventing such incidents from escalating to fatal outcomes. As we strive towards a better understanding and treatment of mental health, it is crucial to continue advocating for greater access to resources and support for those in need, including our brave men and women in uniform.

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