Soldiers from Task Force Ivy gathered at McMahon AudiA,Atorium Oct. 19 to reinforce the importance of suicide prevention awareness and the responsibility every Soldier has in taking care of his comrades in distress.

Col. Todd Heussner, Task Force Ivy commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Shirley, the Task Force Ivy senior enlisted Soldier, brought the Soldiers together to provide information and stress the role Soldiers as leaders shared in suicide prevention awareness.

"We are not going to let our brothers and sister in uniform hurt themselves," said Heussner. "This is important to me; as leaders we are our brother's keeper."

It is important for Soldiers to know their comrades, and by knowing and understanding their fellow Soldiers they will be able to pick-up on signs of possible concerns that may prevent suicide ideation, said Heussner.

"Leaders must maintain awareness for high-risk conduct," said Heussner. "We need to have more communication within the ranks, and we must know our Soldiers and get to know them individually."

Staff Sgt. Brenda Murray, an ammunition specialist assigned to Company A, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., spoke with the Task Force Ivy Soldiers and shared her personal experience with a Soldier's suicide ideation and how being personally involved possibly saved his life.

"When my Soldier failed to show up at morning formation after a long weekend and didn't respond to phone calls, I knew something out of the ordinary was up," said Murray.

When Murray's Soldier failed to show up to work, she knew something was wrong because as a leader she had developed personal relationships with her Soldiers and their Families.

"I care about Soldiers, and I would not do this job if I did not," said Murray.

Because Murray had a personal and professional relationship with her Soldier she was able to indentify abnormal behavior on his part and recognized that he was in crisis.

"Leaders have to know their servicemembers and know their Families," said Murray. "The threat is not always in combat."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16