Military.com’s lead story yesterday was written by Bob Cox of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and in it Cox quotes Air Force Brig. Gen. “Pugs” Tinsley’s widow intimating a connection between the notorious F-22 oxygen issue and her husband’s suicide by gunshot to the chest back in 2008. Here’s an excerpt:
In a lengthy interview with the Star-Telegram, Joanna Tinsley said her husband experienced big changes during the last few months of his life. He was normally a happy, highly energetic and caring man, but he deteriorated physically and emotionally.
“He was short-tempered. He was impatient. He would get mad at things that never would have agitated him before,” said Tinsley, who now lives in Phoenix.
“He was more foggy-headed. He would ask questions over and over again and then stare at you with a blank look.”
Tinsley suffered headaches, his appetite diminished, and he had trouble sleeping. He was plagued by a chronic cough, a common problem for F-22 pilots.
Now, after reading reports of strange occurrences involving other F-22 pilots and comparing notes with other wives, Tinsley said she can’t help but believe that the Air Force’s prized fighter is a health risk. Something about the F-22, she theorizes, may have triggered her husband’s suicide.
“They’re seeing the same things, the same changes that I saw in Tom,” Tinsley said.
The article goes on to mention that a few other Air Force wives — including those of pilots currently flying the Raptor — have noticed changes in their husbands’ health, including persistent coughs and loss of memory and motor skills.
Meanwhile the Air Force is sticking with their story that previous mishaps had something to do with a sticky valve in the pressure vest. No root cause, per se; no “smoking gun.”
Where it’s not tragic it’s very weird …