SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - "Since I started taking the Equal Opportunity Leader's Course, I'm more aware of things that are said around me, and I'm paying more attention to people's behaviors around me," said Sgt. 1st Class Anthonio Dove, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Dove and 46 other servicemembers from different commands on the island are eager to put their skills to use after graduating from the Equal Opportunity Leader's Course May 20 at the Post Conference Room, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

The 25th Inf. Div. Equal Opportunity Office took the lead in preparing and teaching the course from May 10-20 to train equal opportunity leaders.

"Our goal is to have equal opportunity leaders at the company level and assist the company commanders with their program by identifying problems within the company," said Sgt. 1st Class Nathaniel Chromczak, equal opportunity advisor, 516th Signal Brigade.

"I know there are a lot of issues in my company, and a lot of Soldiers feel they are not being heard. I wanted to take this course because I want to help those Soldiers by pointing them in the right direction and giving them the right information they need to resolve their issues," said Staff Sgt. Barbara Warren, Medical Company C, Tripler Army Medical Center.

The course is designed to teach noncommissioned officers and officers about human relations, such as sexism, gender bias, racism and prevention of sexual assault; command climate, such as command climate surveys; and demographics.

"Throughout the course they learn the policy and regulation of equal opportunity, how to become an equal opportunity practitioner by applying the policies and regulations they learned and how to identify issues. By the time they leave here they learn a lot about the job and about themselves," said Chromczak.

A big part of the equal opportunity program is educating servicemembers about sexual harassment or assault.

Everyone in the Army knows that they should treat each other with dignity and respect. However, sometimes some Soldiers exhibit sexist behavior or discriminatory practices, and they need to be made aware of that, said Chromczak.

"During the course, I learned the history and origin of the different cultures we have in the United States," said Dove. "I learned when things actually came in to place as far as women in the military and when different directives came in to play," he continued.

Because the Army is so diverse, equal opportunity leaders are in place to make sure that all things are equal, and that everyone is treated fairly.

"The Equal Opportunity Leader's Course teaches you tolerance for individuals, how to approach individuals depending on what the situation is, humility, and to be open-minded," said Warren.

If there are equal opportunity leaders in every company, every platoon and every section, they can help because we have that many people who are educated about the equal opportunity program, and they in turn will educate others. If they see something going wrong, they can fix it at the lowest level before it has to come to the highest level, said Chromczak.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16