Sustainers host EO training
April 15, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The Equal Opportunity office of the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) hosted an EO leaders training for noncommissioned officers and lieutenants from all over Iraq here March 15 - 20.
The six-day training focused on the duties and responsibilities as EOL's and taught skills needed to assist their commanders to carry out the EO program in their unit. The Army is committed to eliminating sexual harassment and discrimination against any individual or group because of race, color, gender, religion, or national origin.
Command Sgt. Maj. Willie C. Tennant, Sr., the 3d ESC senior noncommissioned officer said in the military we have a lot of diversity. He said the Army has Soldiers from all over the world with different values they grew up in.
"That's okay, we just have to get everyone to work together," Tennant said at the EOL graduation ceremony. "The good thing is once you're in the Army you now have the same values. We all have the Army values."
The EOL training was attended by 28 participants from the five sustainment brigades assigned to the 3d ESC and any units on Joint Base Balad requesting to attend.
Master Sgt. Tuynuykua Jackson, the senior equal opportunity adviser with 3d ESC, said it is important to have training in a deployed setting because the unit's mission while deployed to Iraq is not always the same as their mission in the states. She said units that are traditionally all male can suddenly have females in their unit.
"A commander may not know the differences in interacting between females because they have never worked with them before," Jackson said. "That's where the unit EOL will come in to educate about gender, diversity and cultural awareness."
Jackson, a native of Biloxi, Miss., said the training consists of four phases. The first phase is learning the administrative process of being an EOL.
"We go over the role of the EOL in their units and what is expected of them," Jackson said. "We want them to know how important EO is to their commanders."
The second phase teaches about individual and group behavior and demonstrates how everyone has different values and beliefs.
Master Sgt. Jon A. Ribacchi, an EO adviser for the 371st Sustainment Brigade and instructor during the training, said EOLs should become aware of the value of diversity; there are others out there who think differently but are still a great resource to their units.
The third phase teaches the aspects of discrimination including sexism, racism and extremism. Extremism is when a Soldier is associated with an extremist group, such as the black panthers, arian nation, or the latest trend - gangs in the military.
"The EO training provides information on these groups so the EOL is prepared if they experience a Soldier with this behavior back in their units," Jackson said.
The final phase provides information on the EO complaint process, how to take complaints, make EO action plans and set EO goals for their units.
Staff Sgt. David E. Mecum, a combat engineer from the 555th Engineer Brigade, said he has learned how important the EO process is to the unit.
"EO is important in our society because everyone deserves the chance to show they can be a great leader," Mecum said.
Ribacchi said if Soldiers follow the EO program they are following the Army values. He said a good EO program makes the unit a stronger more ready unit.
"EO is about readiness and communication," Ribacchi said. "It's about accomplishing the mission."
PHOTOS AND STORY BY SGT CRYSTAL G. REIDY
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