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Academy Airmen take break to reinforce resiliency
Tech. Sgt. John Dawson knocks out a saxophone solo during an Air Force Academy Band performance in the Arnold Hall Theater Jan. 26, 2011. The performance was part of a resiliency day presentation at the Academy, which also included brief messages by Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould and Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman, the Academy's command chief. The resiliency day was directed by Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz after an uptick in suicides in January. Dawson is part of the marching and concert ensembles as well as the Falconaires. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Branum)
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Academy Airmen, cadets take break for resiliency day

Posted 1/27/2012   Updated 1/30/2012 Email story   Print story


by Don Branum
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

1/27/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Most Airmen and cadets here stood down Jan. 26, closing offices and classrooms to hold a resiliency day at the direction of the chief of staff.

During a morning presentation in the Arnold Hall Theater featuring music by the Air Force Academy Band, Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould stressed the importance of helping one another and seeking help during tough times.

"What resiliency really means is helping one another," Gould said. "Seeking help is a strength, not a weakness."

Twelve active-duty Airmen took their lives between Jan. 1 and Jan. 23. Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman, the Academy's command chief, told Airmen no one of any rank was immune to life's pressures and that he had sought help from mental health officials in the past to help manage his stress. It was difficult for him, he said, because he held a belief that "command chiefs don't need help."

"I sat in my car ... I went to the front door of Mental Health two or three times, then back to my car, before I finally opened that door and went in," Salzman said.

Salzman talked about four pillars of well-being: physical, social, mental and spiritual. He described spiritual fitness as knowing oneself. Physical fitness, he said, includes not only playing and working out but also sleep hygiene.

"Too many people think that not getting enough sleep is a badge of honor," the chief said. "Sleep hygiene is one of the biggest things hurting people right now."

Social fitness, particularly family, is huge, Salzman said.

"The most important thing to me is my family. The balance is so important because when you're career is over, your family's still going to be there. They're your rock, your foundation."

Gould concluded by asking the audience to make a difference for one another, both that day and for the rest of the year.

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