By SUSANNE KAPPLER, Fort Jackson LeaderFebruary 18, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- More than 2,200 Soldiers in Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training gathered at the Solomon Center Monday to be entertained and educated by performers of the I. A.M. Strong Tour. The Army's I. A.M. Strong program encourages Soldiers to intervene, act and motivate others to prevent sexual harassment and assault among the ranks.
The program featured comedy, spoken word and musical performances and was headlined by singer Leigh Jones, who said she appreciates the opportunity to combine that message with entertainment.
"It's an important topic that we all really want to touch on and the fact that we can come and bring it to (the Soldiers) in a creative environment is exciting," Jones said.
Sgt. Arnita Miles, Fort Jackson president of Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, said the show provided the right mix of entertainment and information.
"It was excellent," Miles said. "The message was clearly put through all phases of the concert."
Fort Jackson was one of 23 stops of the tour. Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Culbertson said it was important to expose BCT and AIT Soldiers to the I. A.M. Strong program to educate them about sexual harassment and assault early in their careers.
"It was at the right time with the right audience," Culbertson said.
Sgt. Anthony Profit, BOSS vice president at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, said the I. A.M. Strong program provides a more peer-oriented approach to teaching Soldiers about sexual harassment and assault than traditional training.
"The I. A.M. Strong point is saying, 'We're not just a corporation, we're a band of brothers and we can actually prevent it from within and eventually stop it from happening," said Profit, whose spoken word performance illustrated examples of sexual harassment and assault in the Army.
Pfc. Santino Gitano, Company A, 187th Ordnance Battalion, said he had a good time at the show and he hopes the message got across to everyone.
"I feel that sexual harassment and everything else that leads up to the bad things that happen is horrible," Gitano said. "I hope that everyone understands what was being said out there. I know I do. I believe in those values."