The Voice of the Soldier
June 25, 2011
Sergeant 1st Class Nathan Haynes, an equal opportunity advisor with 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, said he acts as the “voice of the Soldier,” speaking on their behalf regarding issues or concerns troops face involving discrimination or harassment.
“My primary job is to be the eyes and ears for the brigade commander, making him aware of any issues within the brigade whether it’s discriminatory, sexual harassment, leadership, or human resource issues,” said Haynes, a Galesburg, Ill., native. “My secondary mission is to take care of the Soldiers and keep an eye on the climate of the brigade. I interact a lot with the people here, making sure things such as work areas are clean and remain a healthy environment.”
Because there is no rule book that covers how to handle each specific situation that arises, Haynes said he must rely on training and previous experience.
“I’ve known Haynes for about three years from our time as platoon sergeants,” said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Adams, personal security detail platoon sergeant, 1st AATF, 1st Inf. Div. “A lot of the junior platoon sergeants looked to him for guidance because he was seasoned with a wealth of knowledge and knew how to get things done.”
Adams, a native of Lawrence, Kan., said he replicated a lot of Haynes’ techniques to aid in his own professional development.
“We were in charge of maintaining the health and welfare of 39 Soldiers and fostering them into leaders,” said Adams. “Haynes worked well with the Soldiers and they genuinely respected him as a strong leader.”
Haynes said he faces problems that arise from any level and hopes Soldiers know he is available for them.
One experience Haynes credits to helping him as an EOA is the three years he served as a drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga.
“As a drill sergeant, I was able to interact with people,” he said. “Being busy all the time and on a schedule, I had to be precise in how I dealt with people " in being resourceful, and in utilizing the potential of every Soldier in order to make the team stronger.”
Haynes said his experiences taught him how to deal with problems as soon as they occur, which is a primary duty of an EOA.
“I attack issues at any level, and I must be forthright and tactful in doing so,” said Haynes. “I learned to pay attention to detail really well as a drill sergeant and I’ve found that attribute to help as I’ve continued my service in the Army.”
Staff Sergeant Christopher Cruse, a PSD section leader who works with Haynes, said he admires Haynes’ knowledge in promoting the EO climate and helping Soldiers and commanders mature in that environment.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning a lot from Haynes,” said the Phoenix, Ariz., native. “Because no two people are the same, it’s important to recognize the difference and similarities we have, as individuals, and find common causes in acknowledging those differences.”
Aside from the knowledge gained from working under Haynes, Cruse said he sees Haynes as a valuable asset to his section whenever Haynes goes out on missions with them.
“EOA is a two-year tour, and when he’s done, he will go back to his duties and job before he became an EOA,” said Cruse. “It’s important for him to maintain his knowledge as an infantryman and to stay up-to-date on his warrior tasks and drills.”
Haynes said he encourages people to not only understand themselves, but also understand the people around them to help foster good order, discipline, leadership and respect.
“I hope Soldiers learn to take care of each other and how to handle situations as they arise with dignity and respect,” said Haynes.