Task Force Iron Eagles Soldiers and leaders assigned to the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division came together at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan April 1 during a ceremony to kick off Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Col. Jacob Peterson, commander of the Area Support Group- Afghanistan (ASG-A), addressed attendees at the event and stressed the importance of the event.
"Here in Bagram and across Afghanistan we are committed to eliminating sexual assault and sexual harassment," Peterson said. "The commanders and first-line leaders are jointly responsible for leading this effort. Leaders must create a command environment that encourages victims of sexual harassment and assault to report incidents without the fear of retaliation."
ASG-A Command Sgt. Maj. Garton Francis also spoke to troops and civilians about the importance of SHARP Awareness.
"The enemy is behind the T-walls, not in our formation," he said.
Several key leaders were also present at the ceremony to provide key information regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention and awareness including Behavioral Health specialists, the Brigade Chaplain and Chaplain's assistant.
Master Sgt. Leetha Gutierrez, the CAB's Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), encouraged attendance to the ceremony in an effort to help the SHARP Program achieve culture change for the better.
"As a SARC, I have a responsibility to everyone in my unit in regards to sexual harassment and sexual assault incidents. I have a responsibility to ensure overall management of sexual assault awareness, prevention, training and victim advocacy," said Gutierrez. "Additionally, I am responsible for the safety and treatment of all who seek out my services. I am happy to say serving as a SARC for six years has taught me to continue to be a servant leader."
During the presentation, Peterson and Francis presented the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation for April 2019.
An excerpt of the proclamation read, "The American people send us their sons and daughters with the expectation that we will protect, develop and employ to fight and win our nation's wars. We accomplish this through a ready, capable, and professional force rooted in standards and disciplined. I am personally committed to eliminating sexual assault and harassment from our formations. Sexual harassment and sexual assault is contrary to the military values and has no place in a disciplined military force. The American public looks to the military for leadership and we will not fail in that mission."
The two signed the proclamation during the ceremony as a sign of their dedication to eradicating sexual assault and sexual harassment. The event concluded with a ceremonial cake-cutting.