Letter to Airmen: Taking care of each other is our 'bedrock'

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III speaks to cadets here Sept. 29 during his weeklong visit to the visit. Welsh told the cadets that in part, today's Cadet Wing owes its success to the achievements of previous cadets and Academy graduates.  Welsh challenged the cadets to build upon the Academy's legacy once they graduate. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jason Gutierrez)

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III speaks to cadets here Sept. 29 during his weeklong visit to the visit. Welsh told the cadets that in part, today's Cadet Wing owes its success to the achievements of previous cadets and Academy graduates. Welsh challenged the cadets to build upon the Academy's legacy once they graduate. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jason Gutierrez)

WASHINGTON -- Fellow Airmen, last month I was lucky enough to join amazing Americans during the Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs. As Betty and I watched the competition, we could see the passion and drive on each athlete's face and it made us even prouder to serve in the world's greatest Air Force.

As is usually the case, our Airmen performed magnificently, winning 48 medals, including 16 gold medals. Those wins were underscored by Capt. Mitch Kieffer taking Ultimate Champion honors -- for the second year in a row.

Our Airmen's spirit is infectious and their commitment to excellence is inspiring. But the one thing that really stood out to me and everyone else watching was their sincere desire to encourage and support their fellow athletes. We should all follow their lead.

November is Warrior Care Month and this year's theme is "Show of Strength." As you continue to be the best Airmen possible, don't lose sight of what's equally important -- making this incredible team as strong as possible by taking care of each other.

A few years ago, we established the Comprehensive Airmen Fitness program focusing on the wellbeing of our Airmen and families and improve the resiliency of these great Americans.

Comprehensive Airmen Fitness emphasizes finding strength through four pillars: mental, physical, social and spiritual, to balance and ensure success in our personal and professional lives. Ultimately, we're at our very best when we lean on each other.

Across our Total Force, we've lost 79 Airmen in 2014 to suicide, 79 teammates, friends and family members who will be missed greatly. Airmen taking care of Airmen must be our bedrock. No one can succeed in this business, or in life, alone -- no one. We need to ensure Comprehensive Airmen Fitness is a team sport and we should never accept that suicide can't be prevented. This is a battle worth fighting; one imminently worthy of our time and energy. Please join me on the front lines.

As we roll into Warrior Care Month, I ask you to look out for those around you. If you're having a tough time, talk to someone. We have great folks ready to help.

Always know Betty and I appreciate what you and your families do for our Air Force; we care about each and every one of you and do not take your passion and drive, your warrior spirit, for granted. It's an honor to stand beside you.

(Editor's note: Betty Welsh is Welsh's wife)