The 1st Cavalry Division passionately continues to put people first as the entire division participated in People First Action Week at Fort Hood from 14-18 Dec. 2020.
People First Action Week is a focused week when leaders at all levels take the opportunity to conduct leader certification events, standards-based inspections, command-wide listening sessions and individual counseling sessions. The week also included many team building events such as spur rides and team sports.
“This is helping us connect as human beings, as people,” said Col. Neil Snyder, commander 1st Cavalry Division Artillery. “It is giving us a set of tools as leaders, as Soldiers, as friends, as Family members to try to understand what is going on in each other’s lives. To develop empathy”
This important week, which was planned and resourced as a deliberate training event, and executed just prior to the start of the holiday leave period, is helping to set the conditions for a safe holiday leave period and ensure leaders know their responsibilities and are armed with the tools to build cohesive teams.
Many Troopers and leaders across the formation are continuing to read, understand, and internalize the results from the results of the Fort Hood Independent Review Commission and are committed to doing their part to change the culture in the Army.
“The Army is people…people drive tanks, people fly helicopters, people fire howitzers,” Snyder said. “We exist for each other, we fight together, we live together, we take care of our Families together. We need to nurture each other, that’s what we’re doing this week.”
The impact and desire to work to improve the culture at all levels was felt and internalized as units focused on building cohesive teams and understanding the results of the Fort Hood Independent Review.
“It was sobering when I first read it. Reading the amount of cases and females that this was happening to so close to home,” said Spc. Jesse Dominguez, a supply specialist with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div. “It really put into perspective, at an individual level, the things we need to do to eliminate these corrosives. It starts with us."
The People First Action Week is a combination of teambuilding events and courses to provide resources for leaders and Troopers.
Spur Rides across the division allowed young troopers to certify their Cavalry spirit and Soldier skills while learning about the history of the distinguished regiments and the distinguished history of the division.
“The main thing for me, was working as a team to get through it and earn our said together,” Sergeant Samantha Palmer, a human resources sergeant in 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment. “The team working together, motivating each other through a tough challenge, ultimately paid off in bringing us closer together.”
The women’s mentorship program allowed the junior women leaders in the division to connect with and learn from more experienced women Soldiers and allowed them to learn how they were able to succeed and how they can help to improve the culture of the unit and how to feel empowered.
“It’s more about empowering the females and the more empowered we are the more comfortable we feel to speak up and will get reported,” said Specialist Arushi Arya, an Allied Trade Specialist in the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div.. “Their female soldier experience is different than a male soldier experience. So, we felt it was important to reach out to our female soldiers especially the younger ones and offer them some experience with our senior female officers.”
The division initiated Operation Pegasus Strength on September 13, and has conducted deliberate Pegasus Strength iterations for units across the division since then, and the People First Action Week is another way to work to rebuild the trust within the formation and is starting to have an impact.
“I honestly think that right now it’s kind of new, but eventually it’s going to impact trust,” said Spc. Kaleb Jones, a fire support specialist with DIVARTY. “It’s definitely well needed between Soldiers and NCOs and higher ups, now it’s showing that we’re the army, we’re all one, we’re a big Family, we’re going to look out for each other.”