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'We are a people organization' — Army leaders push renewed focus on soldiers amid rise in sexual assaults and suicides
After months of focusing on modernization priorities, Army leadership plans to tackle persisting personnel issues in the coming years.
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday at an event with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that what people can to hear service leadership "talk a lot about ... our people. Investing in our people, so that they can reach their potential. ... We are a people organization."
For the fifth time since May, Shaw Air Force Base is mourning the death of one of its airmen. The most recent death is the third suicide, the Sumter County Coroner's Office confirmed Thursday.
"We lost another airman yesterday. Here we are again. I can't believe it," Col. Derek O'Malley, 20th Fighter Wing commander, said on a Facebook post. "... We lost another one of our own."
The commander of one of the Air Force's two B-52 Stratofortress wings issued an apology to airmen on Monday after referring to airmen who take their own lives as "chickenshit" during an event stand down event he ordered to focus on suicide prevention within his unit.
Col. Michael A. Miller, commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, reportedly commented that "killing yourself is a chickenshit way to go" during a 1.2 mile "resiliency day" run with personnel on Friday.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has ordered all units to take a day before Sept. 15 to focus on preventing airmen from taking their own lives.
"Suicide is an adversary that is killing more of our airmen than any enemy on the planet," Goldfein write in a July 31 memo to commanders, which Task & Purpose obtained. "You and I have sworn to 'defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.' Suicide attacks sometimes with and without warning. Make this tactical pause matter. Make it yours and make it personal."
NORTH PORT, Fla. — Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of veteran suicides, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube said on Wednesday he supports removing marijuana from its wrongly classified Schedule 1 status.
"And I think you'd be surprised by the amount of Republicans that would support it," said the Sarasota Republican, who added Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would likely block a descheduling bill. But Steube said a vote would enjoy broad bipartisan support in the House and could come up for a vote this session.
"I think as you're seeing a younger generation of elected officials — I mean, look at (Florida Gov. Ron) DeSantis and some of the things he's done — and their positions on those issues are very different."
On the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Army tweeted a video of Pfc. Nathan Spencer with the 1st Infantry Division, who said the Army has given him the opportunity to "give to others, to protect the ones I love, and to better myself as a man and a warrior."
Then the Army tweeted a simple, open-ended question: "How has serving impacted you?"
The responses took on a life of their own.