USAF commander apologizes for saying military suicides are for “chickenshits”

Col. Michael Miller, 2nd Bomb Wing commander, addresses Airmen at the 2nd Bomb Wing Quaterly Award ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base La., April 26, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

A bomb wing commander issued an apology for calling suicide a “chickenshit” action.

2nd BW commander Colonel Michael A. Miller made the gaffe during a safety stand down focused on suicide prevention, which just so happened to involve a “fun run.”

“Killing yourself is a chickenshit way to go,” he said at the event.

Since then, the colonel has been forced to make an apology.

“Let me say that my choice of words was poor,” Miller said in a statement. “I referenced the act of suicide in a manner that was insensitive and inappropriate.

However, that one sentence doesn’t capture the context or intent of the message I was trying to relay. Battling through pain to ask for help is one of the most courageous things we can do. Asking for help is hard, so we need to build that sense of family where it is acceptable to ask for help from each other.”

According to Task & Purpose, the safety stand down was initiated by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, who claimed that “Suicide is an adversary that is killing more of our airmen than any enemy on the planet.”

The 2nd Bomb Wing is stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and has suffered from a rash of suicides in recent memory.

“My heart has been heavy with all of the deaths the 2nd Bomb Wing has experienced recently,” Miller said. “As a sitting commander, I take this issue very seriously and care about every single one of our Airmen. I would do anything to help any one of them who may be suffering.”

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