Sgt. 1st Class Johnnie Mitchell, the equal opportunity advisor for the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), speaks to students in the first equal opportunity leaders course offered at Contingency Operating Location Q-West Dec. 17. The six-day class graduated 16 noncommissioned officers as equal opportunity leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq -Soldiers from across Contingency Operating Location Q-West graduated from an equal opportunity leaders course during a ceremony at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation tent here Dec. 17.

The six-day course was designed to prepare noncommissioned officers to serve as equal opportunity leaders for their units, and was the first one offered to units on COL Q-West, said Sgt. 1st Class Johnnie Mitchell, the equal opportunity advisor for the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

After graduation, the EO leaders' responsibilities include assisting commanders at the battalion level and below with their EO programs, which is an important task, said Mitchell, a Sylvania, Ga., native.

"EO is important because it makes sure all Soldiers are treated with dignity and respect," Mitchell said.

The graduation's guest speaker was Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel Bartee Sr., the senior noncommissioned officer for the 15th Sustainment Brigade.

Bartee told the students to think about what they learned in the course, and what it means to them.

"What are you going to take back to your unit'" Bartee asked.

He explained that the leaders are looked up to by other Soldiers in their units, and need to set the example of what right looks like.

"You are ambassadors to your units on what is right," Bartee said. "We have to make sure, on a daily basis, we are doing what is right."

During his remarks, Bartee also emphasized the importance of being fair and honest with every Soldier, regardless of their background.

He closed by challenging the students to take what they have learned back to their units and fix anything they see that's wrong.

The class is scheduled to be held monthly at COL Q-West and is open to Soldiers in the rank of sergeant (promotable) and above, said Mitchell.

Page last updated Tue December 22nd, 2009 at 21:27