Military suicides not just a number to 1 lawmaker

By DONNA CASSATA | September 9, 2011 | 4:10 PM EDT

In this photo taken July 20, 2011, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. At a House Armed Services hearing on military suicides Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, Chu testified, and in a dramatic moment described the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, 21, who put a gun to his head and killed himself while in a foxhole in Afghanistan after fellow Marines allegedly hazed him one night. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The disturbing number of suicides in the military has a face on Capitol Hill.

It's Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, a Marine who shot and killed himself in an Afghanistan fox hole after hours of beatings, repeated push-ups in full body armor and mouthfuls of sand. Three Marines allegedly punished the 21-year-old after he had been caught sleeping on duty.

A House Armed Services hearing Friday on suicide prevention programs gave military leaders a chance to answer lawmakers' questions about identifying service members at risk.

Toward the end of the hour-long session, California Rep. Judy Chu talked about the life and death of Lew.

He was her nephew.