Thursday, May 24, 2012

General Pittard retracts "selfish suicide" statement

UPDATE Would be nice if "reporters" would either stay on a story or give credit where credit is due. Happens all the time and they get paid for what they do.
Army general retracts statement about suicide By Patricia Kime - Staff writer Posted : Friday May 25, 2012 13:29:21 EDT
General Pittard retracts "selfish suicide" statement too late!
by Chaplain Kathie

When Major General Dana Pittard blames soldiers for committing suicide and says they are "selfish" for doing it we should all be wondering how much more he isn't saying. How many others in his position feel the same way? Is this type of thinking holding up recovery after combat? Is it what is behind a failure like Resiliency Training? After all, considering the theory behind what was called "Battlemind" claims soldiers can "train their brains to be mentally tough" ended up telling them if they do become a combat survivor with PTSD, it is their fault.

We have rejoiced when general have come out publicly talking about their own battles with PTSD and how they got help to heal. The assumption the military finally got it turned out to be wishful thinking when the servicemen and women were still being betrayed by the military. The number of military suicides went up along with attempted suicides no matter how much was "done" to address it.

I started to slam Battlemind back in 2008 when reports started to come about what the programming was actually producing. A generation of troops with limited knowledge on PTSD corrupted by thinking PTSD was their fault for being weak minded and not training right.

It seems General Pittard just let the cat out of the bag when he said soldier suicides were selfish acts.

Then while "working out in the gym" he thought better about it and retracted his statement. So why did it take this long to change his mind? He wrote his commentary in January? It took Yochi J. Dreazen National Journal publishing this May 22, 2012 before the general public was made aware of it.

Thoughts while working out in the gym

Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard 1st AD and Fort Bliss Commanding General
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard
1st AD and Fort Bliss Commanding General
On Suicide – A Retraction

In my commentary published January 19, 2012, I stated suicide was a selfish act. Thanks to many of you and your feedback, I have learned that this was a hurtful statement. I also realize that my statement was not in line with the Army’s guidance regarding sensitivity to suicide. With my deepest sincerity and respect towards those whom I have offended, I retract that statement.

There are many reasons why a person may take his or her own life; it is very complex. Suicide is a serious problem, not only in our Army, but throughout our entire nation. Our efforts to prevent suicide at Fort Bliss are having a beneficial effect. We have lower than average suicide rates within FORSCOM. We have more than four times the number of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) personnel than other Army installation, the most Master Resilience Trainers, 160 behavioral health providers, and inspiring stories every month of Soldiers who intervened when one of their battle buddies had suicidal ideations or attempts. Our Wellness Fusion Campus is unique within the Army and is the cornerstone of a deliberate, programmed and accountable installation-wide resilience campaign. Our goal is to create the most fit, healthy, and resilient community in America.

We must continue to do better each and every day, reaching out, encouraging and helping those in need.

A person sometimes considers suicide when they lose hope about the future and they do not feel connected with others around them – a profound sense of hopelessness. We can all help by wrapping our arms around our fellow Soldiers and showing them a future that is positive and supportive. This takes both leadership and compassion. Leaders at all levels must continue with the intrusive, yet caring and compassionate, leadership that has become a part of our culture at Team Bliss. Battle buddies and leaders must stay vigilant and act when someone is in need. None of us are immune from needing help. All of us, at some point, need help for mental, emotional, or relationship stress.

Please seek help – it is the right thing to do!

• 24-hour Chaplain: 915-637-4265
•Team Bliss Operations Center: 915-744-1255
• Emergence Crisis Hotline: 915-779-1800
• National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Would you want to listen to this guy on what to do about PTSD after he said what he said? Why is he still pushing "Resiliency Training" when it has been proven to be a deadly failure? Stop and think about the other steps taken to save their lives and get them help. All of these programs along with groups around the country have not been enough to bring the suicides and attempted suicides down for a reason. Battlemind already told them to blame themselves just like Pittard's comment calling them selfish!

General Pittard, was Marine Clay Hunt selfish too?


  1. War destroys. It doesn't 'make people tougher', it destroys them, grinding them down. It's just a matter of time, for everyone.

    That Pittard doesn't get that is a pretty serious indictment of his understanding of combat, and fighting troops. If he's not removed from such an important post, it will signal that the Army still isn't willing to recognize the cause and effect of PTSD.

  2. Thank you Kurt. I agree but I wish he was the only one feeling the way he did. The fact is, the numbers speak louder than any words they use. That is very sad. I am wondering how long this would have gone on if National Journal never put the story out. After all, as Pittard wrote in his retraction, this was what he posted back in January, so the troops at Bliss have been dealing with his screwed up attitude all this time. What would have happened if we didn't know about it? How many others feel the same way? This is what happens when we turn on CNN, MSNBC and FOX and only hear political fights while they are fighting for their lives! No one is paying attention to them.

  3. Jeri Hallberg HarmonJuly 13, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    My name is Jeri Hallberg Harmon. I live in El Paso, Texas.

    My Dad told me the same thing, only cowards take their own lives. Maybe it was the 1950's and role/gender models were very defined.

    Maybe circumstances in life would cause a person to contemplate such an act.
    PTSD is a bone fide health condition. In and of itself it can not be seen... the symptoms and conditions can be seen according to what I have read.
    I am not a doctor, I am not a nurse. I am the mother of a son whose father was in the military and even after his honorable discharge continued for decades to live as though he were on permanent bivouc.
    No heat, no water, no gas, outside, spartan life style... in the middle of suburbia.
    Was it PTSD?? Was his disability a direct result of jumping from a whirlybird??
    I do not know. What I do know is that our marriage suffered, we learned to accept him for what he was and how he lived his life style.
    Did it permaently effect our family unit... no doubt.

    What I alsi know is: I have known General Pittard since 1974-75.
    He was then and I assume now is a truthful, trustworthy, responsible, reliable leader, was then,,, is now.
    When we were being raised, we were expected to " suck it up",
    " be tough, don't explain, don't complain". Those were the days long ago when terms such as PTSD, politically correct and sensitivity training were not yet created.
    He has restated his position to clarify his meaning. I accept that. Further he has stated numerous avenues for assistance for the families and the troops themselves. He has stated avenues and been very specific regarding points of contact if families or troops can benefit from assitance. He has stated and quantified training programs for professionals who assist troops and their families.
    Do I trust General Pittard and his leadership?
    Count on It!!!!


    Jeri Hallberg Harmon, M. Ed.,
    B. Sci., Associate of Allied Health, Certified Community Health Worker, Certified Childcare Health Consultant 7/13/12


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