***image1*** At no time in my career have I ever been more proud to be a Soldier! I am honored to work alongside Soldiers of the 21st Theater Support Command, who demonstrate the values our Army demands, especially in these tough times.
Our Soldiers are not only engaged in the Global War on Terror, but they continue to provide world-class support to Soldiers, civilians and family members here in Europe.
However, there is another fight that we can’t back away from – the fight against sexual misconduct. It is not tolerated – not in our Army! It’s a direct blow to our Army Values.
Sexual misconduct means any offense of a sexual nature committed without consent. As leaders we must thoroughly investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct and hold offenders accountable by promptly taking appropriate administrative and judicial actions. As soon as an allegation of sexual misconduct is made, the accuser must be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.
Assaults, in particular, often have a similar set of circumstances. Both victim and alleged perpetrator likely know each other, most assaults occur between 1 and 5 a.m. on Saturday, and often involve alcohol.
Soldiers should remember that a sexual assault can happen any place, any time and to anyone. Because many cases go unreported, our responsibility is to encourage victims to come forward knowing they will receive the proper care and support.
Leaders are responsible for providing a safe and healthy environment, and in fact, many good things are happening in the way of sexual misconduct prevention. We routinely conduct prevention of sexual misconduct and alcohol awareness training. Our commanders have implemented tougher barracks policies and have increased the presence of unit leadership.
We all can take steps to prevent sexual misconduct. Plan your outings, use the buddy system and watch your alcohol consumption. Simply put, be careful. Avoid placing yourself in a bad situation.
That goes both ways. You are crossing the line if you fail to recognize that “no” means “no.”
It applies to married couples as well. Everyone has the right to say “no,” and there are no excuses.
Our Soldiers downrange aren’t making any excuses and neither can we in tackling this issue. I know first-hand the resilient spirit our Soldiers bring to battle, and remain confident that, just as we will win the war on terror, Soldiers reinforced with the Army value system will win the fight against sexual misconduct.
Even with all the challenges we face today, the Army, in my opinion, is still the greatest organization to be a part of. Hooah! Hooah!