News: Spartans reaffirm pledge, 'I will drive safely'
Story by Sgt. Richard Wrigley
FORT STEWART, Ga. - From the highest ranking to the lowest ranking - from Afghanistan to the U.S. - Spartans proclaim, “I will drive safely.”
Through the course of this last week, the soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team “Spartans,” 3rd Infantry Division, have collectively reaffirmed their commitment to drive safely by once again taking the Marne Pride Pledge.
Soldiers who take the pledge promise to drive safely, to not drive impaired, to not ride with an unsafe driver and to contact their chain of command if they need help getting home before putting themselves in any of the above situations. Additionally, commanders and leaders also promise to be there for their soldiers when needed and to set the example.
This initiative started at the very top with Col. Douglas Cardinale, “Spartan 6,” and Command Sgt. Maj. Jefferson Moser, “Spartan 7,” commander and senior enlisted leader, respectively, of the Spartan Brigade.
The twist was that both of these senior leaders are currently deployed to Afghanistan.
With the intent of starting the signing of the pledge at the top of the chain of command, and then having each subordinate leader pledge, and so on, both Cardinale and Moser were the first to sign the pledge in Afghanistan.
From there it was digitally sent to the home detachment, and a video teleconference was conducted between the Spartan Command team and the rest of their subordinate battalion’s senior leaders Feb. 28.
During the VTC, the command team expressed face-to-face with everyone present what the pledge meant to them and what their intent was.
“It was a great opportunity for Spartan 6 and Spartan 7 to personally interact with their command teams here at Fort Stewart and to provide their command emphasis to the program,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Cunningham, a native of Kemper, Ill., commander home detachment, 2nd BCT.
Cunningham further explained how Cardinale had made discipline an integral part of the Spartan Brigade, and how that tied in with the Marne Pledge.
“Discipline is a hallmark of the Spartan brigade - not drinking and driving - that’s adhering to our standard, that’s maintaining our Spartan discipline,” Cunningham said.
Throughout the week the signing of the Marne pledge has trickled down the chain of command, starting with the brigade command team, and making its way all the way down to each soldier in each company.
Capt. Jamal Khan, a native of Rochester, Mich., commander, Company D “Dragons,” 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment “Battle Boars,” 2nd BCT, believes that while the pledge means reaffirmation of discipline, it’s foundation is one of unit pride and responsibility.
“It’s all about having pride and looking out for your buddy to your left and right,” explained Khan.
“(The soldiers of Company D) have a lot of pride. They're proud to be a Dragon. They're proud to be a Battle Boar,” Khan said. “They don’t want to let their buddy down.”
The reason that the Spartan Brigade reaffirmed their pledge now is three fold, explained Cunningham.
The first reason is that it has been a year since they had made the pledge.
Secondly, after recent battalion change of commands, it was deemed a good idea to re-establish the focus on safety and leadership that the pledge entails.
Thirdly, it was deemed a good time to reaffirm the commitment to the standard because of the forthcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in Savannah, Ga.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah is a massive annual event, and is said to be the second largest of its kind in the country, said Sgt. 1st Class David Looye, a native of Gainesville, Texas, and the military police operations sergeant for the 2nd BCT.
“St. Patrick’s Day is a great time of year, but it is a time of increased risk based on the fact that there is a lot of drinking that goes on,” Cunningham said.
“When you gather that many people together … public safety is a major concern,” concurred Looye.
“I think retaking the pledge now will reinforce the chain of command’s involvement, and refresh and remind the soldiers to do the right thing,” Looye said.
“It renews our commitment and the command focus to keep our soldiers safe,” Cunningham confirmed.