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Leadership addresses suicide high

Col. John Gonzales, 51st Fighter Wing commander, briefs Airmen on the upcoming Resilience Tactical Pause day during his first all call inside the base theater at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, August 12, 2019. During the brief, Gonzales took time to brief Airmen on his priorities and vision, as well as holding a question and answer session. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

Col. John Gonzales, 51st Fighter Wing commander, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, 51st FW command chief, right, review the recent suicide statistics across the U.S. Air Force during a commander’s call at the base theater on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, August 12, 2019. Both Gonzales and Vizi emphasized the importance of recognizing and discussing the increasing issue of suicide in the Air Force and informed Airmen there would be a Resilience Tactical Pause day at the end of the month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

Col. John Gonzales, 51st Fighter Wing commander, briefs Airmen on upcoming base events during his first all call inside the base theater at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, August 12, 2019. During the brief, Gonzales took time to brief Airmen on his priorities and vision, as well as holding a question and answer session. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, 51st Fighter Wing command chief, briefs Airmen during an all call inside the base theater at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, August 12, 2019. Vizi and Col. John Gonzales, 51st FW commander, discussed the upcoming Resilience Tactical Pause day, a day where Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein has ordered every wing across the U.S. Air Force to stand down for a day and focus on resiliency and suicide prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise Jenson)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

U.S. Air Force Col. John Gonzales, 51st Fighter Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, 51st FW command chief, hosted a series of all-calls Aug. 12 marking the beginning of Gonzales’ tenure.

Among the topics discussed were upcoming base events, commander’s priorities and resiliency.

Gonzalez laid out his priorities as readiness, teamwork and comradery. In line with his third priority, Gonzales plans to start a Mustang Resiliency Campaign, an ongoing effort beginning on the Resilience Tactical Pause day.

The 51st FW is slated to pause Aug. 30 to fulfill U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein’s order for every wing to stand down for a day and focus on resiliency and suicide prevention.

“This day will give all of our Airmen the day to get to know each other and build unit cohesion,” Gonzales said. “This will help us understand each other and what drives us, and to learn more about the helping agencies on base that are there for us. This will help us understand why we still have barriers to going and seeking help. Most importantly, it will help us figure out what is working and what isn’t working and what we need to change.”

 Gonzalez played a heart-felt message from Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright on the topic.

“So as [Wright] said, this is our problem,” he said. “This is something we have to wrap our arms around and figure out together. It’s not one single group, which means there’s no one single answer.”

According to recent data, 79 Airmen have taken their lives this year, 28 more than this point in time last year.

“If we don’t do something, we could lose up to 150 to 160 Airmen in 2019,” Wright said in a video posted Aug. 1. “We can’t let this keep happening.”

Gonzales mentioned while this Resilience Tactical Pause day is mandatory across the Air Force, individual units will be able to determine amongst themselves how they see fit to effectively spend their day discussing problems and potential solutions to help end this ongoing tragedy.