The life and death of Clay Hunt

"Clay had the world at his fingertips," a friend recalls. Why did the Marine combat vet take his own life?

Three days after Windsor's death, Hunt's platoon held a memorial service before heading out on patrol. Hours later, a sniper shot Hunt through the wrist, sending him back to his base in California. But being separated from his unit did more damage than the bullet and added to his helplessness.

Jake Wood: Just like when he was in that Humvee during Nathan's ambush, and he couldn't do anything, now he's at home and that's-- that's maddening.

Byron Pitts: Maddening because?

Jake Wood: You'd like to think that you have some control over the safety and wellbeing of your brothers. If you get sent home, you have no control.

Before long, Clay Hunt was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder - PTSD. Despite being placed on medication, he struggled with depression, panic attacks, and sleeplessness.

Jake Wood: It marked him. And I think he saw it as marking him as weak. Not being able to handle it.

Byron Pitts: Did guys treat him differently once they knew?

Jake Wood: No. I don't think so. I don't think so. He-- but he felt like they did.

Byron Pitts: I mean, there's no shame in that, right?

Jake Wood: Depends on who you ask and when. You know, ask a Marine rifleman if there's shame in having PTSD just coming back from a chest-thumping deployment to Iraq and he'll tell you, "You shouldn't have PTSD that's what we do."

Despite his injury and PTSD, Hunt followed Jake Wood into an elite sniper unit and deployed to Afghanistan. And that's when he started having doubts about the war.

Jake Wood: The rest of us refused to look at the larger picture of the war that we were fighting in Afghanistan. And Clay refused to allow himself not to look at it. He saw our friends continuing to die and get maimed. And, you know, we would go out on these missions, and we'd get in firefights where we'd kill people. And he had to justify that. And when those doubts start to creep in your mind, that's when you-- that's when you start to lose your mind. And that's what started to happen with Clay.

Hunt and Wood lost two more friends in Afghanistan. When he left the Marine Corps in 2009, Hunt was disillusioned by war and disappointed by what he found at home.

Stacy Hunt: He was saddened by the fact that Americans didn't seem to be impacted by what was going on in the world. That we lived kind of in a bubble.

Susan Selke: He said, "You know, the Marines are at war and America's at the mall." And it was just the realization of the disconnect.

Jake Wood also felt that disconnect. He was fresh out of the Marine Corps when that earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. Wood decided -- spur of the moment -- to lead a handful of veterans -- including Hunt -- on a relief mission. A month later, they responded to another quake in Chile.

[Clay Hunt: We found a need and we're bridging the gap.]

That was the beginning of Team Rubicon, an organization that helps veterans get back into civilian life by using their military skills in disaster relief.

Byron Pitts: What did Team Rubicon, what did the experience in Haiti give Clay?

Jake Wood: I think Clay found that sense of purpose, that identity that he wanted in the Marine Corps. He was helping put people's lives back together.

At the same time, Clay Hunt was struggling to put his life on track. His year old marriage was failing, divorce followed. He changed medications, looking for something that relieved his depression and anxiety without debilitating side effects. Still, Hunt wanted to help others. When he was at Loyola Marymount University, he agreed to talk about his problems publicly in this MTV college network video about depression.

[Clay Hunt: So I'm almost 10 years older than most of my classmates and so that makes it a little hard to relate to a lot of people just cause I have a whole lot of different life experiences than most 40 year olds. You know, I've done, seen things in my life that, for one, most people should never have to see.]