Thoughts while working out in the gym
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard,
1st AD and Fort Bliss Commanding General:
Tragedy struck Team Bliss this weekend when we lost one of our Soldiers from the 11th ADA Brigade in a motorcycle accident on Gateway Boulevard West in El Paso. Our Soldier was current on his Motorcycle Safety Course, properly licensed, and wearing his helmet when the accident occurred. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his unit.
No more preventable Soldier deaths! Let’s celebrate life and finish the year without one more preventable death.
Last fiscal year (October 2011 to October 2012), “no-show” appointments here on Fort Bliss cost the government more than $845,000 and cost our clinics countless man-hours in lost time and rescheduled appointments. Missed appointments also extend the time for everyone who seeks a medical appointment. We need your help! I need leaders to ensure that Soldiers in their units are making their appointments. Action will be taken to encourage our Soldiers and Families to make their scheduled medical and dental appointments. Our “no show” appointment rate is currently at six percent. I believe that together we can get this below two percent.
Unit Highlight – Imperial Brigade
The 11th ADA Imperial Brigade continues to train hard, maintain equipment, and take care of Soldiers. Last week, the 1-43 Cobra Strike Battalion completed its Mission Rehearsal Exercise in preparation for its impending deployment to the Middle East. LTC Shank and CSM Gruidl have the battalion rocking and ready to complete their mission and come home safely! The 11th ADA commanded by COL Coward continues to be deployed to Southwest Asia. We are very proud of the Imperial BDE.
Suicide Prevention Stand Down
Last Thursday we held an installation-wide Suicide Prevention Stand Down day to educate all Soldiers on the resources available to, and warning signs of potential suicide victims. Soldiers across the Army and our installation stopped all training and operations to support one another and stand up for life. Soldiers received training on Ask, Care, Escort (ACE), Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, Building Strong Bonds and more.
We also took time to recognize Soldiers and civilians whose efforts aided in stopping preventable deaths. Among those recognized were five Soldiers from 2-1 AD, who helped save a life and aided in stopping a preventable death. Staff Sgt. Justin Phillips, 2-1 AD, spoke to all leaders about his personal experience saving the life of a Soldier.
Leaders, continue to create awareness and pay attention to your Soldiers. I need all of us to take care of our battle buddies and look out for each other. We all experience stress from trauma, relationship troubles, family, finances, and other pressures. Seek help before your problems become too overwhelming. Seeking help is a strength! For help call a friend, the 24-hour Duty Chaplain at (915)637-4265, or Military One Source at (800)730-3802. Seeking help is a Strength.
Net Zero Tip for October
In concert with our environmental campaign plan, our goal is to become Net Zero as an installation. Our goal is to create all the energy that we use without waste and to reduce our overall carbon footprint.
Our environmental campaign plan is important to all of us, as energy efficiency is an issue of national security and also impacts our national economy. We all have to do our part towards Net Zero and everyone can do something around their house, barracks room, or apartment. This month’s tip: unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
Respect and Dignity Tip of the Month
One thing that will never change in our Army is the principle that all people must be treated with dignity and respect. Treating your fellow Soldiers, subordinates, peers and leaders with the respect they deserve often directly influences how well they perform their duties. This is an Army policy, spelled out in AR 600-20, Army Command Policy, but it is also just good practice. Improved unit readiness, higher morale, greater commitment to unit and mission, and increased trust and unit cohesion are just some of the benefits of treating others as you would like to be treated.
Part of the 1AD and Team Bliss concept is the application of the Golden Rule everywhere and with everyone. This applies to our DA civilians, members of the El Paso community, and family members. The tip for this month is simple: Say hello! It costs you nothing, takes very little energy, and might even make you feel better about yourself!
This past weekend Fort Bliss hosted an incredibly successful Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon with nearly 300 participants. The Sprint Triathlon included a 400-meter swim, 17-mile bike ride, and a 5K run. Our MWR Sports director, Aaron Jones, did a tremendous job putting together a first-class event!
Brandon Gangstad, a retired Command Sergeant Major, won the entire event with a time of one hour and sixteen minutes! Brandon is a great athlete who also serves as the trainer for our Army Ten Miler teams.
We had some great Soldiers and civilians come out to support this event. Some were participating in their first triathlon while others were triathlon veterans such as Flip Kyle, who raced in his record-breaking 305th triathlon! And, hey, how about Richard Park, an Army retiree who, at the age of 71, completed the course in one hour and forty-three minutes!
I was also impressed to see three battalion commanders from the 11th ADA Bde. (LTCs Dave Shank, Mike Solis, and Josh Moon) compete in the triathlon. That was the most battalion commanders from any brigade on Fort Bliss!
While I am not a great cyclist, I surprised myself by turning in my personal best performance and even won my age group. Now I am preparing for the Army Ten Miler in DC later this month.
Well back to the gym!
Stay motivated, be fit, be healthy, keep recycling, and be Iron Strong!
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