3rd ID talks safety during standdown
September 15, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Safety is something the Third infantry Division takes seriously. Top unit leaders want to help Soldiers and Family Members work, train and have fun safely.
To help ensure this happens, the Division held a safety standdown, which is a chance for Soldiers at all levels to see why safety is important and how to be safe.
Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion held three classes for its Soldiers to attend during their standdown, Sept. 1, at Evans Army Airfield.
During the training, instructors emphasized sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention, suicide prevention, motorcycle and vehicle safety.
Sergeant Reginald Antoine serves as a senior mechanic at DHHB motor pool and is one of the unit's many noncommissioned officers who oversees Soldiers and makes sure they understand safety.
As a leader, he feels the standdown served as a useful reminder for his Soldiers as to how they can remain healthy and stay in the fight.
"You can never overemphasize safety," he said. "A day like today, where we drop everything and focus on safety, it talks to Soldiers that might commit an unsafe act. It could prevent them from committing one."
For one of the motorcycle and POV safety courses, unforeseen circumstances prevented the class from starting on time, so Col. Christopher Hughes, deputy commanding general-support, took over the class.
He stated that the safety of Soldiers is very important and everyone in class should pay attention to all potential hazards on the road.
"There's no quicker way to die than to drink and drive and not wear a seatbelt," said Col. Hughes.
When Staff Sgt. Arthur Stuart arrived to begin instructing the class, he discussed motorcycle safety and how important it is.
He serves as the master driver for DHHB and is a motorcycle driver during his personal time.
Staff Sergeant Stuart discussed why Soldiers should be safe on motorcycles and how to stay alive while riding. He added that if a Soldier is in a motorcycle accident and they are not wearing all required PPE, more than likely, they will not have their medical bills covered by the military.
"The first accident may be your last and with motorcycle accidents that will probably be the case," he said. "So it's very important we emphasize safety for motorcycle riders so they are aware. It's not only them they need to look out for but it's also for those around them."
The DHHB classes also included classes on preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Sergeant First Class Wade Walden, the Sexual Harrasment Assault Response Program manager for Headquarters Operations Company, instructed Soldiers on SHARP and why preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault is so important to mission success.
"I'm glad they're doing the safety standdown," he said, adding that sexual assault is a problem for both male and female Soldiers. Sergeant First Class Walden also wanted to emphasize that sexual assault and sexual harassment has absolutely no place in the Army.
The unit also had a class to combat an issue that is becoming a major problem among the Army's ranks: Suicide.
To educate Soldiers on the topic, the battalion turned to Chaplain (Maj.) Tyson Wood, the division's Family Life Chaplain.
He spoke to Soldiers about how they can prevent suicide. During his class, he said one suicide is one too many and offered how he thought the Army and society in general can combat suicide.
"What I would like people to take away from this class is to make people a priority," he said. "I know a lot of the stuff we do is important, but sometimes, we should set that aside and make the person a priority. We can catch up on the work later. The person who's having a difficult time, we might not have a chance to catch up with them."
The chaplain then spoke to how the military specifically can combat the problem.
"We need to be aware we have a problem and find ways to deal with that problem," said Maj. Wood. "If a leader encounters a Soldier who is suicidal, whatever they're doing, stop, and just drop it. The mission will be there tomorrow."
Specialist Chaz Muerer, a paralegal with the division, was one of the many Soldiers who attended the classes.
He had nothing but good things to say about the event.
"The training is very important and needs to be known," he said. "Suicides are one of the top problems we have in the Army. POV safety is something that everyone should know, not just motorcycles, but all vehicles. Sexual harassment and sexual assault, it happens everywhere. I'm a paralegal--I see it on a constant basis. The safety standdown shows the Army cares and they want to stop these problems from happening."