NewsFaces of Fort Cavazos


Faces of Fort Cavazos: Claressa Patterson taking care of fellow soldiers, sexual assault survivors

Posted: 4:25 PM, Apr 17, 2024
Updated: 2024-04-17 20:20:17-04

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — A soldier here at Fort Cavazos is making it her mission to ensure here brothers and sisters are properly trained in preventing sexual assault and harassment while advocating for victims.

That soldier is Sergeant First Class Claressa Patterson, Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator for the 1st Cavalry Division’s Black Jack Brigade on Fort Cavazos.

Her story begins next to Fort Polk in the small town of Leesville, Louisiana.

”I wouldn’t recommend it for many people unless you like living in the country,” SFC Patterson said.

“I’m a country girl, so I enjoy being out in the open but i don’t like bugs.”

Like her father before her, she chose to be one the only one percent of Americans to serve and protect her country.

She spent four years in the Air Force before finding a home in the Army.

Now 16 years later, she is taking care of sexual assault and harassment victims in the same brigade her father retired from, Black Jack.

”Part of my job is to educate and train,” SFC Patterson said.

“Primarily, I advise my commander on programs and policies moving forward and coordinating care for our victims when they come forward.”

Many of the training takes place at the 1st Cavalry Division’s SHARP 360 facility — a scenario-based training facility that puts soldiers in settings like a barroom, gym and barracks.

Speaking with her, 25 News asked, “Why do you have so many scenarios? Why is so important to put them in different settings?”

”We want to make it as realistic as possible,” SFC Patterson said.

“We know we can’t cover every scenario, but we wanted to cover as many scenarios that we encounter, and we see through the statistics that commanders encounter.”

Those who work with Sergeant Patterson say that her passion for her work shines bright.

”She’s definitely a direct person and in your face,” Staff Sgt Michelle Solis said.

“She might stand on the desk when she does it, but she gets that point across of — this is not acceptable, and this is what we need to do.”

SFC Patterson has spent a lot of her Army career doing this important work.

25 News asked her why it's so important to her — to do this kind of work.

”It makes a difference,” SFC Patterson said.

SFC Patterson says she is getting close to retirement but hopes to continue her work as a civilian.

I would be blessed to do so,” she said.