He was talking about Airmen but it is what most have to say about falling apart after deployment when everyone else is home safe, if not sound.
Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger, the Air Force surgeon general, says the service has several ways to support airmen experiencing stress. (Photo: Daniel Woolfolk/Air Force Times)
Q: Is the way that you go about suicide prevention different for deployed airmen versus home stationed missions?
A: It’s really the same approach. And we know that actually suicide among deployed airmen is very rare. Suicide is an uncommon event across the Air Force. But among our deployed airmen, it’s particularly uncommon. And that’s been the case for years. We think that’s because when airmen deploy there’s such a strong sense of mission and such a strong sense of their role and responsibility. They know that if they’re not there tomorrow, their wingmen, the airmen around them, are going to have to keep that mission going somehow. That sense of belonging, that sense of importance to the mission in a deployed site, is probably why, one big reason why, we rarely see suicide in a deployed mission..
That is the biggest reason why it is so heartbreaking to think about them not just surviving combat but taking their own lives after being willing to die for the sake of others.