Thoughts while working out in the gym
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard,
1st AD and Fort Bliss Commanding General:
Seeking Help is a Strength
You may have noticed that the signs as you leave Fort Bliss are flashing red. Unfortunately, our 1AD and Fort Bliss Family lost a Soldier to an apparent suicide earlier this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with his Family, friends, and fellow Soldiers.
This was clearly a preventable death. The warning signs began when our fallen Soldier broke up with his girlfriend nearly six months ago. More indicators appeared when his fellow Soldiers observed him drinking heavily over the past few months. The final warning sign occurred a week before he died when our fallen comrade told a friend he was thinking of harming himself.
We need to all embrace getting help for ourselves and those around us who need it. Seeking help is a sign of strength. We are creating a culture of seeking help and looking after each other, but we must continue to do better. Keep checking on each other. If you notice signs that indicate your Battle Buddy may have problems, take him or her to get help even when he or she tells you that they were “just joking” and “not serious.” Look for symptoms like increased alcohol consumption, inability to “fit in” with Army life/fellow Soldiers, relationship issues, Family issues, etc. We all need help at various points in our lives. My Family and I have received help in the past and we are grateful that we did. Seeking help is the right thing to do!
If you need to talk to someone and need immediate help call the 24-hour Chaplain at 915-637-4265 or Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.
Just like calling for fire support in combat – seeking help is an act of courage. Seeking help is a strength.
BDE Warfighter Exercise
1/1 AD, 212th Fires Brigade, and the Division DTAC will be involved in a BDE Warfighter Exercise this week and next week to help sharpen their warfighting and staff planning skills. I have been impressed with the proficiency and overall focus of all the brigade and battalion command posts in the training exercise.
Resilience – Beware of Thinking Traps
As we build our resiliency, we must become more open-minded and beware of “Thinking Traps.” “Thinking Traps” are overly rigid patterns in thinking that can cause us to miss critical information about a situation or individual. These traps cause us to believe we know what has happened or what will happen without having all the critical information necessary for an accurate read of the person or situation. “Thinking Traps” are faulty short-cuts in thinking; what we gain in speed, we lose in accuracy. We base our thoughts on just enough information to form a conclusion, and seldom is it accurate.
Perhaps the easiest “Thinking Trap” to recognize is the act of jumping to conclusions. It can lead to impulsivity and reactions you may later regret. Keep in mind, we are most likely to fall into “Thinking Traps” when we are under stress. These “Thinking Traps” can greatly reduce the effectiveness of our decision-making. The way out of a “Thinking Trap” is to identify the critical information that we were missing, so that we have a more complete picture of the evidence in order to make a solid decision. Another way to avoid “Thinking Traps” is to ask for someone else’s objective opinion before you leap into something you may later regret.
Reflect, Remember and Volunteer
This week, we commemorated the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We reflected on and remembered the innocent lives lost on that devastating day in our nation’s history. We honor the sacrifices so many of our servicemembers have made since 9/11 – tirelessly training, deploying, and fighting as we keep our freedom alive and our country safe.
At Fort Bliss, we continue to honor the victims of the September 11th attacks by volunteering in our community. Last weekend, more than 200 volunteers participated in the Fort Bliss Day of Service. Collectively, they completed six major projects on Fort Bliss and in our Greater El Paso community.
Those projects included cleaning up the El Paso Zoo, volunteering with Adult Protective Services, and preparing the Junior Enlisted Family Center for their opening Sept. 19. All of this volunteerism saved our community $298,400 and exemplify the spirit of stewardship at Fort Bliss! For information about volunteering in the future, call 569-4ACS ext. 7.
Ride your Bike!
I’m excited to participate in this Sunday’s Oryx Challenge Bike Tour, supporting the USO. The bike ride starts at the FirstLight Federal Credit Union/USO building on East Fort Bliss (on Constitution Avenue near Soto Fitness Center). The 100K ride begins at 7 a.m. and the 30K begins at 9 a.m. You can still participate in the late registration online at www.RaceAdventuresUnlimited.com. The cost is $15 for military, $35 all others. WTB Soldiers’ (active and retired) registration is free. I am not much of a cyclist, but I plan on riding anyway. It ought to be fun. I’m going to do either the 30k or the 60k ride. For more information call (915)744-3480.
Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon
The Oryx Challenge is great training for the upcoming Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon. It’s only a few weeks away – Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m. at Replica Aquatic Center. This will be our third Fort Bliss triathlon in a little over a year! We will continue with our Armed Forces Day triathlon in the spring, and now – our Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon in the fall.
The race will consist of a 400M swim, a 17.2 mile bicycle route, and a 5K run. Registration is open – go to www.active.com or you can visit Soto or Stout Fitness Centers to register in person. The race is free for active duty, $45 all others, and $65 for teams. For more information, call 744-5790.
Well, back to the pool, the roadways, and the track – time to train! Keep looking after your battle buddy!
Be combat ready, be fit, be resilient, and be Iron Strong!
Iron Soldiers – A Bias for Action!
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