Air Force

September 27, 2012

Herschel Walker talks to Airmen about resiliency

Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Herschel Walker, the former professional football player and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, came to D-M to talk to Airmen about resiliency at the base theater Sept. 21.

Walker talked about his history of being bullied as a child in school, his time in the NFL with multiple teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, and his battle with mental illness. He encouraged Airmen to seek help if they’re dealing with a mental illness.

Walker knew he had a problem after an incident he had with a man while trying to purchase a car from him.

“This man was going to deliver a car to me on a Monday,” Walker said. “I had to leave town that day, but stayed to buy the vehicle. The man never showed up. I called him and he assured me that he would be there on Thursday, but he never showed up then either. This went on for three weeks. I finally got so mad and fed up with him. I grabbed a gun and I was going to kill him.”

He describes to the audience that while he was driving, he was hearing voices in his head.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Walker said. “I thought I was losing my mind.”

Walker, who is a religious man himself, was able to calm down after seeing a sign on the same man’s truck that said, “Honk if you love Jesus.” It was then that Walker realized he needed to get help.

“I talked to a doctor, and he said that it sounded like I had Dissociative Identity Disorder,” Walker said. “I asked what that was and he said that I had multiple personalities.”

Since then, Walker has used his past and his struggles with DID to help inform Airmen and other service members about mental illnesses and seeking help.

Before departing the base theater, Walker took some time to greet those who came out and sign autographs.

After speaking at the theater, Walker was given the opportunity to try his hand at an A-10 simulator before leaving D-M.

Walker’s next stop is scheduled to be Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix.


Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit

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