DISA and JFHQ-DODIN Military Personnel Participate in Joint Service Wellness and Remembrance Run
|DISA and JFHQ-DODIN senior leaders (from left to right) Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Marion H. Shawbell, Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, Air Force Maj. Gen. Sarah E. Zabel, and Army Sgt. Maj. Shannon A. Caviness prepare to lead military personnel on a Joint Service Wellness and Remembrance Run at Fort George G. Meade Sept. 9.
The humid morning run began before sunrise with more than 50 Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Joint Force Headquarters – Department of Defense Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN) service members, led by DISA Vice Director Air Force Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel and JFHQ-DODIN Deputy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Skinner, gathered on Fort George G. Meade’s McGlachlin Parade Field to participate in the installation’s Joint Service Wellness and Remembrance Run Sept. 9.
Along with service members and civilian employees assigned to Fort Meade, each unit mustered in formation on the parade field and conducted stretching exercises before embarking on a 3.5 mile run throughout the installation.
Following the run, which was intended to commemorate the lives lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and raise awareness for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Garrison Commander Army Col. Tom Rickard led attendees in a moment of silence to honor the victims and first responders, as well as service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the resulting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“What we know now after fighting 15 years of [wars in Iraq and Afghanistan] is that Islam isn’t the enemy – terrorism is the enemy,” said Rickard. “We still have soldiers in Afghanistan…we’re not done there yet. So, I want you to just remember the loss of life that happened in 2001 and all [those who have] fallen […] since then. It’s a day of remembrance, but also a day to steel ourselves and move forward and continue the fight.”
Rickard also reminded attendees that September is Suicide Prevention Month. The Department of Defense’s theme for this year’s Suicide Prevention Month is: Be there — your action could save a life.
Rickard recommended service members follow the tenets of the Army’s Ask, Care, and Escort (ACE) suicide intervention program if they encounter someone contemplating suicide. ACE encourages service members to ASK soldiers if they are okay; demonstrate sincere CARE by actively listening to them; and, when necessary, ESCORT them to the appropriate helping agency or individual.
“Being there for my fellow comrades is more than just being present,” said Army SFC Aaron Barfield, an Information Systems Operations Analyst assigned to JFHQ-DODIN. “As a senior noncommissioned officer (NCO), I am charged to communicate with my soldiers. During constant communication with leaders, peers, and subordinates alike, NCOs monitor the well-being of everyone we come in contact with. We offer our companionship to ensure that we all have someone to talk to.”
Service members showed enthusiasm as they made their way back to the parade field following their sweltering run.
“Today's remembrance run allowed us to honor and remember the heroes and victims of 9/11,” said Barfield. “The garrison commander reminded us how we can ask, care and escort our comrades to prevent potential victims of suicide.”
Prior to dismissing the service members, Rickard expressed his pride in serving with the men and women who ensure the nation’s cyber security and defense.
“You are the future of America’s security. Don’t ever forget that. I know that [America’s adversaries won’t forget that]. Please be vigilant every day with everything that you do,” said Rickard.
Published September 9, 2016