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2010 Press Releases

Condolences to the Aare Viirmaa Family

September 1, 2010

For the second time in less than  48 hours, our hearts go out to the loved ones of a fallen Estonian hero.  Mr. Aare Viirmaa, who had served with distinction with Estonian NATO forces in Afghanistan, was found dead in his home on August 30th.  Mr. Viirmaa had been injured during his service in an explosion that resulted in the loss of both of his legs.  The local prosecutor's office is treating the case as a suicide. 

The tragic loss of Mr. Viirmaa reminds us of the importance of dealing with all the consequences of combat, both on and off the battlefield, and after our brave men and women return home.  In both the U.S. and Estonia, we have worked hard in dealing with the harsh effects of war, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  U.S. veterans who have returned from their service in Iraq and Afghanistan have faced considerable physical and emotional disruptions.  To cope with this, our military and Department of Defense leadership have instituted various programs to deal proactively with this situation, such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research "Battlemind" program, which includes pre- and post-deployment training modules for soldiers, health care providers, and spouses. 

We applaud the efforts of the Government of Estonia, the Ministry of Defense, and Estonian Defense Forces as they seek to accomplish the same goals, work to ameliorate the impact of PTSD, and assist veterans in their return to Estonian society.   We have worked together with Estonia in safeguarding the lives of our warriors, at home and abroad, and we remain committed to do what we can to avoid future pain and suffering among our fellow countrymen and women.

Mr. Viirmaa and his loved ones remain in our prayers. 

Ambassador Michael C. Polt