Page 63 - Jackson Journal
P. 63

                 After the battalion
was notified,
the unit had to quickly cover the information gap. To accomplish this, the battalion worked to understand the circumstances surrounding
the death
and fulfill the
requirements of
the Commanding
General’s critical
report (CCIR). The battalion and company command teams travelled to the hospital
while platoon leadership gathered the trainee’s biographical information, training records, and counseling statements. The battalion staff assisted in gathering the next of kin information and insurance documents. Gathering information from multiple sources simultaneously was only possible by using reporting channels that were routinely practiced as part of daily training procedures. Within two hours, the battalion produced a detailed CCIR, storyboard, and supporting documents which facilitated further investigations and, most importantly, allowed the notification process to begin.
The Army’s notification process is a time tested method of informing the family members of loss with dignity and honor. Respecting this process is part of operational security, but comes with its own challenges. That is, the balance of time between ensuring the surviving family has been notified, releasing information to the local community, and allowing trainees to notify their concerned parents that they are safe.
Centralizing information quickly and maintaining constant communication with multiple partners must be accomplished to ensure the
right information is shared at the right time. This included the hospital staff, the casualty assistance office, the casualty assistance officer, the public
affairs office and other resources on Fort Jackson. Our ability to quickly gather information, centralize it and generate accurate reports gave commanders at all levels flexibility in releasing information while honoring the family.
It may be unclear or confusing on how to grieve for a trainee. For Alpha Company, the cadre and trainees had mixed reactions. They began to second guess their own actions while contemplating if there was anything they could or should have done differently. Perhaps they do not feel that they have permission to grieve in the way that they would grieve another friend or family member. Perhaps fellow trainees did not know the trainee that passed or acknowledge the role that the trainee played
in their life. This is where it is imperative to be proactive in the grieving process.
In order to start the grieving process, the battalion commander, accompanied by a team of chaplains and behavioral health specialists from across the brigade, addressed the affected company in order to acknowledge the loss. The chaplains followed with words of encouragement before breaking everyone into groups. Some trainees told their favorite memories of their platoon mate while others talked about how they admired his character. These groups turned into a time of healing and remembering their fellow trainee. However, the results were not immediate. The following day,
the trainees were hesitant to run along the same route where their fellow trainee collapsed. Still, moving past self-doubt and acknowledging the loss of a trainee was the first step in adjusting to their new environment. Once accomplished the unit actually excelled achieving the highest graduation percentage, solidifying their resolve.
The Price of Victory
    Jackson Journal 63

   61   62   63   64   65