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."
Former Army military police Sgt. Josh Geartz is riding 422 miles to raise awareness about the 20 veterans who take their own lives every day, according to the latest Department of Veterans Affairs data. He chose 422 miles deliberately to represent the formerly held figure, which suggested that 22 veterans a day are lost to suicide.
A report by the Pentagon’s Defense Suicide Prevention Office found that in the third quarter of 2015, the military saw an increase in suicides among active and reserve components, compared to the same period last year.