An up and (very) down weekend
By Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson, Commander, 45th Space Wing
/ Published July 21, 2011
PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- Let's start with the good news.
As you know, the 45th Space Wing, along with mission partners Space and Missile Center, Boeing and United Launch Alliance combined to conduct another perfect launch from Complex 37 at the Cape.
A Delta IV-Medium rocket carrying the second Global Positioning System IIF lifted off at 2:41 a.m. Saturday, marking the 50th successful GPS launch on a Delta rocket.
Once again, we proved to the Air Force - and the entire world -- our ability to reliably deliver national security space systems to orbit.
What a fantastic testament to the total team approach we have here at the Wing. Hats off to all those involved directly or indirectly for a job well done!
Now for the disturbing news.
Last weekend, we lost seven members of our Air Force. That's a stunning number to try and digest.
While two have been classified as accidental and one is still under investigation, four deaths were determined to be suicide.
Four of our Airmen took their own lives in one weekend.
And before you ask, it's important each of us understand that age, rank and duty position mean nothing when our fellow Airmen are hurting and in need of our help.
One was a Lieutenant Colonel, one a Senior Master Sergeant (and AF civilian) one a Master Sergeant and one a Technical Sergeant.
Although none were from the Space Coast or members of Air Force Space Command, that fact does little to lessen the pain we feel due to the loss of any Wingmen, no matter what the cause of death. Today, there are seven families, seven units and seven communities dealing with the loss of a loved one, co-worker, wingman and neighbor.
So once again, watch and listen for signs your friends, family members and co-workers are hurting in any way. Maybe they just need a hand to hold or a shoulder to lean on.
Let's be there for them.
And remember that safety is an attitude, each one of us needs to get one.
Thanks in advance for all you will do.
Editor's note: If you need help, or know someone who does, you are not alone. Please call the Patrick AFB Mental Health Clinic at 321-494-8234, Brevard Community Services 321-632-6688 or 211 (24 hour suicide hotline), National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Press "1". If someone is imminently suicidal, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.