Airmen from the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, took time during drill weekend for a Resilience Tactical Pause in response to an increase in suicides throughout the Air Force.
The Resilience Tactical Pause, directed by Air Force chief of staff, General David Goldfein, is intended to provide an opportunity for leaders to engage their Airmen in a manner that fosters interpersonal connection.
“The Resilience Tactical Pause is a break in the daily grind so that we can focus, focus on our Airmen and their well-being,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth O’Wright, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. “This is not a one-day effort to check a box, this is a beginning of a much needed dialogue from Airmen, command teams, helping agencies and frankly our entire Air Force.”
According to a video posted on 1 Aug 2019, Wright stated that 78 Airmen have taken their life this year alone, an increase of 28 for the same time period last year. If nothing is done, we could lose up to 150 or 160 Airmen to suicide, said Wright.
As part of the RTP, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson, 175th wing commander, held a wing-level all call and throughout the day Airmen participated in small-group discussions.
The RTP was not a “down day”, but a day dedicated to promoting trust, driving awareness and to highlight the importance of candid feedback about how we can better support Airmen.
“We’re trying to fix whatever chain of events occurs between the time an Airmen commissions or graduates Basic Military Training until the moment where they make a final solution to a temporary problem,” said Johnson. “How do we break that chain? That is part of why we are here today.”
The feedback received from all Airmen at the wing is important because suicide has no boundaries and is not limited to a specific rank or experience level. Every Airmen brings a unique perspective to this topic, explained Johnson.
“It is important to have these discussions at every level of our organization,” explained Johnson. “Suicide knows no boundaries and can affect any individual regardless of age, rank or experience level, so the solutions and pathways to the answers for combatting suicide must encompass input from individuals at all levels.”