04/28/2016 | By Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Riti 108th Training Command (IET)
From the Command Sergeant Major
They were doing everything they could to prepare us for the future. They shared many of life’s greatest experiences with us to ensure we made the right decisions and helped us avoid mistakes they may have made. Then we entered the Army and the process started all over again.
We sit through many Army Values classes. We see Army Value posters everywhere and we are lectured constantly on how to conduct ourselves as professionals both on duty as well as off duty. So you would assume we would know how to always do what’s right and what’s expected of us, but there are many Soldiers today putting themselves in compromising situations. Situations that can affect their military careers as well as their life.
SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention) is the program to help combat the very serious issue of sexual harassment and assault that affects many of our Soldiers today. Making derogatory comments and unwanted gestures are violations of the Army Values that we should be living by. Respecting others is something we do very well in the Army, whether it’s Soldiers or civilians. So why would we disrespect our fellow Soldiers who might be sharing a foxhole with us one day or even a civilian who supports us and treats us with dignity and respect.
It just doesn’t make any sense. Every time a Soldier makes derogatory comments, makes unwelcomed gestures or advances towards someone, or even sexually assaults another person, they are jeopardizing their military career as well as potentially ruining their life! We need to stand up and take action against the individuals who place themselves in these unfortunate situations.
Sergeant Major of the Army Dailey said at one of our conferences, we should have the attitude of ‘Not in My Squad!” Meaning we should ensure we look out for each other as ‘Battle Buddies’ are supposed to and do whatever we can to prevent any and all types of sexual harassment.
This isn’t just a green tab responsibility, but the responsibility of every Soldier. Soldiers who usually get accused of sexual harassment always have an excuse for their behavior. As far as I’m concerned, there are no excuses. Not even the excuse “I had a little too much to drink”. And so I have a solution for that. If you decide to consume alcohol, whether with a designated driver or not, limit yourself to no more than two or three beverages. Nothing good has ever come out of being intoxicated.
Hazing and initiations are also violations of Army Values and do nothing to welcome a new Soldier into a unit except to make them think he or she has been assigned to an unprofessional and unsafe organization.
If you involve yourself in situations like this because others do it or because it was done to you, it does not make it right. A new Soldier has enough things on his or her mind then having to fear the Soldiers who are supposed to be part of the team they joined. I ask that if these ‘illegal’ activities are taking place in your unit, show Personal Courage and stand up as a leader and stop it.
The United States has enough adversaries, the Soldiers wearing the same uniform as you should not be one of them. You have too much going for you. Count your accomplishments and where you are and where you want to be and then decide if everything you have done so far is worth throwing it all away.
I honestly and sincerely love being a Soldier. I care tremendously about every Soldier who serves in this great Army (as well as any of the branches of the military) and want to do whatever I can to keep them out of harm’s way. I want to ensure I am doing everything I possibly can to protect them. I want to ensure I’ve done everything I can to help every Soldier succeed. Because every Soldier is my responsibility.
In closing, I ask that each of us, whether an officer, an NCO or a private, do everything we can to assist and support Mrs. Paula James in SHARP awareness and do our part in eliminating sexual harassment in our Army.
First in Training