LTG Ferriter talks hard issues with Baumholder Soldiers
July 1, 2013
Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, Installation Management Command commander, came to Baumholder June 27 and listened to Soldier feedback on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Army, suicide, housing issues, sponsorship and more.
Ferriter wasted no time in addressing the Army's most critical issue when he met with IMCOM and tenant unit Soldiers from Baumholder. "The most important issue we're fighting right now in the Army is sexual harassment and assault," Ferriter told the Soldiers. He then related this with the Army's need to be more accountable for its Soldiers.
As good as the Army is at keeping track of equipment and weapons, it falls short sometimes when it comes to tracking Soldiers, especially when they're on the move. "Sometime we don't even know where our Soldiers are. Sometimes we have young men and women come out of basic training, AIT. They're in transition and nobody's taking care of them at the receiving point, nobody sponsors them into the unit, nobody integrates them into the unit. So what happens on those first Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays?
Command Sgt. Major Earl L. Rice, IMCOM command sergeant major, who accompanied Ferriter on his visit to Baumholder told the Soldiers, "Fifty percent of sexual assault occurs in our barracks within the first 90 days. There were 2,000 incidents in 2012. In 2,000 incidents that have happened, that's only reported as one third of what actually happened. The bad thing about this is, that for every one of these incidents, there were three to five people who knew the person was committing the crime and did nothing about it.
Rice then said, "We've got to step up and start doing what's right. We know what the standard is. Enforce it, NCOs. Enforce the standard in taking care of our Soldiers,"
Their discussion also touched on the subject of suicide in the Army. Ferriter related that during his first assignment, when a Soldier got really mad they would take all their gear and pile it on their bunk, put their ID card on top of it and go AWOL. "Today's trooper kills himself. When life gets too hard, they kill themselves. And so we have to do something about that as well," said Ferriter.
Their message to the Soldiers on this subject paralleled that of sexual harassment -- get involved early on and intervene before something goes wrong and take care of the Soldiers.
A Soldier from the group then brought up the subject of leadership trust, saying that quite often leadership will sweep sensitive issues under the rug rather than deal with them. Relating leadership trust to sexual harassment and assault Rice said the Soldiers have got to feel that leadership is going to take care of them,…of the issue,… and deal with it. He said that Soldiers should know that "leadership is going to drill down and find the facts of what has taken place because our Soldiers should be able to go anywhere at any time and feel safe and secure."
Before meeting with the Soldiers, Rice dropped in at the Hilltop Theater where Sgt. Stephan Alvarado, a military policeman assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder, was inducted into the prestigious Sgt. Morales Club.
Ferriter also met with Sgt. Zurena Milanes, PFC Haley Wilson, Amy Danzeizer, Basil Forrest and Harold Weber to recognize them for their outstanding performance and community support by presenting each of them an IMCOM coin. He then toured the installation and got a look at where Soldiers from the 16th Sustainment Brigade and the other new units in Baumholder are now calling home.