"You teach people to be strong and, in the face of adversity, to not show emotion," Wells said. "Your duty as a soldier is to obey and not talk back, to take orders. There's little room for you to say that you need help."
Part of the training addressed that. It focused on resilience, teaching soldiers to be able to bounce back from stress and control their reactions.
Learning the warning signs of suicide, Wells said, was a lesson learned too late.
Wells' friend in the Judge Advocate General's Corps took his own life with a service revolver. Another friend killed himself in law school. And not that long ago, just before school started, a 15-year-old neighborhood boy hanged himself at the playground. Just days earlier, Wells said, he'd wondered if there was something wrong.
"I think there were probably signs or signals — something — that I should've noticed," Wells said of each death. "But I didn't think it was my business. That's kind of weighed on me, in reflection. Should I have been there? Could I have done anything?"
The Army's training, Wells said, made clear that he should have done something.
"I probably should have reacted," Wells said. "You have a responsibility to the soldier to the left and right of you."
Recent annual suicide rates per 100,000
Fort Meade: 50
Sources: Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, U.S. Army statistics, Fort Meade officials