By PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS STEVEN L. SHEPARD, USN, Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs OfficeSeptember 22, 2009
SAILORS GATHERED in the early morning hours Sept. 4 on Soldier Field as the Navy's Center for Information Dominance Detachment, Monterey (CIDDM) held an all-hands Training Day to kick off the extended Labor Day holiday weekend.
Taking advantage of a day free from classes at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC), the mostly student-comprised CIDDM received important training that focused on the dual topics of Suicide Prevention and Operational Security. Guest speakers included Navy Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Statler from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Corwin Brown, operations specialist antiterrorism officer from the DLIFLC Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.
In conjunction with the Army designation of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the National Suicide Prevention Week September 6-12, CIDDM used its Training Day forum to get the word out to the approximately 600 Sailors in attendance.
"The school environment can be stressful, people are overloaded with homework, they might have problems at home, and some just can't cope with everything that is happening in their lives," explained CIDDM's Suicide Prevention Coordinator Petty Officer 1st Class Luis Salazar.
"The Sailors need to know that there are resources available to them and that there are people they can talk to," Salazar added.
One of those people is Chaplain Statler, who shared his knowledge on the subject and explained how suicide prevention is a group responsibility.
"Everyone is involved in suicide prevention. It is a leadership issue that encompasses the basic seaman to highest officer," Statler said. "If you don't remember anything else, I want you to remember this: you are the first line of defense for suicide prevention."
The message seemed to sink in for Sailors like Seaman Zachary Guetersloh who called the training useful.
"I've known a few people here who have suffered from depression and stress," admits Guetersloh.
"The counselors and chaplains can't be everywhere all of the time and we are the ones who will first see the symptoms in our classmates and friends. It's important that we learn to recognize the signs."
Before dismissing the students to enjoy the Labor Day Weekend, CIDDM leadership also used the occasion to stress the importance of responsible alcohol consumption before hosting a question and answer session.
"It is good to get everyone in the same place and have this opportunity to come together as a unit" said CIDDM Senior Enlisted Leader Master Chief Petty Officer Loren Bailey."Not only did it satisfy an annual training requirement, but we were able to give good information on a serious subject like suicide prevention."