Thoughts while working out in the gym
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard,
1st AD and Fort Bliss Commanding General:
Iron Soldier and El Pasoan hero returns
Yesterday, I attended the ramp ceremony for SSG Roberto Loeza (3-41 IN). It was a dignified; but sad ceremony. SSG Loeza, an El Paso native, will be buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery Friday at 11:00 a.m. Our thoughts and prayers go out to SSG Loeza’s wife Teresa, two children, and the entire Loeza family.
1st Brigade Fallen Soldier
Last week we lost a valuable, honorable, and most professional Iron Soldier, MAJ Robert J. “RJ” Smith. He died from an apparent heart attack early Friday morning. MAJ Smith arrived at 1/1 AD earlier this year and he served as the brigade engineer. I was able to get to know RJ Smith during our recent Iron Focus training exercise. He was a great Soldier who did multiple deployments. We send our deepest sympathy, thoughts, and prayers to his wife Pam, and their four children.
Unit Highlight – 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
This week I want to highlight the 11th ADA BDE, known as the “Imperial Brigade.” Commanded by COL Reggie Davis and CSM Byron Ferguson, the 11th ADA is the largest Air Defense Artillery brigade in the U.S. Army and has been stationed at Fort Bliss since 1971. Subordinate to the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, the brigade has had units constantly deployed throughout Southwest Asia since 2006. The brigade’s primary mission is to deploy combat-ready units globally to defend critical assets (air bases, ports, troop concentrations) from air and missile attack.
The 11th ADA consists of four Air Defense Artillery Battalions (1-43 ADA, 2-43 ADA, 3-43 ADA and 5-52 ADA) and two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries. The THAAD missile systems are the newest in the U.S. arsenal and the 11th ADA is the only unit in the world that has this strategic capability.
The 11th ADA has a proud combat history with successful intercepts of Iraqi missiles during both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade headquarters and one battalion (5-52 ADA) are currently deployed in Southwest Asia.
With continuous deployments, innovative training and a proud record of community service, the brigade is constantly on the move. We are all so proud of the 11th ADA Brigade!
Sexual Assaults and Sexual Harassment
I am very concerned about the rising number of sexual assault cases in our military. At Fort Bliss we have zero tolerance for sexual assault or sexual harassment. However, if you should become a victim, I want you to know that you have options.
Know the difference between restricted and unrestricted reporting for sexual assaults.
Restricted reporting allows a victim of a sexual assault to disclose the details of the assault on a confidential basis to specifically identified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling without triggering an official investigation. Unrestricted reporting allows a victim of a sexual assault to receive medical treatment, counseling, and triggers an official investigation into the sexual assault.
There is no place in our Army or Team Bliss for sexual assaults. We simply will not tolerate it! Prevention is key–always have a battle buddy with you and ensure sponsors reach out to inbound Soldiers prior to their arrival at Fort Bliss. Be aware of your surroundings and realize that alcohol plays a role in a large percentage of sexual assault cases, especially for those Soldiers between 18-24 years old.
If you are a victim of sexual assault please call 915-490-3896. If you are being sexually harassed please call 915-744-5074. Help us to stop sexual assaults and sexual harassment.
Concert – Gym Class Heroes
We are all pretty excited about Gym Class Heroes coming to Freedom Crossing tomorrow night! They will perform Friday night as part of the Let Freedom Sing concert series. The much anticipated hip-hop/rock concert will be held on the lawn next to the Grand Theater at 7 p.m. You may even see me dancing out there too. We appreciate the great efforts of Freedom Crossing for providing such great entertainment during this free concert series! AS you know, we have a concert every weekend at Freedom Crossing – the largest PX-Commissary complex in the world!
While you are at the concert, be sure to stop by the Make-A-Wish volunteer booth. They will have a special presentation on the concert stage.
Build your Resilience with Connection
Our resilience theme for the month of June is Connection. Connection is all about building and maintaining strong effective relationships as a Soldier, Family Member, or Army Civilian. Tasks that require teamwork are better accomplished with relationships that are built on trust and are open to receive and provide help to each other. As I have learned in nearly 27 years of marriage, the key to strong relationships is positive and effective communication. Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) tenets of Assertive Communication, Active Constructive Responding, and Effective Praise teach you how to communicate better and build those relationships. I encourage all of Team Bliss to look at how you can better communicate to build and maintain strong effective relationships. We must listen to each other!
It is our Fort Bliss culture to reach out for help when we need it. We firmly believe that it is “Iron Strong” to seek help when we find ourselves in emotional, mental, or relationship distress.
Similar to combat, when you request fire support or close air support, asking for help is not a sign of weakness – it is a sign of strength. We must all continue to do what we can to reduce the perceived stigma that seeking behavioral health care will negatively affect a Soldier’s career. It takes an amazing amount of courage and strength to take the first step; individuals should be encouraged and commended, not condemned. My family and I sought help and received behavioral health care a few years ago – it was very beneficial to us.
Keep looking after each other and stepping up to help your battle buddies. Leaders, continue your intrusive, yet caring, leadership style. We have had lots of successful cases of Soldiers intervening to save their buddies from suicide. We have now gone more than 60 days without a preventable Soldier death. Keep up the great work!
Well, back to the gym. I enjoyed doing a PT session with our Fort Bliss Colonels this week. Spinning can be a good workout. CSM Kelley and I are looking forward to doing PT with your unit in the near future. Overall fitness can reduce stress—keep exercising!
Be combat ready, be fit, be resilient, and be Iron Strong!
Iron Soldiers – A Bias For Action!
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