When most people hear the word “accountability,” they immediately become uncomfortable. The thought of making themselves totally open, honest, and vulnerable with another person doesn’t sound appealing to most of us. Regardless of how we few however, supervisors need to know where their soldiers are at all times. Accountability is a very important part of being in the military, even more so than any other profession. Night and day soldiers must be accounted for, because in the military things can happen at any time. If it’s not known where they are or what they are doing, how can anyone know if they are well, or even alive?
A sad fact of life is soldiers commit suicide all the time. Whether it is because of personal struggle or family tragedy, it happens. Also, not every soldier is trustworthy. If that is the case, that soldier should be carefully watched to make sure that he or she doesn’t do anything that could put themselves, or others, in harm’s way. It is suspected that on March 11th, 2012, A Staff Sergeant Bales left a U. S. base in the Panjwai district of the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, entered homes in nearby villages, and gunned down nine children, four men, and three women before dawn.
The next morning he turned himself in to his command for the crimes committed. These suspected actions of SSG Bales have caused many soldiers in the Kandahar province trouble. The Afghani civilians now despise our Army and everything to do with it, and now they are refusing to help our soldiers at all. Some of the soldiers still remaining in that Afghani province (since SSG Bales is now in Fort Leavenworth prison), now more than ever, are receiving extreme amounts of indirect fire, and even small arms fire. This has brought their moral to an all-time low and makes them more and more frustrated every day.
Now, I believe that all of this could have been prevented if his supervisors had just kept proper accountability of their personnel. If personnel aren’t accounted for, there is no telling what could happen. Soldiers and civilian contractors alike have been known to get kidnapped in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s all the more likely to happen if supervisors do not know where their subordinates are at all times. In garrison, if there is not full accountability, or the attempt to take it, anything could happen to a soldier and it could be days before any one knows about it.
When I was back at Fort Hood there was a soldier that had killed himself, and he was not found until 3 days later when someone finally noticed he was gone and they took the time to look for him. Who knows what could have happened if people had cared enough to be around him. His body could have been discovered a lot earlier, or someone could have possibly saved his life. The responsibility does not fall on the supervisors alone, however. The subordinates need to let their supervisors know where they will be, and be truthful about their whereabouts and actions.
Courtney from Study Moose
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