KATTERBACH, Germany - On Sept. 20, the soldiers of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade here participated in safety stand down about suicide awareness.
The day began at 6 a.m. with a brigade morale run led by Col. Jay Voorhees Jr., the commander of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, around the airfield.
Following the run, Voorhees spoke to the soldiers about suicide awareness.
“One suicide is too much,” said Voorhees. “It’s real, it happens, and I need everyone to look out for each other.”
Voorhees continued by sharing an experience in which he had to explain the circumstances of a soldier’s suicide with the soldier’s family members.
“It was the most heartbreaking experience in my entire career,” Voorhees said.
At 9:30 a.m. the soldiers met their supervisors for a small group discussion about suicide prevention.
Capt. Christopher Webb, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5-158th General Support Aviation Battalion rear detachment commander, said he likes the small groups because it is more intimate than alternative settings like in the theater. His soldiers were more comfortable sharing personal experiences around their peers, rather than in a large setting with people they don’t know.
During the small group discussions, the groups were encouraged to listen to a live call-in radio show hosted by the Armed Forces Network featuring Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the commander of the U.S. Army, Europe and Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr., the command sergeant major of U.S. Army, Europe. Hertling and Davenport discussed personal experiences with suicide and took phone calls from soldiers who wanted to ask questions or share personal experiences.
“It lets you know that everyone cares from the top to the bottom,” said 1st Lt. David Valencia, the rear detachment operations officer for 5-158th GSAB.
Webb and the soldiers in his company listened to the radio show on a stereo in a grassy area next to their company’s headquarters.
At lunch the staff from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program here held a cookout at the Von Steuben building on Bismarck Kaserne.
After lunch the soldiers met at the theater at Bismarck to receive suicide awareness training from Lt. Col. William Heisterman, U.S. Army Garrison chaplain, and Master Resiliency Training from Master Sgt. Keith Green, a logistics non-commissioned officer with the brigade.
The master resiliency program is a holistic fitness program for soldiers, family members and Army civilians to enhance job performance and build resilience.