Page 64 - Jackson Journal
P. 64

                  You must set aside time for active grieving. Whether in a group setting or alone, if we do not address our feelings, it may return in more painful ways. BCT has long been considered a place of hard work and discipline, hardly the place to openly shed tears. But we must all understand that the lack of grieving may cause feelings of isolation which run contrary to the ideals of what we strive to achieve
in the BCT- the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself.
The final chapter in dealing with the death of
a Trainee is providing a sense of closure for the unit and its Soldiers in the form of memorial honors. These honors will be conducted for all service members regardless of the circumstances of their death. The intent of memorial honors is to focus on the unit and its Soldiers. While grieving can continue for varying amounts of time, given the short timeframe of BCT, this is an excellent opportunity (along with graduation) to provide a marked instance in time that facilitates closure. In this case our deceased trainee came from a family of service members who understood the traditions of the memorial ceremony and elected not to attend. However, it was important to members of the battalion to honor the family and recognize them for their loss in other ways.
The battalion arranged for a chaplain and a Senior Drill Sergeant to attend the funeral at the family’s hometown. Fellow trainees redesigned their graduation platoon shirts to honor their fallen platoon mate. The company leadership maintained close ties to the Casualty Assistance Officer and the family was invited to graduation as guests of honor- they received a standing ovation by more than 5,000 attendees.
Setting aside time and providing multiple methods to facilitate closure was critical to the healing process. The memorial and graduation ceremonies aided in the shock and denial surrounding the death of our trainee, and enabled the unit to move forward with its collective mission.
As a society, we have to acknowledge that we are not culturally comfortable when dealing with death. As leaders in the Army, we need to remain proactive in managing information, setting aside time to grieve, and providing closure in order to continue our mission. The United States Army is
a branch of service intended to engage in lethal armed conflict. This service is not possible without the selfless actions of those who volunteer. Many of us instinctively know that in a time of war, sacrifice can mean the loss of life. Conversely, we all understand and expect that the same level of sacrifice should not be expected at this initial stage in BCT. However, tragic death and loss are a part of military life, whether or not we are deployed to war- this is the price of victory.
1LT Ivan Conchas is a Platoon Leader for Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Infantry Brigade. Prior to this assignment, 1LT Conchas was a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer for 2nd Transportation Company Combat (HET) at Fort Irwin, California
MAJ Paul Stelzer is the Battalion Executive Officer
for the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Infantry Brigade. Prior to this assignment, MAJ Stelzer was the division plans officer for the 1st Infantry Division and the Battalion Executive Officer for the 1st Engineer Battalion at Ft Riley, KS.
LTC (P) Randall Wenner is the Battalion Commander for the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Infantry Brigade. Prior to this assignment, LTC Wenner was the Chief, Future Operations and Plans (G35) for the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Ft Bragg, NC.
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