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USAF EO trains Army EOLs

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ryan Brooks
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing
An Air Force Equal opportunity member at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, participated in U.S. Army EO leaders course at here, November 9, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Malcolm Bentley, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Equal Opportunity director, was an EO guest instructor for a day during the weeklong course.

“The purpose of the course is to ensure individuals selected to perform equal opportunity leader duties are trained to the same standard, regardless of location,” said U.S. Army Major Glenn Lloyd III, 1st TSC OCP equal opportunity advisor. “Their main role is to be the subject matter expert for military equal opportunity in their units and to advise commanders regarding MEO polices and ensure an EO climate exists within those units.”

The Department of Defense created the Equal Opportunity Program in each branch to rectify racial disparities throughout the DoD in light of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to Bentley. This program in the USAF covers issues of race, sexual harassment, and, most recently, bullying and hazing.

“The EO program ensures all service members are treated with dignity and respect and afforded an environment free of discrimination,” said Lloyd. “It also provides a way to process, track and report discrimination through the complaint process and to prevent and respond to discrimination through education and reporting procedures. It holds leaders accountable to foster a climate of inclusion that is free from discrimination and prevents retaliation against service members who file an EO complaint and to respond to incidents of harassment.”

Integrating an Air Force instructor into the Army course provided a new perspective on principles that all branches of service believe in and make a vital part of their command philosophy, according to Lloyd.

“During this year’s annual course, I taught 45 soldiers a class on perceptions and stereotypes from an Air Force standpoint, while integrating and learning Army modes of operation,” said Bentley. “The Air Force only has equal opportunity professionals, like myself, who are required to go through a 3-month training at Patrick Air Force Base to be certified. However, the Army, in addition to the MEO advisor, has EOLs within each brigade who answer to the advisor and serve as a walking trifold if someone needed information or needed to make a complaint. This course will certify them to take complaints and handle different EO issues that arise within each brigade.”

This was a unique opportunity for Airmen and Soldiers to work together in a classroom environment to share ideas.

“I feel honored to have this opportunity since we have not done a joint training in this environment before,” said Bentley. “This interaction provided the Army EOLs an opportunity to see the EO program from Air Force eyes and I was able to learn the way the Army approaches things as well. For example, Air Force EO professionals cover matters of sexual harassment, discrimination, and also bullying and hazing. But when it comes to the Army, they only cover discrimination and their SHARP, the Army equivalent of a sexual assault coordinator, is the sole helping agent for sexual harassment. While there are some differences, our regulations don't change and we go by the same U.S. codes and statutes.”

Joint training broadens a service members outlook and rounds out their experience in a particular field of learning. It is an environment to share best practices and challenge the status quo.

“While my time in the middle east theater of operations is coming to an end soon, we hope that this precedent will be followed for future EOLCs that we conduct in Kuwait,” said Lloyd. “The biggest significance in having an AF instructor is that it incorporates a joint training environment, which is key across all echelons of military operations. The hope is that we can also begin offering course slots for Airmen to attend as students, allowing them to return to their units with a greater appreciation of MEO.”