By Staff Sgt. Patricia Deal, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, Public AffairsJune 12, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas -- To support President Barack Obama and Pentagon officials in their fight against sexual assault in the military, the "Rough Riders" of Division West's 402nd Field Artillery Brigade are riding roughshod on sexual harassment and sexual assault.
"Our culture needs to be such that there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment or sexual assault within our formations. Our Soldiers and civilians need to have confidence in us that we take the topic seriously, and we will respond appropriately," said Col. Carolyn Birchfield, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade commander. "We need to be 'all in' and be willing to intervene."
Brigade sexual assault response coordinator, Sgt. 1st Class Juan Rodriguez, also believes that intervening is key in helping prevent sexual assault.
"I charge everyone to intervene if they see a potential risky situation, regardless of who they are or what their rank or position may be," Rodriguez said. "By stopping issues at the lowest level, we can keep situations from escalating and becoming an actual sexual harassment or sexual assault."
While Rodriguez ensures everyone in the brigade understands the importance of preventing sexual assault, he also spreads the message to a wider audience of deploying National Guard and Reserve Soldiers being trained by the 402nd. As the brigade's subject matter expert on sexual harassment/assault response and prevention, Rodriquez ensures the SHARP coordinators for deploying units are trained and prepared to handle their responsibilities downrange.