“All right, let’s go, let’s go,” Garrison Commander Col. Eric C. Spragg shouted into a microphone as service members filed into a semicircle around him. “It’s 7 o’clock; I’ve got tee time.”
Hundreds of service members, along with a few civilians, gathered Friday morning at 6:30 on McGlachlin Parade Field to participate in the Joint Installation Suicide Awareness, Prevention & September 11th Remembrance Run.
National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 9-15. The Fort Meade garrison combined the observance with 9/11 to honor both observances with its annual wellness and resilience run.
The morning workout was the first joint run led by Spragg, who assumed command last month.
The run featured service members of all branches, along with family members. During his speech, Spragg jokingly teased the other branches after thanking them for participating.
“Whose knees are tired from running so slow? Raise your hands,” he said as dozens of hands flew up with a few “hooahs.”
“If that’s the case, you cannot blame me. I had a [Guardsman], a Marine and an [Airman] leading the formation this morning. You can take your anger out on them.”
The service members laughed. Spragg then immediately turned to a more serious subject, noting the importance of acknowledging 9/11.
“Next week … take a pause to remember the sacrifices,” Spragg said. “That’s why you’re in the military. That’s why you’re a Marine, Airman, Soldier, Guardsman. … Remember the sacrifices of those … before you. Remember their families.”
Because the run also honored suicide awareness, Spragg ended by reminding everyone of the camaraderie they share.
“Whatever problem that you have, look around. … I guarantee you that there’s not a problem you’ll encounter that hasn’t been solved before,” he said. “You just have to be humble enough to ask for help.
“Remember your teamwork, take care of your battle buddies and they’ll take care of you.”