FORT HOOD, TX — Fort Hood officials have initiated Operation Pegasus Strength to address issues within ranks following several soldier deaths and national attention.
The operation was announced on September 14. Officials say it is aimed at "eradicating corrosives from our Army while simultaneously building cohesive teams."
The targeted issues include suicide, sexual assault, sexual harassment and extremism.
“What this is about is building truly cohesive teams and giving the time and resources needed to really get to know each other,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commander of the 1st Cav. Div. “We’ve been busy. We’ve been all over the world. Some are just getting back from Europe, some are just getting here, and we’re trying to form these cohesive teams each and every day. We really, really need to focus on our formations.”
Officials say a different battalion will participate each week in a round-robin style operation, while also ensuring ensuring continued leader engagement throughout the year.
The day will start with physical readiness training competitions followed by a brief given by 1st Cav. Div. leadership. Soldiers will then moves into small group training activities.
“This week is about us,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Kenny, the senior enlisted leader for the 1st Cav. Div., during his brief to the Troopers of 1-5 CAV. “Take the time to think about each other and make each other better. Take some time to reflect. Ask the questions, get to know each other a little better and find out what motivates you and your families. That’s the power of the First Team.”
Troops will be assigned to 10-person squads and engage in Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) training, inclusivity training, Value of Life training and a psychological exercise with certified behavioral health specialists.
Soldiers will be required to visit the SHARP 360 Training Center. Officials describe it as an interactive training facility used for hands-on, scenario based engagement training. Troopers will go through different potential situations they may find themselves in, such as a bar, the field, a barracks room or the gym, and will work through different scenarios.
Inclusivity training will include mentorship concerning inclusivity among their teams.
During the psychological exercise portion, soldiers will sit down with their squad and a behavioral health specialist. The groups will then have a discussion regarding stressors and how to identify and react to them.
The Value of Life small group training portion focuses on the spiritual well-being of Troopers. The purpose "concerns resiliency in order to grow and strengthen the bonds between Troopers and their Families."
Under Operation Pegasus Strength, leaders will receive a break from training cycles in order to engage with and get to know the Troopers in their formations. The end of the week will feature a team event such as a barbeque or sports day type of competition.
“I trust each and every one of you,” said Broadwater. “I hope that if your junior leader doesn’t get after a problem for you that you take that to your platoon sergeant, or your platoon leader, or the company commander and the first sergeant. I guarantee you that they will get after it because the only way that we can build a team that dominates is for us to trust each other and understand one another. That’s what it’s all about, building cohesive teams and really getting to know one another.”
Officials say Operation Pegasus Strength Two is already on the training calendar for next year.