An Airman at South Carolina’s Shaw Air Force Base has been confirmed dead, according to the commander of the 20th Fighter Wing.
“Here we are again, I can’t believe it,” 20th FW commander Colonel Derek O’Malley said in a Facebook video, announcing the death of one of his Airmen. “I wake up everyday, my command team, we wake up everyday to try to make this place a better place. There’s so much we try to do, so much more we need to do. But none of that matters right now because we lost another one of our own.”
While O’Malley did not identify the Airman out of respect for the family and did not state the nature of the Airman’s death, it was heavily implied that the cause of death was suicide.
“In the days to come, let’s try to have a productive dialogue,” O’Malley said. “And let’s be kind. Truly kind. And remember once and for all that we are all on the same team.”
In short, O’Malley lamented that he could not personally reach out to all men and women under his command.
“I wish that I could know every one of your names, and know your stories and know your problems and be there for you,” O’Malley said. “And I try to do that, but I can’t. I know that’s not possible. But together we can do that for one another.”
The US Air Force recently had a branch-wide safety stand-down related to suicide awareness, and the most recent death at Shaw AFB marks the fifth fatality to hit the base.
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