NCOs from across the Army gathered during AUSA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition to discuss "Not in my Squad," an initiative to rid the ranks of sexual assault and harassment.
The initiative "is ultimately about trust," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey at the Sergeant Major of the Army’s Professional Development Forum.
Announced by Dailey earlier this year, "Not in my Squad" is an Army-wide initiative that highlights the critical role the NCO corps plays in preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Dailey said that the majority of Army leadership is "at the base of the pyramid" and that the grassroots initiative needs to take "a bottom-up approach," meaning leaders at all levels must be held accountable at every camp, post and station across the Army.
Dailey added that squad leaders can have the greatest impact on unit climate because of their day-to-day interactions with soldiers.
NCOs attending the forum were asked to form small groups and determine what knowledge, skills, abilities and attributes are necessary for squad leaders to fill their role in "Not in my Squad."
Ideas included communication, problem-solving, goal setting, and willingness to embrace diversity.
Understanding the mission, experience, and teaching skills were also mentioned.
"Maturity and professionalism are key to all of this," one noncommissioned officer said. Another stressed the importance of personal interest, saying, "First and foremost, the individual leader has to believe in what they’re doing. If you don’t care, everything goes out the window."
Facilitating the discussion was Sgt. Maj. David Stewart, the senior enlisted adviser for the Center of the Army Profession and Ethic, who asked the audience to consider "the three Cs: character, competence and commitment."
Dailey said, "The problems we’re trying to solve here plague our Army. I’m challenging all of you to take responsibility, and I truly believe that you possess the knowledge, skills and attributes to do so."
Outstanding NCOs recognized
At the beginning of the forum, three noncommissioned officers were recogzined for outstanding leadership and service.
The 2015 recipients of the Sgt. Maj. Larry L. Strickland Educational Leadership Award were:
Senior NCO: 1st Sgt. Roger Hankins, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division
Mid-grade NCO: Sgt. 1st Class Stuart Sword, United States Military Academy, West Point
The award is given in memory of Sgt. Maj. Larry L. Strickland, the deputy chief of staff, G-1, sergeant major who was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
The Strickland award recognizes an NCO who identifies, trains and develops, coaches and mentors tomorrow’s leaders.
Also honored was Sgt. 1st Class Sadie Routzahn, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Dailey presented her with the Sgt. Maj. Dawn Kilpatrick Memorial AUSA Scholarship, given in memory of Kilpatrick, who served in several challenging public affairs assignments.
Kilpatrick was also a master parachutist with more than 650 jumps who spent two years as a member of the Golden Knights, the Army’s parachute demonstration team.