[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                   October 24, 2008

Deployment training at McCoy 
includes POSH classes

By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

Soldiers training at Fort McCoy to deploy in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom now have more than just training in the field — they go through Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) classes as part of their MOB training, as well.

Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Claudia R. Simpson talks with students in an Equal Opportunity Advisers Course she was teaching at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Sgt. 1st Class Claudia R. Simpson talks with students in an Equal Opportunity Advisers Course she was teaching at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Tom Michele)

Sgt. 1st Class Claudia R. Simpson, Equal Opportunity (EO) adviser at Fort McCoy, said, "Sexual harassment and assault affects Soldier morale and productivity. Harassment not only affects the person but other Soldiers around them in the work environment."

Sexual harassment and assault problems still exist in the Army, particularly overseas and in combat theaters, the problems got worse about 2003-04, and the Army saw a high rise in harassments and assaults. It got severe enough that the Army created new programs to be taught, specifically regarding harassment, sexual assaults and the complaint procedure used when it is deemed necessary.

Mandatory EO training for all Soldiers formerly was conducted semiannually. Now it is conducted quarterly, Simpson said.

"The prevention of sexual harassment is not just a moral imperative," Simpson said, "It is a readiness issue. Military leaders must continue to re-energize their efforts to effect a ‘No Tolerance’ policy. Sexual harassment affects unit cohesion and mission effectiveness and violates acceptable standards of equality and fair play."

"Sexual harassment drains our limited resources and impacts unit morale," Simpson continued. "It detracts from a leadership climate that promotes individual growth and teamwork vital to combat readiness. For these reasons, sexual harassment cannot and will not be tolerated."

The prevention of sexual harassment has been a long-standing goal of the Army’s EO program, according to Simpson.

The Army has made a great deal of progress toward a policy of preventing sexual harassment.

During recent years, the issue of sexual harassment has received significant media attention in both government and private sectors.

This heightened awareness has intensified national debate on causes and prevention strategies.

Sexual harassment affects everyone.

"It victimizes females as well as males and can occur between same sex and third parties," Simpson said. "It also can happen at anytime and it is not limited to the workplace."

Equal Opportunity advisers (EOA) are assigned to fulltime EO duty positions at brigade or higher echelons.

EOAs are proponents for cultural change, and they act as the eyes and ears for commanders. EOAs organize and assist with training sessions that pertain to EO, unlawful discrimination, prevention of sexual harassment and consideration of others programs.

EOAs are service school instructors, and they teach all unit Equal Opportunity Leaders (EOL). Unit’s EOLs help assist EOAs at the battalion, company, and detachment level.

Simpson has been in her new position at McCoy for about a month. She came from a similar position at the 75th Division in Houston.

"Training mobilizing Soldiers is our first priority," Simpson said, "but we are, of course, also conducting training for active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers from any and all units. Classes are two hours in length to promote awareness for building and maintaining sound cohesive organizations.

"EO training for mobilizing Soldiers has been conducted since 2003, so it is not a new thing, but it is still being highly emphasized by the Army," Simpson said . "A healthy EO environment is a key factor in developing readiness. Army readiness begins with people. The Army’s advanced technology and modernization efforts would fail if leaders lost the sincere and dynamic commitment to the total well-being of the Army Family. Effective human relations and equal opportunity are both moral and operational imperatives for our Army.

(Michele is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)


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