On suicides, Air Force’s top chaplain preaches hope over darkness to Yokota airmen
STARS AND STRIPES
By SETH ROBSON
Published: February 21, 2019
Schaick, 60, who commands 2,000 chaplains and religious affairs airmen, told the Yokota personnel that life can go to a dark place, but it always gets better.
Air Force chief of chaplains Maj. Gen. Steven Schaick told airmen gathered for a prayer breakfast Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, at the Enlisted Club at Yokota Air Base, Japan, that everyone experiences "moments of darkness" but that things get better in the end. SETH ROBSON/STARS AND STRIPESYOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Even a two-star general has “moments of darkness,” the Air Force chief of chaplains told servicemembers Thursday at the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo.
Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Steven Schaick told several airmen gathered for a National Prayer Breakfast event at the Yokota Enlisted Club that, like everyone, he experiences disorientation, for example, on days when there are complaints at work, his kids don’t answer the phone or he has issues with his wife.
“There is a spirit in this world who wants us to believe that is where it ends,” he said. “There are airmen all over Yokota who believe this even now … We had 100 airmen last year who decided that death by suicide was their only way out.”
Yokota’s 374th Maintenance Group had a string of airman suicides in 2016 and Pacific Air Forces dispatched a “suicide prevention support team” to investigate there and at Misawa and Kadena air bases.
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