Suicide prevention pins are displayed in recognition of suicide prevention and awareness month by the 81st Medical Operations Squadron mental health team. (U.S. Air Force photo / Kemberly Groue)
The Air Force is the only military branch that saw a decrease in both active-duty and Reserve suicides last year, according to data provided by the service.
A total of 58 active-duty suicides were reported in 2018, of which 16 deaths are suspected suicides pending confirmation, the service's data shows. By comparison, 63 active-duty airmen took their own lives in 2017; however, the five-year average for Air Force active-duty suicides is roughly 61 deaths per year, showing little has changed since 2014.
"We are not satisfied with flat-lined suicide death numbers," Brig. Gen. Michael E. Martin, director, Air Force Integrated Resilience, said in a statement. "The Air Force is dedicated to a comprehensive, leadership-driven strategy with the ultimate goal of supporting airmen and their families early with a robust network and never losing another airman to suicide."
However, the Air Force Reserves saw a sharp decrease in suicides from 11 in 2017 to three in 2018, the Air Force's data shows. That is the lowest number of Reserve suicides since 2012.
Whenever an airman commits suicide, the Air Force establishes a suicide analysis board that looks into the underlying causes of the death, similar to investigations into aircraft crashes, said Air Force spokesman Maj. Nicholas Mercurio.
"We engage with experts from the Air Force, Department of Defense and academia to identify and pursue the most promising immediate, mid, and long-range prevention approaches that have empirical support in reducing suicides," Mercurio said in an email.
The Air Force also trains airman to recognize warning suicides for suicide so they can intervene in time, he said.
"Our program is designed for maximum support to airmen and their families well in advance of crisis, and to support commanders and leaders at all levels in order to ensure the network of helping agencies is actively engaged in prevention, intervention and postvention," Martin said. "It is about a culture of care and respect established by commanders and senior enlisted leaders that arms airmen at all levels with the training and tools for the decisive edge when their wingmen are in crisis."
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Defense Department's authority to prosecute retired service members for crimes they commit, even after retirement.
The court on Tuesday chose not to hear the case of a retired Marine who was court-martialed for a sexual assault he committed three months after leaving the service in August 2015. By not accepting the case, Larrabee v. the United States, the court upheld the status quo: that military retirees are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A formation of U.S. Army soldiers with III Corps and Fort Hood honor the American flag as they lower it during the Retreat ceremony March 27, 2014. Retreat is conducted at the end of the day, every day, to honor the flag, which is raised during the Reveille ceremony each morning. All activity on the base stops for the duration of both ceremonies as soldiers pause, face the flag, and salute. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Ken Scar)
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When President Trump spoke of Islamic State last week, he described the group as all but defeated, even in the digital realm.
"For a period of time, they used the internet better than we did. They used the internet brilliantly, but now it's not so brilliant," the president said. "And now the people on the internet that used to look up to them and say how wonderful and brilliant they are are not thinking of them as being so brilliant."
Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, a 3rd Infantry Division Soldier who was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment and killed in action in Iraq in 2003, is depicted in a photo illustration alongside the Distinguished Service Cross medal, which he is slated to posthumously receive for his heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, April 5, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pa. (U.S. Army)
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