JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - “Combating sexual assault and harassment within the ranks is our number one priority,” said Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army.
“The reason it’s a stand-up day is because the Army feels like, rather than it being a stand-down day, it’s going to be a campaign to stand up against sexual assault and sexual harassment. It’s meant to empower the victims against sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Carlitos C. Grant, 16th CAB sexual assault response coordinator.
A 7th Infantry Division command directive emphasized the importance of the Army as a Profession Campaign, which breaks down each quarter of this year into categories with specific topics. June falls into the quarter of military customs, courtesies and traditions.
“The best way to eliminate sexual assault and harassment in the 16th CAB to enforce discipline and standards at all levels,” Grant said. “Soldiers coming into the military and seeing leaders doing the right thing will follow suit."
The day’s training was designed to address leaders and Soldiers at the lowest level, however, Col. Rob P. Dickerson, 16th CAB commander, led the charge to set the standard by gathering all of his company commanders for senior leader training.
During the senior training, Dickerson expressed the urgency for commanders and leaders at all levels to aggressively tackle any issues of sexual assault or sexual harassment within their ranks.
“You’re gathered here today because across the Army, what brigade commanders, division commanders and corps commanders are standing up and saying is that this is a leader’s problem to solve,” Dickerson said. “We can solve it. It just takes leader involvement.”
Dickerson passed on discussion points, statistics and training tools to help empower commanders as they addressed their formations.
Phase two of 16th CAB’s SHARP stand-up day had battalion commanders addressing their units in mass formations to motivate Soldiers and leaders on a larger scale.
“We’re a subset of society. As an Army, we’re held to a much higher standard … so Congress is looking to us to maintain that high standard,” said Lt. Col. Mark A. Sisco, 46th Aviation Support Battalion commander.
“There’s an issue (with sexual harassment and sexual assault) everywhere to some degree, but one of the most important things is that we have to control our own culture. We have to change our culture within the Army, and I need each and every one of you to help to do that.”
The final part of the unit’s training gave company command teams a chance to address their junior noncommissioned officers and junior Soldiers within their ranks.
“Responsibility starts at the highest levels of the Department of the Army, goes all the way down to me and the commander, who are responsible for this company, and boils all the way down to every NCO, every section leader and the most junior person,” said 1st Sgt. Gregory L. Mayo, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th CAB first sergeant.
A visual aid company commanders used to help Soldiers and leaders address the issue was “Violence & Science” by Dr. Jackson Kattz.
To learn more about the Army’s fight against sexual assault and sexual harassment, go to www.preventsexualassault.army.mil.