DVIDS – News – From the small town to the army community – Equal opportunities advance boldly

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By 1st Lt. Alex Carr, 1st Platoon Leader, 402nd Engineer Company

As an Equal Opportunity Officer, we implement proactive EO programs to encourage the difficult conversations but necessary to create working environments where all soldiers can be successful. We have had these conversations and continue to build on the lessons learned. It is not an easy process, but it is an opportunity for progress.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done on equal opportunities. The world is far from perfect, but I think we are on the right track. It is simply a matter of continuing to fight the good fight and not backing down from the right thing in order to boldly advance towards progress. When we have these difficult conversations, we break down barriers, confront our prejudices, and remind ourselves that everyone in uniform has taken an oath to want to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I currently live in North Liberty, Iowa, but grew up in the small town of Lamoni, Iowa, which has about 2,500 residents. Lamoni is home to Graceland University, which thankfully allowed me to be exposed to a greater level of diversity, including in thought, race, religion and socio-economic aspects – all of this more than what most small rural communities offer.

I was very lucky to grow up in this city. At the same time, if I am real, I was in a predominantly “white” environment where most people looked like me. This, in itself, is not negative, but can present challenges if biases are not identified and addressed. The military continues to expose me to new people, ideas and thoughts. This is happening while pursuing a common goal of fighting and winning our nation’s wars. The military is one of the best representations of America, being the melting pot of the world; it is something that I am very proud of.

Additionally, officers have the opportunity to be exposed to EO training throughout their career as it is a commanding officer program. Officers need to understand the importance of their role in implementing these programs, whether through the EO leader course or some other opportunity. The EO program is about retention, a force multiplier, a morale booster and how we take care of our soldiers.

Because we have moved from “mission control” to “mission command”, moving from a very top-down approach to allowing soldiers to take disciplined initiatives, the relationships we have have never been more important. Without mutual trust throughout the chain of command, we limit our effectiveness in combat and allow our formations to divide.

Whenever possible, I believe that every soldier and civilian should take the equal opportunity program seriously. The training I received during the EO leadership course would benefit anyone if they had not been exposed to this type of material before.

Date taken: 20.10.2021
Date posted: 22.10.2021 14:44
Story ID: 407747
Site: NORTH LIBERTY, IA, United States

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