TAFB tactical pause

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen had a tactical pause on Aug. 27, 2019, at Tyndall Air Force Base.

The tactical pause was issued by top-level leadership in regards to an ongoing Air Force wide suicide awareness and prevention campaign.

“Suicide is an adversary that is killing more of our airmen than any enemy on the planet," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.

Airmen participated in a base wide all-call and in designated small group activities and discussions.

“This is not meant to be a ‘one and done,’ and forget about it,” said Chief Master Sgt. Katherine Grabham, 325th Fighter Wing command chief. “This is a deliberate pause for today and for the future to look each other in the eyes and have a tough conversation.

“You matter to your units, to your wingmen and to your families,” Grabham continued.

The current statistic reads that there have been 78 suicides to date for 2019. Thirteen of the suicides have been civilian employees, nine Air National Guard members, nine Reservists and the remainder have been active duty service members.

According to the wing commander, there are more than 4,000 Airmen assigned to Tyndall from across the Air Force service components.

“We have Airmen who are fighting [the battle against suicide] every single day,” said Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th FW commander. “There is not a single person who can do everything our nation asks us to do alone.”

“Not only is it ok to reach out for help, it is expected,” he continued. “We are a team, that’s what we do. That’s what makes us different. No other organization is capable of doing what we do.”

Speakers at the all-call included Laidlaw, Grabham, Col. Jefferson Hawkins, 325th FW vice commander, and Tech. Sgt. Noah Stamps, 325th FW Religious Affairs superintendent.

Stamps told his personal story of suicidal ideations, reaching out to friends and co-workers for help, and the long recovery process battling anxiety and depression. Stay tuned to www.tyndall.af.mil for a follow-up feature story, coming soon.

The event continued with more comments emphasizing the importance of changing the conversation regarding mental health.

“No one has a ‘normal life,’ everyone has a story,” said Jefferson after telling his story of suicide attempts in his family history. “Someone is struggling with something every single day.”

Tyndall will also observe National Suicide Prevention Month in September.

“This is something we need to work on,” said Laidlaw. “We own this challenge together.”

For more information or to reach a helping agency, call the mental health clinic at 850-283-7511 or the chaplain corps at 850-283-2155.