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."
Nearly half of all Veterans Health Administration clinicians did not complete suicide risk management training within the timeframe mandated by the Department of Veterans Affairs last year, according to a new report released May 18 by the Department of VA Inspector General.