Face of Defense: Sergeant is ‘Voice’ of Deployed Soldiers


by Army Spc. Kandi Huggins
1st Advise and Assist Task Force Public Affairs


CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq, June 29, 2011 – For Army Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Haynes, being the “voice of the soldier” here is one more way of accomplishing his tasks as an equal opportunity advisor with the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Advise and Assist Task Force.

“My primary job is to be the eyes and ears for the brigade commander, making him aware of any issues within the brigade whether it’s discriminatory, sexual harassment, leadership, or human resource issues,” said Haynes, a Galesburg, Ill., native.”My secondary mission,” he said, “is to take care of the soldiers and keep an eye on the climate of the brigade. I interact a lot with the people here, making sure things such as work areas are clean and remain a healthy environment.”

Because there is no rule book that covers how to handle each specific situation that arises, Haynes has relied on his training and previous experience as a platoon sergeant, which others say have served him well.

“I’ve known Haynes for about three years from our time as platoon sergeants,” said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Adams, a personal security detail platoon sergeant with the task force. “A lot of the junior platoon sergeants looked to him for guidance because he was seasoned with a wealth of knowledge, and knew how to get things done.”

Adams said he replicated a lot of Haynes’ techniques to aid in his own professional development.

“We were in charge of maintaining the health and welfare of 39 soldiers and fostering them into leaders,” he said. “Haynes worked well with the soldiers, and they genuinely respected him as a strong leader.”

Haynes said he faces problems that arise from any level and hopes soldiers know he is available for them.

Another experience Haynes credits in helping him as an EOA is the three years he served as a drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga.

“As a drill sergeant, I was able to interact with people,” he said. “Being busy all the time and on a schedule, I had to be precise in how I dealt with people — in being resourceful, and in utilizing the potential of every soldier in order to make the team stronger.”

Haynes said his experiences taught him how to deal with problems as soon as they occur, which is a primary duty of an EOA.

“I attack issues at any level, and I must be forthright and tactful in doing so,” he said. “I learned to pay attention to details really well as a drill sergeant, and I’ve found that attribute to help as I’ve continued my service in the Army.”

Haynes said he encourages people to not only understand themselves, but also understand the people around them to help foster good order, discipline, leadership and respect.

“I hope soldiers learn to take care of each other, and how to handle situations as they arise with dignity and respect,” he said.

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