FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo – Extremist activities are not aligned with the Army core values and “have no place in our formations,” said Col. Aaron Pitney, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital commander, during a training stand down event here March 19.
GLWACH Soldiers and civilians discussed extremism in relation to the oath service members and Department of the Army civilians take upon entering service, in line with guidance from Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of Defense, who is working to eliminate extremist ideology in the military.
Master Sgt. Carmen Ross, GLWACH chief medical noncommissioned officer, said identifying indicators of extremism is a first step.
“I’m highlighting the importance of identifying extremist behavior,” Ross said. “So many times people focus on the groups but that’s not always the case.”
Indicators of these behaviors (activity) include receiving the following from an organization who advocates the use of unlawful violence to undermine or disrupt U.S. military operations or foreign policy: financial assistance, training, and resources.
The training included vignettes of domestic extremism where Soldiers had reported the activities of others and prevented several catastrophes.
Ross said these behaviors should be reported to leadership to preemptively stop extremist actions.
“These activities are the antithesis of what it means to be in the Army and to support and defend the constitution of the United States,” Pitney added.
Pitney said if an organization contributes to one of the indicators that highlight extremist activities, it “goes against the responsibilities we’ve taken on.”
Ross said specific prohibited activities with extremist organizations include public demonstrations, fundraising, and distribution of literature to include an online presence of support.
GLWACH personnel who attended the classes were respectful of each other’s views, Ross said.
“I hope they have a refresher of what the oath means to them, to take the [indicators] more seriously, and to be the frontline defense of those who are exhibiting behaviors,” Ross said.
Spc. Riley Quiroz, a GLWACH radiology specialist, said the Oath of Enlistment can be summed up with the Army value: duty.