Sgt. 1st Class Luis Saavedra
10th Sustainment Brigade PAO
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A 10th Sustainment Brigade equal opportunity adviser taught an equal opportunity course to leaders throughout Afghanistan at a Morale, Welfare and Recreation center here March 24-29.
The six-day course focused on equal opportunity and diversity management to prepare students to perform the duties of an equal opportunity leader at both the battalion and company level.
To increase education and awareness, Sgt. 1st Class Jefferson Henry coordinated with Sgt. 1st Class Doris Twitty, Regional Command-East EOA, to make the training available to as many Soldiers as possible. The training is conducted quarterly to ensure units have a primary and alternate equal opportunity leader.
Henry said the 46 students who attended the training had an understanding of Army history, but few were familiar with the history of the different cultures that contributed to not only the Army but America as a whole.
During the course, Soldiers become familiar with several cultural observance months that they can use to increase awareness throughout their unit.
Sgt. Crystal A. New, inside-the-wire noncommissioned officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, said she wished she would have taken the class earlier in her career.
New said she feels she can now educate her Soldiers on equal opportunity topics to ensure the unit maintains a healthy equal opportunity climate.
After graduation, students of the course will possess the skills required to advise commanders on handling informal equal opportunity complaints, conduct unit-level equal opportunity training, assist the commander with climate assessment, assist in the preparation of special ethnic observances, and serve as the primary resource manager of equal opportunity matters within the unit.
Equal opportunity leaders also are trained to handle informal complaints with a focus on solving an issue at the lowest level. They also assist in routing formal complaints to the proper agency.
Although there are many ways to solve some issues, the Army has specific ways to assist Soldiers with making an informed decision.
“I know how to solve problems my way,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jack M. Decker, senior enlisted medic assigned to 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. “I’m always looking for the Army way to solve a problem.”
The Equal Opportunity program formulates, directs and sustains a comprehensive effort to maximize potential and ensures fair treatment for all persons based solely on merit, fitness and capability in support of readiness.
The Army Equal Opportunity policy states the U.S. Army will provide equal opportunity and fair treatment for military personnel and Family Members without regard to race, color, gender, religion or national origin and provide an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior.
Ultimately, commanders are responsible for sustaining a positive equal opportunity climate within their units.
“Communication at all levels helps promote the Army Equal Opportunity program by allowing people to understand and appreciate each other’s differences and the special skill sets they bring to the fight,” Henry said.