USAG RP’s Army Substance Abuse Program honored

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks t the Department of Defense’s annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Recognition Ceremony in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes, Sept. 6, 2023. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)

The Department of Defense held its annual Suicide Prevention Recognition Ceremony in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon Sep. 6.

Hosted by the Defense Human Resources Activity, the ceremony recognized installation programs from U.S. Army Garrison, Rheinland-Pfalz, Kaiserslautern, Germany; Guam Army National Guard, Barrigada, Guam; Marine Aircraft Group 12, Iwakuni, Japan; Naval Special Warfare Special Operations Command, San Diego, California; and Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Hampton and Newport News, Virginia.

Winners of the 2022 Suicide Prevention Recognition Award were selected for their exceptional and innovative suicide prevention efforts during Suicide Prevention Month observed every year in September.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks addressed recipients and guests during the ceremony.

“It takes devoted teams to tackle the difficult subject of suicide prevention,” she said. “Over the years, we’ve understood that we cannot go about this work with a one-size-fits-all approach. Suicide has no single root cause or solution. That’s why the department is taking a public health approach — because this problem requires a range of prevention methods and treatment options to get after it.”

Several top officials joined Hicks at the ceremony, including Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Gilbert Cisneros; Elizabeth B. Foster, executive director of the Office of Force Resiliency; Jeffrey R. Register, director of Defense Human Resources Activity; and Liz Clark, director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office.

The ceremony acknowledged all the installations’ creative programs, outreach efforts, and commitment to suicide prevention.

“This award is so much bigger than just the Army Substance Abuse Program team,” said Kristin James, (former) chief, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz ASAP. “Our submission package highlighted all the great things our community does every day to mitigate the proximal factors of suicide. It is primarily through our mature Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council process, and the great community partnerships we nurtured and cultivated, that we get a winning edge. This includes our internal partners, such as MWR and ACS and our fantastic mission partners at 21st Theater Sustainment Command.”

During FY22, the Rheinland-Pfalz ASAP team implemented the CR2 process with various forums intended to prioritize community risks, weighted on proximal factors of suicide. The CR2 working groups then used these prioritized risks to develop mitigation strategies for use by all leaders, down to the company-level, which sustained a year-long and continuous focus on suicide awareness and prevention.

The USAG Rheinland-Pfalz ASAP team led and participated in six major suicide awareness events. The suicide awareness events employed a combination of community activities, targeted group trainings, and Soldier/Family-centric events to educate community members on the importance of creating and maintaining connections as a protective factor against suicide.

Additionally, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz ASAP facilitated several events focused on leader engagement, leveraging helping agencies, improving resiliency skills, integration into the overseas environment and building relationships.

The Defense Suicide Prevention Office recognizes programs from each military department for their efforts in furthering education and awareness of suicide prevention annually. For USAG Rheinland-Pfalz ASAP, which serves a Soldier population of 7,000+ and an overseas U.S. community of 50,000, it takes a lot of concentrated and synchronized efforts, out-of-the-box thinking and teamwork.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks thanked all the recipients.

“The programs you provide help cultivate safe and welcoming environments where individuals feel open enough to come forward,” she said. “The resources you provide promote opportunities to reach back into our communities and show them where and how to seek the help they need, when they need it.”

The Department of Defense award commended USAG Rheinland-Pfalz for its extensive and imaginative 2021-2022 suicide prevention program efforts and for its unwavering commitment to excellence in suicide prevention, and to one another.

“This accolade is a testament to the dedication and compassionate commitment of the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz ASAP team to educate and safeguard our community,” said Col. Reid Furman, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz commander.

“This award underscores the entire garrison Rheinland-Pfalz team efforts to create a safe and supportive environment for everyone, especially individuals facing challenges,” he said. “Through a combination of proactive initiatives, community engagement and a holistic approach to community-wide awareness, our ASAP team has set an exemplary standard for suicide prevention programs and continues to inspire others in the critical mission of saving lives.”

In alignment with the Army’s commitment to building cohesive teams and providing Soldiers and families with resources needed to strengthen resilience and improve personal readiness, the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz ASAP team formed a Coalition Empowered Community Team that organized a series of events aimed at raising awareness and dialogue around suicide prevention throughout the month of September. See the calendar of events here:

For additional information about these events or other resources related to mental health and suicide prevention, please contact the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Army Substance Abuse Program at DSN 541-1524.

Remember, “You are a light in someone’s life” — if you or someone you care about needs help, here are some additional resources. While stationed in the 48 contiguous states, service members, veterans and family members in crisis can seek help through the veterans/military crisis line by:

Calling 988 and accessing option 1.

Texting to 838255.

Chatting at

Those stationed outside of the U.S. can access the crisis line by:

Calling 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118 in Europe.

Calling 080-855-5118 or DSN 118 in Japan and Korea.

Dialing 1-800 273-8255 or DSN 111 in Afghanistan.

To access noncrisis support, service members and their immediate family members can connect with Military OneSource for free access to confidential counseling.

Mental health and counseling services are also available through Tricare.

DOD civilian employees can access resources, information, and confidential help by calling 1-866-580-9046.

To view a recording of the Suicide Prevention Recognition Ceremony, visit

Read more about the Suicide Pre-vention Recognition Ceremony here: