CSM Burgoyne meets with new arrivals
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major, explains the three main points of emphasis for Operation Phantom Action to newly-arrived troops at the III Corps Replacement Detachment at Fort Hood, Texas, Sept. 29. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kelvin Ringold, 13th ESC Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
13th ESC Command Team Meeting
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Garner and Brig. Gen. Ronald Ragin, the command team for the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, conduct a leader professional development class during the first day of Phantom Action Week at Fort Hood, Texas, Sept. 28. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kelvin Ringold, 13th ESC Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
CSM Burgoyne with 89th MPs
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the 89th Military Police Brigade take notes as Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major, discusses the aim of Operation Phantom Action at Fort Hood, Texas, Sept. 29. (Photo Credit: Jacob Caldwell, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas -- Operation Phantom Action kicked off here, Sept. 28, with the main goal being to restore trust between Soldiers and their leaders.

Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major, emphasized why this operation is so important to Fort Hood and the Army.

“Because we are really close to losing public trust, and our Army depends on the public being able to trust us,” Burgoyne said. “And our Soldiers have to be able to trust us, and so everything is based on trust. You can’t build a cohesive team if you don’t have trust. And we’ve got to be able to be trusted by the American public. If you look back at Vietnam, when those folks came home, the public didn’t trust them, and they were treated like they didn’t matter. And what they did didn’t matter. I am not going to hand over an Army to my children, your children, to a public that doesn’t trust us.”

The operation itself will be a yearlong effort to eradicate three identified corrosives from the ranks of Fort Hood Soldiers. Those are sexual assault and harassment, extremism and racism, and suicide. Failures identified by post leadership are that leaders do not properly know their Soldiers, do not always take appropriate action when needed, and do not hold others accountable. Phantom Action looks to take bold and decisive action with an approach that places people first.

It’s not a simple problem, and that’s why the operation is spread out through three phases over the course of a year. And within that year, units across Fort Hood will be training and becoming certified in that training down to the squad and team levels.

But the focus this week is Phantom Action Week. III Corps units and the separate brigades are setting aside time to make sure the initial push of the operation happens with a sense of urgency.

Burgoyne visited some of the training Tuesday in person, reemphasizing the main points of the operation.

“It’s about getting to know our Soldiers,” Burgoyne said. “Getting to know where they grew up. Getting to know where they’re from. How they grew up. If they played any sports. Did they grow up with a mom and dad? Just really getting to know how they grew up, and how they think.”

As part of the operation, this will happen through in-depth counseling sessions at the platoon, squad and team levels.

“The second one is leaders taking action,” Burgoyne continued. “That means that when leaders see something wrong, they take action. It doesn’t mean a leader comes back and says, ‘Well, I’m looking at my processes, or SOPs or procedures.’ They take action to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

“And the third is holding leaders accountable for results, meaning that our NCOs have to police each other up,” Burgoyne said. “Our officers and NCOs have to police each other up. And the Soldiers of III Corps have to police each other up. Because that’s what we are all about in the Army, is that we are a self-policing organization, and that’s one of the things that makes us so great.”

Burgoyne visited a group of Soldiers from the 89th Military Police Brigade right after they had completed some training Tuesday and discussed what they all thought about the Phantom Action.

“I believe that this Phantom Action Week, I believe that it is much needed after years and years,” Spc. Jaylin Arguelles, a Soldier assigned to the 89th Military Police Brigade, said.

Arguelles admitted that he had personal experiences with bad leaders, so goals of Phantom Action Week are definitely a step in the right direction. He said he was surprised to find out how many of his direct peers had shared similar experiences.

“I think that this week is very much needed,” Arguelles said. “And if it is carried out as they intend it to, I think it can be very beneficial to the whole post.”

Spc. Daniel Yates, III, also assigned to the 89th MP Bde., agreed that the new actions are needed.

“I think it’s things that are long overdue to be talked about,” Yates said. “They should have been talked about a long time ago. Whenever you have some Soldiers that don’t know the significant difference in the things that they can do and things that are out there for them to be able to reach out to. Some Soldiers don’t know about AER. Some Soldiers don’t know the difference between restricted and unrestricted reporting (for sexual assault).”

“So, there definitely needs to be a reevaluation of a lot of things,” Yates continued.

It’s not just the III Corps and separate brigades participating. The 1st Cavalry Division is too, but under a different named operation called Operation Pegasus Strength, Burgoyne said. Pegasus Strength, in the weeks to come, works around some of the mandatory brigade training that is required for upcoming deployments or overseas rotations.

“Operation Phantom Action and Pegasus Strength are the same,” Burgoyne explained. “It’s one and the same … They have a commanding general that already has a training plan in place, and that’s the only reason why it’s called something different.”

Burgoyne’s last of three stops was at the III Corps Replacement Detachment, where Soldiers newly assigned to Fort Hood in-process. He made sure the new troops got the word on their first few days on post.

“You have to take action. We’re giving you the power to take action. Know your Soldiers. Leaders take action,” Burgoyne said to group of young NCOs. “Hold leaders accountable for results. And we’re not doing that, shame on us … We’ve been now 20 years at war. We’ve got to take this on our backs. We as NCOs. And you have to be the people that take action. You’re the NCOs. We have a professional Army because of our NCOs. Period. Take action!”