Suicide Gestures of USAF Basic Trainees
WILFORD HALL USAF MEDICAL CENTER LACKLAND AFB TX
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The purpose of this paper is to share our experiences and observations of USAF basic trainees who made suicide gestures. Lackland Air Force Base is the sole location for basic training of all USAF recruits, and on June 1, 1975, an experimental Air Force Medical Evaluation Test AFMET Program Bloom 1977 was started there to facilitate early identification of unsuitable trainees. In AFMET Phase I, initial screening was by a computer scored test. On the second day of training, all recruits take a 50 item, true-false Historical Orientation Inventory with four additional demographic items. On the basis of twenty-eight 28 items previously correlated with failures to complete enlistments, the 6 12 most vulnerable are identified for further evaluations. At Phase II Interviews and Tests appraisals are noted on Standard Reports of Interview SRI Bloom 1981 and Bloom Sentence Surveys BSCS are taken Bloom 1979, 1980a. About two of each 6 12 per hundred are referred to AFMET Phase III Clinical Assessment, the others are cleared for return to duty. Usually between the 8th to 12th day of training, officer clinicians conduct diagnostic interviews and use a variety of individually selected psychological tests. About 16 of Phase II selectees have been recommended for administrative separations. During the eight years of the AFMET Program, there has not been any death by suicide of a basic trainee. The statistical expectancy was 20 suicides or two and a half each year.