Soldiers Recognized for Preventing Suicide, Sexual Assault, Looking Out
March 28, 2014
Fort Hood senior leaders gathered Friday to recognize several Soldiers in their successful display of not only the Army Values, but also their ability to recognize the warning signs and act against suicide and sexual assault.
The Soldiers were presented coins by Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder, III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major, in a ceremony held in Club Hood?'s Mesquite Room.
Sergeant 1st Class Eric James, a platoon sergeant with Company C, 57th Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, is credited for preventing a potential suicide.
?"I was just interacting with my Soldier, as I do with other Soldiers," James said. ?"I just asked her how she was and she had said ?'fine,?' but her words just didn?'t match her behavior."
Upon further discussion, James discovered the Soldier had thoughts of suicide and instantly decided to seek help for the Soldier.
?"I continued to talk to the Soldier and
listen to her," James said, ?"but I had already made up my mind to assist this Soldier in seeking help. It was non-negotiable."
Sgt. Ernesto Anacleto, a team leader with the 16th Signal Company, 11th Sig. Bde., and Staff Sgt. Daniel Willis, a chaplain?'s assistant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Sig. Bde., were also credited for preventing potential suicides.
Soldiers are regularly required to participate in classes that identify the signs and conditions of suicide so that they can prevent future tragedies. Anacleto said that training played a major role in his ability to act when the situation arose.
?"I just remembered ACE -- ask, care and escort," Anacleto said.
Once Anacleto alerted his chain of command of the situation, he personally sought assistance for his Soldier.
?"Regardless of whether I?'m wearing the uniform or not, this is what we?'re supposed to do," he said.
?"We have a passion when it comes to caring for Soldiers,"
Willis said. ?"24 hours a day, it doesn?'t stop."
Suicide doesn?'t only affect the lower-enlisted Soldier; senior leaders themselves can be susceptible to suicide, as well.
?"I try to lead by example, because there was a time I was dealing with depression," James said. ?"I said if a sergeant first class can admit he needs help, I know you can, too. I?'m not above getting help; no one is. It takes strength and humility to admit you have a problem."
While suicide prevention remains an on-going issue within the ranks, so is sexual assault. Spc. Trevor Allen, 8th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, was recognized for preventing a sexual assault.
While being a designated driver for a group of friends, Allen noticed another Soldier acting sexually aggressive toward a female civilian. Allen and a few battle buddies intervened, warning and separating the assailant from the victim.
?"As soon as I saw the grabbing," Allen said, ?"I stepped in and separated them. I got a picture of the Soldier?'s ID card and took the victim to the police in order to file a report."
Allen didn?'t act alone, however, and credits his battle buddies for helping separate the assailant from the victim.
As the Soldiers shook hands with the III Corps leaders, Ierardi shared a few words with those in attendance.
?"In spite of the great work we?'ve done to establish programs over the past few years as an Army to look after our Soldiers," Ierardi said, ?"ultimately, success in caring for Soldiers is at the lowest levels. This is a small, but very important representation of our Soldiers here at Fort Hood, who are looking out for their battle buddies and looking out for their subordinates."
Ierardi said he wants to ensure others are recognized for doing what is right and not focus on the negative things happening within the units.
?"I would just request that commanders, through your chains of command, identify other Soldiers who need to be recognized for the good that occurs within our units," he said. ?"All too often we as senior leaders focus on things that are not good, when in reality, the majority of our Soldiers are doing the right thing just as these troopers did."