Personnel at Naval Air Station Fallon closed out Sexual Assault Awareness Month last week with tug-of-war contests to emphasize the teamwork in removing a stigma from the military.
Cmdr. Gene Woodruff, the air station’s executive officer, said intensive awareness campaigns have reduced the number of sexual assault reports during the past year. Locally, Woodruff said NAS Fallon doesn’t have a history of assaults like other military installations.
“We have monthly meeting to focus on prevention and response efforts,” Woodruff said. “The full-time staff is invested in our prevention efforts and is ready to respond if necessary.”
Although the spotlight continues to shine on the military’s record in preventing sexual assaults, Woodruff said both the Department of Defense and NAS Fallon have high standards insuring the safety of every man and woman on board.
NAS Fallon’s sexual assault regional coordinator said the emphasis is placed on prevention.
“We provide prevention and education through the year through training and SAPR (sexual assault prevention and response) training,” Jeannette Casillas said.
She said both sailors and civilians also receive training throughout the year. Because of the emphasis placed on the SAPR program, Casillas said NAS Fallon’s commanding officer “owns the program.”
Casillas said visiting air wings also receive a briefing on sexual assault and how sailors are aware of what the NAS Fallon SAPR team offers. Additionally, each air wing SAPR coordinator meets with the sailors once they arrive in Fallon. The hard work has paid off.
“We have also seen an elimination of assaults when a visiting CAG (carrier air wing) is in town,” Woodruff added.
Furthermore, Casillas said NAS Fallon and its tenant commands have a strong triad for support to include the commander, executive officer and the senior master chief.
“We have a structured program here because of the support from the leadership,” she said.
Capt. Leif Steinbaugh, NAS Fallon commander, keeps a watchful eye on his military community to ensure everyone’s safety.
“There is no room for sexual assault not only in the military but also in our society,” he said. “We do everything we can to prevent it.”
Steinbaugh said he feels the military and the air station have both made great strides in addressing the issue to where it is almost nonexistent at NAS Fallon.
In 2013, 2014 and now 2015, the number of sexual assaults is down,” he said of the military. “That’s good for everyone.”
With NAS Fallon serving primarily as a training base, he said personnel at the air station focus both on the permanent and transient servicemen and women as well as civilians.
To emphasize the prevention of sexual assaults, Casillas said NAS Fallon also conducted other activities during April to include a 5K run, an obstacle course, self defense classes, a scavenger hunt and other events to emphasize the month’s theme.