Story Number: NNS140221-11Release Date: 2/21/2014 12:05:00 PM
By L.A. Shively, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs
SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- The Navy's director of the 21st Century Sailor Office presented the Navy Medicine Training Support Center (NMTSC) Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) chapter a certificate Feb. 19 recognizing the group as the top training command CSADD chapter in the Navy.
Rear Adm. Sean Buck also spoke with NMTSC staff and students, and met with other Navy personnel in the San Antonio area, emphasizing recent policy initiatives on resiliency and prevention activities in the Navy.
NMTSC is the Navy component command that provides administrative and operational control over Navy staff and students assigned to the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) and other Navy medical training programs in the San Antonio area. More than 8,000 active duty and Reserve Sailors from a variety of ratings and programs are now stationed or training at 16 San Antonio Navy commands, detachments and activities, including Hospital Corpsman and Master at Arms "A" schools.
Along with sexual assault and suicide prevention, Buck's office is also responsible for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, safety awareness, physical fitness readiness, promoting a culture of inclusion, stress management and providing transition support for service members preparing to separate or retire.
The admiral is spending the better part of this year visiting every location possible where Sailors are stationed, whether on board ship or deployed overseas, to introduce himself and his programs while also garnering response from the fleet.
Buck was keenly interested in feedback from the audience of more than 300 Hospital Corps students and instructors as to the progress of prevention efforts and looking for suggestions and ideas on communicating with 18- to 24-year-old Sailors where, he said, the preponderance of suicides and sexual assaults occur.
"It's my intent to personally reach out and engage with every single Sailor in the United States Navy, if I can," he said.
Hospital Recruit Aemoni Thomas, a METC student, thought the admiral's presentation was very informative.
"He seemed very focused on SAPR (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program) and getting the information out about the website Navy Live, which I didn't know anything about, and consolidating as much information as possible in one place," said Thomas, who is from Portsmouth, Va.
"I was aware of the programs he is responsible for separately but was never able to put a name behind all that. I thought it was very cool that he is responsible for so many programs," said Hospital Apprentice Marius Wernecke, currently waiting for his METC classes in the Behavior Health Program to commence.
Wernecke was very impressed that Buck took time to speak with students.
"It was huge, and it was cool to know that what we say goes straight up (the chain of command)," Wernecke said.
Hospital Apprentice Chiara Tagliaferri, a METC student from Tannersville, Pa., agreed, adding, "I think it was neat that the admiral actually came by, face-to-face, just to let us know that he is listening and likes to hear our input as well. I know the Navy, like all branches of the military, takes sexual assault and harassment very seriously," adding she is impressed with leadership's efforts to get Sailors the information they need to take care of themselves.
Buck stressed that prevention efforts were focused on regaining the trust and confidence of Sailors and creating a safe and dignified command climate.
If a Sailor is assaulted, he or she is encouraged to step forward, report the incident and seek help, Buck said, with the assurance that Navy leadership will take those reports seriously, and investigate and punish perpetrators.
"When we begin to see the number of reports by sexual assault victims match the anonymous survey results, and then see both those numbers decreasing, only then will we know that the actual number of sexual assaults is trending downward," Buck said.
A Sailor in the audience suggested developing an app where the Navy SAPR could be accessed to seek help and report incidents.
"She mentioned, very accurately, that we advertise that phone number for Sailors very well on our installations and bases, but not so much out in public," Buck said. "How could we make it available on a smart phone? I thought it was a very good idea and very easy to implement and execute."
Buck mused the Navy app might be modeled after the "Circle of 6" concept where six friends, family or trusted contacts are entered into a Smartphone, and when the user taps twice, all six numbers are automatically dialed, and those receiving the call are instructed to return the call or come help the user. A geo-locater is included, and the user can program emergency numbers such as 911 into the app.
Wernecke thought the Navy app was a really good idea.
"Especially with our generation relying on phones so much," he said. "I have many apps that alert me to new information in the morning, whether I want it or not, and it's very helpful."
"I think it's a great idea," Tagliaferri said. "You can inform more than one person (of a problem or situation), your family and the police."
Another suggestion was resources such as "Vine Videos," where users post mini-videos lasting a few seconds instead of "Facebook," currently gaining popularity only with 35-year-olds and up.
Buck took his Sailors' suggestions to heart, saying he does this job because he is a dad and recognizes how peer pressure can be the key to getting a message across to young Sailors.
"Showing their peers what right looks like encourages positive behavior," he said.
For more news from Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmsc/. [End Alibi]