Soldiers participate in a group exercise during the performance of "Second Chance" play Dec. 6. The Soldiers were invited on stage from the audience, which is part of the hands-on approach the play takes to demonstrate the material. (U.S. Army photo by Shawn Davis, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
Soldiers participate in a group exercise during the performance of "Second Chance" play Dec. 6. The Soldiers were invited on stage from the audience, which is part of the hands-on approach the play takes to demonstrate the material. (U.S. Army photo by Shawn Davis, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Soldiers here were treated Dec. 5-7. to the immersive stage play experience named “Second Chance,” which was performed by Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, to engage with the message of suicide prevention at the People First Center.

“This right here is not your ordinary ACE (Ask, Care, Escort) training,” said Russell Jordan, playwright and Risk Reduction Program coordinator. “It’s okay to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh,’ to laugh … to cry, it’s okay to boo — don’t boo.”

An international act that travels to perform in front of Soldiers and other service members across the globe, the play is one of seven educational plays written by Jordan to train Soldiers on nuanced subject matter through a live theater experience.

“Second Chance” details a story of a fictional Spc. Jones, played by Sgt. 1st Class Peter Nuoffer, 7th Mission Support Command, 21st TSC, who, through his actions, falls into a downward spiral of demotion to private, alcoholism and domestic violence.

“Soldiers, they become tired by the ‘death by PowerPoint’ training or somebody talking to them versus talking with them,” said Jordan. “So when we talk about providing Soldiers with a visual representation, a realistic representation of what happens across the Army, each individual can relate.

“Whether it’s the drinking and driving aspect, the suicide prevention aspect … domestic violence — we all come into the military with stuff in our rucksack,” he continued. “We give them a visual representation to empower them to see those invisible things clearly, then we hook them up with the resources.”

A key feature of the performance is a “rewind,” a retrospective demonstration of the core leadership principles Soldiers should follow to make an impact and care for their comrades in crisis. In the rewind for this play, Sgt. Johnson, played by Staff Sgt. Tiara Rivers, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st TSC, changed the fate of Pvt. Jones by following the three principles of ACE: asking if a battle buddy is considering suicide, caring for said battle buddy and escorting them to professional help.

Pvt. Jones, played by Sgt. 1st Class Peter Nuoffer, 7th Mission Support Command, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, confers his troubles with the chaplain, played by Russell Jordan, Risk Reduction Program coordinator. (U.S. Army photo by Shawn Davis, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
Pvt. Jones, played by Sgt. 1st Class Peter Nuoffer, 7th Mission Support Command, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, confers his troubles with the chaplain, played by Russell Jordan, Risk Reduction Program coordinator. (U.S. Army photo by Shawn Davis, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The play was personally requested by Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos commanding general, to be shown at Fort Cavazos and made available to

Soldiers, contractors and Department of the Army civilians. Responsible for coordinating the three-day showing was the Army Substance Abuse Program’s Lead Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator Summer Dixon.

“Any meetings with General (Ben) Cattermole, General Bernabe, it’s always a charge for us to come up with innovative ways to get this information out there,” Dixon said. “They often reinforce empathetic leadership, so that way, at all levels, we’re taking care of each other.”

Each day of the showing had more than 700 service members in attendance at the People First Center and is considered by Capt. Jenny Carlo, People First Center commander, to be an operational success. The People First Center is a unique facility, described as a lighthouse by Carlo, for Soldiers who are looking for professional leadership training, guidance and support from subject matter experts. It contains resources and hands on training experiences on resiliency, spiritual readiness and combatting harmful behaviors in team environments.

“You can ask for advice, guidance, confidentiality and certain things,” Carlo said. “We don’t operate by emotion, but we still teach how to have emotion and empathy when leading.

“When it comes to stuff that isn’t in our area of expertise, we have our network of stakeholders — the hospital, our suicide prevention coordinator and our SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention) program managers,” she continued. “At the same time, we are making sure we don’t overstep command authority or influence, instead we reinforce it but in a positive way to help Soldiers understand and recognize it.”

Carlo encourages Soldiers of all levels of leadership to come into network and gather more information on events at the center. Currently, the center is planning to host another event, similar to a TED talk for Soldiers by Soldiers, as well as a March event named March Mentorship Madness.

Jordan and the 21st TSC look forward to returning to Fort Cavazos in April 2024 for another stage performance.