All service members have a personal responsibility to intervene and stop any occurrences of sexual harassment, hazing or bullying.
This behavior undermines our values, tarnishes our legacy and erodes the trust that bonds us.
We trust each other. We are highly trained, disciplined and fit and ready for our next Rendezvous with Destiny. The foundation of that is trust, and trust depends on us treating all Soldiers with dignity and respect. That applies both to fellow Soldiers and leaders.
We are professionals. When our professionalism is jeopardized, so is our mission readiness.
I want to be clear that this behavior will not be tolerated within the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and I have directed that every incident be reported and fully investigated.
Command Sgt. Maj. Smith and I are committed to preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment within the Division. We have devoted resources to: improve Soldier and unit training on prevention, improve assistance to victims, reduce the stigma of reporting, hire more counselors and victim advocates, and strengthen our ability to closely track and thoroughly investigate each case with trained and experienced professionals from the medical, social, and law enforcement fields.
Some may say that hazing is a rite of passage in the military. I am here to tell you that hazing is prohibited and in fundamental opposition to the values of our Division. As professional Soldiers we treat each other with the dignity and respect that is deserved, and we are committed to ensuring leaders do not turn a blind eye to this type of behavior. Hazing is simply not compatible with Army Values.
Bullying is another behavior that erodes the trust and discipline of a unit, and can even extend to our Families and our communities. Both bullying and hazing can result in psychological stress, depression and in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder.
We recognize that bullies, or victims of bullies, are often attracted to military service. And we also recognize that it can happen at all ages and ranks. Fortunately, we can do something about it and we can take the steps to change that culture.
Soldiers at all levels must be committed to preserving our legacy and preventing these offenses. Leaders at all levels must enforce Army policies that do not tolerate sexual assault, sexual harassment, hazing, or bullying.
By treating each other and our Families and communities with the dignity and respect that they deserve, we not only display our own professionalism, but we also reflect positively the legacy that we have been entrusted with by the veterans of this great Division.