Adder hosts equal opportunity course
January 30, 2010
Camp Adder, Iraq - For the first time in two years, a unit Equal Opportunity Leaders' course was held at Camp Adder, Iraq, graduating 19 students Jan. 8.
Capt. Jason Lunceford, Adder's equal opportunity adviser with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team and a Tigard, Ore., native, organized the class, which provides graduates with promotion points and a lifetime qualification to be an equal opportunity leader.
"These people are the eyes and ears of the command," said Lunceford. "They are helping solve problems with morale and cohesion within the unit."
Lunceford said the goal of the Army is to provide quarterly EO training to each unit, and for each unit to have two trained EO leaders to facilitate awareness and resolve complaints at the lowest level.
The class is 60 hours and focuses on big picture concepts, such as cultural values, attitudes and behavior.
Staff Sgt. Manny Rodriguez, a platoon sergeant and operations noncommissioned officer for the 412th Aviation Support Battalion and a Katterbach, Germany, native, assisted Lunceford with the course. She taught the concepts of culture and effective listening components.
"I'm doing the personnel in my battalion justice," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said she hopes to see more integration of different observances to increase Soldiers' awareness of other cultures.
Master Sgt. Shane Ruppel, the operations noncommissioned officer in charge with 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment and a Weslaco, Texas, native, also assisted Lunceford with the course.
"The current challenges are concerning Soldiers that practice the Muslim faith, open homosexuals and females in combat arms," said Ruppel.
Lunceford said the class assists with these challenges by offering leaders a better understanding of racism, sexism and religious accommodations, as well as the history of equal opportunity.
"The Army is a microcosm of the United States and diversity is one of its greatest strengths," said Lunceford.