Seminar focuses on equal opportunity
By Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks
| | August 07, 2007
MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
The senior leaders of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific went back to the basics of equal opportunity to further perpetuate a mission-ready command climate through an equal opportunity seminar held here Aug. 7.
The seminar is one way for the Headquarters Marine Corps Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management Team to collect thoughts, and ideas, and raise awareness of equal opportunity among senior leaders within the Marine Corps.
“I used to think, ‘do we really need an EO program in the Marine Corps?’ There were aspects of it that I used to question,” said Col. Stephen C. Baker, chief of staff, MARFORPAC. “I think about it a lot and I realize it’s an issue of perception. It’s one thing for me as an officer to say we don’t have a problem and it’s another when you examine the perception of the younger individuals coming into the Corps.”
The purpose of the seminar is to bring awareness to the commands on the issues of sexual harassment, socialization, values, diversity and sexual assault.
Equal opportunity focuses on Marines as people and the ability to treat their mental and physical needs, which include bringing their emotions, values and goals into perspective.
“What do you value?” asked Master Gunnery Sgt. Russell Whitney, senior equal opportunity advisor of the Marine Corps. “That’s what we ask our Marines and it is the intangibles like honor, courage and commitment that people value and that’s what we sell to our prospective recruits.”
Treating Marines with human dignity and respect, as well as upholding the law and Marine Corps values, were of prime importance to the senior leaders as they participated in the interactive seminar.
“It all ties back into command readiness, that is what stands out to me,” Baker said, referring to the Commandant’s EO policy. “What concerns me is if the Marines are fully prepared to fulfill their mission, and equal opportunity has a hand in that.”