Monday, July 15, 2013

Take a Stand Against Sexual Assaults


This week I want to address a topic that I hope, by this point, you are all familiar with, DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program.  By now everyone in our Reserve Force should have received the mandatory two-hour SAPR training or have a plan to complete it by the July 22 deadline, which is fast approaching.

I am well aware of the challenges in adding another training requirement to your already full drill and training schedules.  But it is imperative that we make this a priority and that we have 100 percent participation and completion.

But, I don’t want you to think this training is just a check in the box.  This problem and its effect on our communities, families and in our Navy Reserve are very real and we must attack it on all fronts.  In fiscal year 2012, there were a total of 726 reports of sexual assault in the Navy.  Notice I said reported – as many of you are aware, sexual assault is still considered one of the most underreported crimes.

ONE sexual assault is too many.  It is our job, our duty and our moral obligation to attack this issue from all sides.

Participation in this stand down is another step in that direction. This is not the GMT on sexual assault that we’ve all seen before; it is a powerful presentation on the causes and effects of this unacceptable behavior.

So I urge you all to make sure that you and your Sailors make it to the next SAPR stand down in your area. If you’re unsure of time and location of the brief, contact your NOSC’s SAPR representative.

Let’s protect our shipmates and stop this crime from occurring in our force.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Taking Care of Those Who Take Care of Us

I have a good news story I’d like to share with you. During my recent visit to RCC Southwest I was able to visit the resilient men and women recovering from injuries at our Medical Hold (MEDHOLD) unit at Naval Base San Diego. There were 24 Sailors assigned to the unit, 19 who had been mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  The remaining five Sailors incurred injuries while on Active Duty for Training orders.
These Sailors were an inspired group of individuals, each working diligently to bounce back from their injuries. They were also benefitting from several recent program changes that are having a positive impact on their lives. These included increasing the geographical boundaries for liberty, allowing portions of their convalescent leave to be spent at their homes of record and increased advocacy throughout the pay and personnel process which can be very daunting for a Selected Reserve Sailor.
Most importantly, however, has been the drastic reduction in patient’s average length of stay. Through diligent efforts of MEDHOLD OIC CDR William “Java” Coffey and staff, the average stay is down from more than 300 days to just over 200, an approximately 40 percent reduction. The MEDHOLD staff was able to reach these reductions by streamlining the medical board process that makes the ultimate determination on the status of these Sailors, effective case management and creating an environment conducive to wellness.
It’s these examples of determination and innovation that speak to the character of our Navy Reserve force. I’d like to hear about any similar examples you may have of your organization achieving extraordinary results.