Army National Guard CSM visits South Dakota Soldiers
Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa addresses South Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers at Camp Rapid in Rapid City, S.D., July 11, 2021. Sampa’s talked about his initiative to have open conversations about suicide, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the National Guard. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel Ward) VIEW ORIGINAL

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The senior enlisted advisor of the Army National Guard visited South Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers at Camp Rapid July 11.

Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa met with the Soldiers in a town hall meeting to address any concerns they might have and reinforce key areas critical to Soldier well-being through a new initiative.

Sampa is the 12th command sergeant major of the ARNG. He advises senior leaders on Army Guard policies and actions affecting enlisted Soldiers across the 54 National Guard states and territories.

"My 3-by-5 card initiative talks about the corrosives within our formation that we want to eradicate," said Sampa. "Those corrosives are suicide, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Those are things that do not belong in the formations of the Army National Guard."

The 3-by-5 card initiative involves Soldiers carrying an index card with them at all times in uniform. On the card, Soldiers write the words "suicide" and "sexual assault."

"What this does is it engages leaders and Soldiers to have a conversation about those things. To eradicate them from our formations by having a conversation one-on-one," said Sampa. "Additionally, Soldiers should write ACFT [Army Combat Fitness Test] on their cards; it's not just about the fitness test, it's about what Soldiers are doing to prepare themselves by taking care of themselves physically as well as proper dieting."

Sampa addressed changes to Army uniform standards and Soldiers' concerns about promotions, maternity care and pay issues. Sampa was accompanied by Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Couser, the South Dakota Army National Guard's command sergeant major.

"I wanted him [Sampa] to talk to us about his 3-by-5 card initiative and the three issues that face Guardsmen," said Couser. "To hear it directly from the Army National Guard command sergeant major is huge. What better way to get it through our forces here himself."

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