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Herschel Walker checks out the view from the back of a CV-22 Osprey with Master Sgt. Joseph Levine, a flight engineer the 413th Flight Test Squadron, March 22. Walker visited the base to speak about resiliency and the importance of asking for help. He spoke twice to large crowds of Team Eglin members about his life, career and the emotional and mental struggles he encountered throughout. As well as flying, he also visited the explosive ordnance disposal flight and performed some physical training with Eglin Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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Herschel Walker visits, inspires Team Eglin

Posted 3/26/2012   Updated 1/8/2013 Email story   Print story


by Samuel King Jr.
Team Eglin Public Affairs

3/26/2012 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Military members, civilians and their families were greeted with an inspirational message from professional football star Herschel Walker here March 22.

The former Dallas Cowboys running back and mixed martial arts fighter spoke to two packed hangars of Team Eglin members about his life, career and the emotional and mental struggles he encountered throughout.

Walker spoke openly about his dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as "multiple personality disorder and how it affected him beginning in his early childhood and through the rest of his life. He said it wasn't until he admitted he had a problem, got diagnosed and treated that he truly felt a sense of comfort and freedom.

"There is no shame in asking for help," said Walker, who said he has no memory of receiving the Heisman Trophy in 1982 while at Georgia due to the disorder.

The purpose of Walker's visit was to try a different approach to suicide awareness and address the stigma of seeking help before it's too late, according to Col. Colin Miller, 46th Test Wing commander who's wing was responsible for bringing Walker to speak to Team Eglin. The Air Force reported more than 20 suicides so far in 2012.

Since his treatment, Walker takes his story of recovery all over the country. He admitted he is happier now than he was during any other point in his life. It showed through each time he met a new face during his tour of the base.

He began the morning with some pushups and sit ups with Airmen physical training leaders at the fitness assessment center. He outpaced the group, even after admitting he'd already done 1,500 pushups earlier in the morning. He showed the Airmen the exercises he performs daily as part of his "no-weight workout."

Then he got a birds-eye view of Eglin, Duke Field and the Northwest Florida coastline via a flight in a CV-22 Osprey from the 413th Flight Test Squadron.

After speaking with media and a standing room only crowd, Walker stayed on his feet to sign autographs for an hour and a half. He greeted each new admirer with a handshake and a smile.

Before his final speech and autograph session, he met with the 96th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal Airmen and their families.

Walker said his motivation and positive presence was "just a love for life and living each day to the fullest." Walker said he only sleeps three to five hours a day and only eats one meal a day, typically late at night.

"I'm always striving to make myself better, no matter what it is," he said. "I just love to learn new stuff."

Walker learned many new things from Team Eglin during his day at the base, and with any luck Team Eglin learned something new from him as well.

"The impressive part of Herschel's story is that we all have struggles no matter how successful we are and part of being successful is reaching out for help when you need it," said Miller.

For more photos of Herschel Walker's visit to Eglin, visit the Team Eglin facebook page.

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