Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Recruiting stand-down ordered by Army Secretary Pete Geren

Recruiting stand-down ordered
Probe of Houston suicides prompts wide-ranging action
By Michelle Tan - Staff writerPosted : Tuesday Jan 27, 2009 10:17:04 EST

Army Secretary Pete Geren has ordered a stand-down of the Army’s entire recruiting force and a review of almost every aspect of the job is underway in the wake of a wide-ranging investigation of four suicides in the Houston Recruiting Battalion.
Poor command climate, failing personal relationships and long, stressful work days were factors in the suicides, the investigation found. The investigating officer noted a “threatening” environment in the battalion and that leaders may have tried to influence statements from witnesses.
“There were some things found that are disturbing,” said Brig. Gen. Del Turner, deputy commanding general for Accessions Command and the officer who conducted the investigation.
While he declined to discuss what action might be taken, Turner has recommended disciplinary action against battalion- and brigade-level commanders. He declined to discuss what action might be taken.
The report was not made public, with officials citing extensive personal information contained in the report.
The four recruiters who killed themselves were all combat veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan. The Army did not identify them.
The Army Inspector General’s office has been asked to conduct a command-wide assessment of Recruiting Command to determine if conditions uncovered in Houston exist elsewhere.
The one-day stand-down of all 7,000 active Army and 1,400 Army Reserve recruiters will be Feb. 13.
The soldiers will receive training on leadership, a review of the expectations of Recruiting Command’s leaders, suicide prevention and resiliency training, coping skills and recruiter wellness, Turner said.
“It’s significant,” Turner said about the stand-down. “It is not routinely scheduled. It normally occurs after some sort of major event like this.”
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