Fort Riley, Kansas



COMMAND TEAM CORNER - Message to Fort Riley community on value of life

By Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Martin | Commanding General | September 29, 2017

     “Big Red One” Soldiers, family members and the Fort Riley community,

      I write you today regarding a very important topic to me — the value of life.

   Suicide ideation and behavior is a struggle that we must confront and fight head-on together. Losing even one Soldier to suicide is unacceptable.

     I believe that the only way to win this battle is to build and reinforce a culture that cherishes the value of life. Research shows that suicide is not caused by a character flaw or weakness and, most importantly, it is preventable.

     I want every one of you to understand: you have value and are critical to our success. You are not alone. We are all people, and people have stressors and may sometimes need help.

    Many people suffer from suicide ideation and attempts, but we can make sure that you get whatever help you need. Together, we can get through anything.

     I also want to remind and encourage each of you to be proactive, caring and to have the personal courage to recognize when your teammate is in danger. Regardless of what leads someone to have thoughts of suicide, ideations tend to show indicators. We must be vigilant.

     We can never assume that problems will solve themselves, or that our gut feeling about a friend, family member or co-worker is meaningless. Your immediate action can save his or her life.

     You have the power and responsibility to protect each other on and off the battlefield, which includes recognizing uncharacteristic and suicidal behaviors. Effective leadership is a key component to building and maintaining a culture of trust, empathy and mutual respect.

     Seeking help is a sign of courage and strength; something that more of us must do. I expect leaders to know their Soldiers and families, empower them and enable them to leverage available support networks or, better yet, be a part of their support network.

     One suicide is too many; our goal is to eliminate it. I know together we can and will achieve that goal. To do so properly, we must recognize the value of every individual, including ourselves.

     Service members of our community are attempting suicide, which means we need to arm ourselves with the tools necessary to take action and combat suicide now. I challenge each of you to memorize or carry with you the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number, 1-800-273-8255, press #1 for the Military Helpline, text to 838255, also available on the Fort Riley website, or Lines for Life Military Helpline, 1-888-457-4838, or text MIL1 to 839863. They provide instant access to assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Duty First,

Joseph M. Martin

Major General, U.S. Army