Fort Hood hosting summit that could improve the lives of soldiers

Posted at 5:20 PM, Oct 25, 2022

FORT HOOD, Texas — This week is human capital week on Fort Hood.

Over the next few days, they’re be holding their first ever People First Summit — and it’s happening right at the People First Center.

The biggest asset the U.S. Army has is the soldiers that choose to put on the uniform and risk their lives to protect their country.

That’s why People First Summit is more than a discussion... it’s a crucial step towards change.

”We’re here because we’re going to make the Army better,” said CSM Cliff Burgoyne, III Corps Command Sergeant Major. “We’re here to help the Army change policy, to inform our soldiers, to become a better Army. So, at the end of the day, we can fight and win tonight.”

It all starts with talking about major issues like sexual assault and suicide and it has to involve more than just the people in a green uniform.

”We’ve got a lot of experts on a lot of different things that involve the soldier itself and we’re bringing them all together. We’re going to talk about some things,” said CSM Burgoyne. “They’re going to show us some data across the country, data in the Army, data in high schools and colleges and we’re going to bring it all together.”

While some experts are leading discussions virtually, others have traveled to Fort Hood to do it in person — experts like Casey Woods, executive director of the Overwatch Project.

”The Overwatch Project is a suicide prevention initiative that is specifically focused on the military and veteran community,” said Woods. “It’s essentially the 'friends don’t let friends drive drunk' model except, instead of talking about alcohol and cars, we work on firearms and suicide.”

That's why she wasn’t going to miss the chance to share the groundbreaking work of their new pilot training program at Fort Hood.

”The idea here is that this training program is just the beginning to really innovating on this issue in the Army because 72 percent of Army suicides are with firearms,” said Woods.

The summit isn’t just a way to learn about hot button issues. It’s also a chance for junior leaders to learn from those who blazed the trail before them.

”Honestly, the females just sharing their knowledge on how the grew through the ranks,” said SGT Hetzarely Serrato of the 1st Cavalry Division. “Also, how they beat the odds and kept going whenever they felt defeated and how they got to where they’re at.”

The goal is to take the hard work they’re doing this week and change the Army.