A beautiful, outgoing girl, Pamela Dowling joined the Marine Corps right out of high school in 2005 to get money for college. She deployed three times, including to Iraq and Afghanistan, over the course of five years. She worked with big trucks, including providing gun support. When she left the Marines, she was already suffering from PTSD and depression that occurred following her first deployment.
Pam was in therapy for PTSD for nearly a decade, both in the Marines and later at the San Diego VA. She had some successes and finished a bachelor’s degree and was working in a job she liked.
But she was still struggling emotionally. In May 2015, Dowling called her aunt midweek and said she was feeling suicidal. Her aunt formed a plan, to fly down to San Diego from Oregon the following Monday to collect Pamela and return her to her native state. She talked to the VA crisis line who offered to send someone to check on Pamela, but Pam told her aunt that she could wait for her to arrive on Monday. Unfortunately, she didn’t wait and lost her battle the next morning at the age of 28. She is deeply missed by her friends and family.