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    Spearhead Brigade Teaches Equal Opportunity Course Alongside Mississippi National Guard

    Spearhead Brigade Teaches Equal Opportunity Course Alongside Mississippi National Guard

    Photo By Sgt. Roger Houghton | Sgt. 1st Class Daryn Purcell and Ms. Countess Gaitor watch over students of Equal...... read more read more

    MS, UNITED STATES

    08.13.2021

    Story by Sgt. Roger Houghton 

    First Army Division East

    Sergeant 1st Class Daryn Purcell, the Equal Opportunity Advisor for the 177th Armored Brigade, the Spearhead Brigade, partnered with Ms. Countess Gaitor, the Equal Employment Manager at the Mississippi National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, to bring a six-day Equal Opportunity Leader Course to twenty Soldiers as part of EOLC Class 21-02, August 9-15 in Gulfport, MS.

    The partnership was borne from the need to bring immersive training to Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from nearby states who had volunteered or been selected for the role of EOL for their company or battalion.

    “This training prepares the EOLs to recognize their biases, and what prejudice, stereotyping and unfair treatment look like,” explained Gaitor. “The course gives them the tools they’ll need to be able to recognize discrimination or injustices. It also teaches them different EO processes.”

    Equal Opportunity Advisors such as Sgt. 1st Class Purcell and Ms. Gaitor are subject matter experts in their field. Their roles require them to solve issues that deal with all types of discrimination. They are able to process complaints and give EO training to other Soldiers.

    To deliver the most effective, eye-opening training experience, the EOLC 21-02 cadre set up in-person exercises for their students to witness first-hand how factors such as discrimination and inequality affect people’s behavior both in and out of uniform.

    “Because of the time that they spent in the military, they know that EO exists, but they may not know exactly what discrimination and harassment looks like or what a hostile work environment is,” said Gaitor. “We define that for them.”

    Ms. Gaitor continued, explaining that the EO program is beneficial because it helps create a cohesive environment that promotes dignity and respect for all Soldiers, encouraging diversity among all backgrounds and lifestyles so that the unit can function with everyone included.

    Sgt. 1st Class Purcell is the Equal Opportunity Advisor for the Spearhead Brigade. As a First Army unit, the Spearhead Brigade is tasked with partnering with Army National Guard and Army Reserve units in the region to ensure that they are ready to fight and win our nation’s wars.

    Sgt. 1st Class Purcell’s role as an instructor brings his years of active-duty experience to the reserve component partners of the Spearhead Brigade.

    “One of the things I do as the 177th Equal Opportunity Advisor is support our partners for future deployments,” explained Purcell. “Readiness is important to us, and having a healthy climate in the organization directly impacts it. If they need me to provide any guidance or assistance, I’m here for them.”

    Purcell added that his expectation is for the students to be able to return to their units and affect positive change.

    “We want to empower them to be courageous enough that when they see something, they’ll speak on it,” said Purcell. “It takes one person to start changing the culture, and then the people around you will start changing it, too.

    Sgt. Maj. Angela Ellis, the command sergeant major for the 210th Financial Management Support Unit, 66th Troop Command, is one of the Soldiers attending class 21-02. Her goal is to come away from the course with the ability to help her Soldiers with Equal Opportunity issues that previously may have been difficult to navigate.

    “I want to make sure that’s happening, and sustain it.,” said Ellis.

    Ellis explained that Purcell’s experience dealing with EO on active-duty benefits the reserve component Soldiers of EOLC Class 21-02.

    “As Army National Guard Soldiers, we see each other once a month, but Active-duty Soldiers see each other constantly,” said Ellis. “Having that experience and knowledge is a good resource to have.”

    Ellis continued, reflecting on the importance of the Equal Opportunity program in the Army.

    “The Army is so diverse,” said Ellis. “If we’re educated on that diversity, and if we have the right tools, then we can understand that.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.13.2021
    Date Posted: 08.19.2021 10:08
    Story ID: 403087
    Location: MS, US

    Web Views: 37
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN