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AZ Army National Guard unveils suicide combat plan

The Arizona Army National Guard is taking a giant step to battle suicides in the military.

Maj. Gabe Johnson with the Arizona National Guard says they’re enhancing the current suicide prevention program, which is called ACE.

“Our experts have gone down to Fort Huachuca to get some training about going through some specific scenario type situations, so you’ll end up having to go through some role playing,” Johnson explained.

ACE stands for ask, care and escort. Its purpose is to establish steps soldiers can take to prevent suicides.

The revised program is called, ACE-SI (the suffix standing for suicide intervention) and it goes beyond listening to a briefing and having some small group discussion, according to Johnson.

“Being able to put people into scenarios where they have to act out how they would approach someone who may be struggling, who may be having thoughts of suicide or thoughts of hurting themselves, going through a time of crisis,” he explained of the program.

Last month, 15 Guard members — the first to be trained in the state — attended the six-hour training. Starting in the fall, the ACE-SI graduates will begin teaching the new model to junior soldiers.