Sounds like a close call but fortunately it turned out as a learning opportunity.
Understanding the position the young SGT was in along with his potential lack of experience it is easy to understand why he may have made the decisions he did. However as a leader he was bound by duty to report the behavior to the chain of command and ensure the safety of the Soldier. He could have also ensure the Soldier spoke with a confidential source like a health care professional or Chaplain.
Consider the following:
- Walk through the issue with the Leader, discuss his obligations as a leader
- Have the Leader go through all the Army Suicide Training. See this Link: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training.asp have them back brief you.
- Have the Leader read the Army policy on how Soldiers showing signs of suicidal behavior should be handled and other command requirements.
- Having the Leader write a fictitious letter to the Soldier’s parents explaining how the Soldier died as a result of the Leaders’ failure to report the incident.
- Have the Leader write an essay on the Army’s policy and procedure for suicidal gestures/attempts. What actions are required? What steps should be taken when the leader is notified? How and When will those steps be taken and what are the consequences for failing to follow those procedures for both the Soldier and the Leader invovled.
- Having the Leader prepare a unit policy letter on suicide prevention actions for the unit.
- Having the Leader prepare a unit SOP on Suicide Prevention
You could also consider placing a comment on the Leader’s working copy of the NCOER and state that upon successful completion of the corrective training and a 90 day evaluation period you will decide if the comment should remain on the working copy of the evaluation or be removed.