Story by: Capt. Taylor Criswell
FORT HOOD (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas – The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade (1ACB) chaplain and the behavioral health officer presented a pre-deployment spiritual readiness and behavioral health brief on Tuesday at the 1st Cavalry Division Memorial Chapel.
U.S. Army Capt. Robert Jackson, 1ACB chaplain, and U.S. Army Capt. Samuel Kim, Ph.D, brigade behavioral health officer, teamed up to arm Air Cav soldiers with the tools they need for personal readiness. The session topics included mental health, stress management, substance abuse deterrence, spiritual fitness, sleep quality, and tips for healthy relationships.
“If you put too much stress on your leg, it’s gonna break,” said Kim. “Mental stress is a similar concept. There could be external factors, but sometimes we do it to ourselves because we’re thinking about something too much. If we’re unable to handle the things we’re thinking about or emotionally reacting, that causes stress as a part of itself.”
During the session, soldiers were encouraged to interact with the presenters to foster a more open dialogue and consider their personal thoughts and experiences. Increasing awareness of resources available to them was one of the main reasons for the brief.
“We all come from different backgrounds and have our different beliefs,” said Jackson. “The brigade has people that are ready to help you deal with the stressors that you face. We provide resources to give you the strength to overcome life’s circumstances so you can accomplish the mission and do what needs to be done.”
The atmosphere at Memorial Chapel invited self-reflection and honest conversation. The location choice was no coincidence. Briefing in the chapel removed soldiers from their typical work environment and established a non-threatening tone for the event.
Jackson described chaplains as “mission enablers,” drawing a parallel with other critical mission support military occupations across the Army. “Helicopters don’t fly themselves. When you learn to overcome life’s circumstances, you can accomplish the mission, do what the Army needs you to do, and you can be better.”
Air Cav leaders are committed to suicide prevention through enhanced access to resources and information for all Soldiers and increased support to military families. Every life is valuable; there are people available when you need them.
For more information about the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, please contact Capt. Taylor Criswell, brigade public affairs officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.