JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade held a three-day Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Ambassador training at Stone Education Center, here, June 1-3.
The first of its kind training at the brigade focused on implementing the prevention line of effort for the SHARP program by equipping Soldiers with skills, knowledge, and tools to establishing clear norms and promoting a culture change within the Army.
“The SHARP Ambassador training provides Soldiers and leaders across the formation with necessary training and resources to prevent and respond to SHARP incidents as a first line of defense and build a culture of trust, dignity, and respect within the ranks,” said Master Sgt. Maria Taylor, the 16th CAB sexual assault response coordinator and Georgetown, Texas native. “Raptor Soldiers and leaders will be prepared to identify behaviors incompatible with the Army Values and Warrior Ethos, develop confidence, and respond appropriately in order to cultivate trust within the unit.”
Taylor said the purpose of the course was to involve junior Soldiers, under the rank of staff sergeant who would be otherwise ineligible as SHARP representatives.
14 Soldiers of various military occupational specialties and ranks ranging from private to sergeant promotable, volunteered to be the Raptor Brigade’s active participants for promoting change for the SHARP program.
“I volunteered to be a SHARP Ambassador to be better informed and always available to help anyone in need, as well as help prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment in the Army,” said Sgt. Daniela Cavalcante Reys, an automated logistical specialist assigned to Echo Company, 1-229 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion and a Brasilia, Brazil native.
The training kicked off with remarks from Col. D. Shane Finison and Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Perez, the commander and command sergeant major of 16th CAB.
“In the Army, we are a Family,” said Perez. “You are the frontline defense for the SHARP program and if you can stop one person early, you probably prevented three sexual harassments or assaults.”
The three-day course included training on bystander intervention, sexual harassment/assault, retaliation, continuum of harm and skill building. The young leaders had the opportunity to interact with subject matter experts from the criminal investigation division, the special victim’s counsel, and the sexual assault care coordinator on their roles and responsibilities within the program.
“By equipping them with skills, knowledge, and tools to become force multipliers for the SHARP program, Soldiers will share the belief that everybody deserves to thrive in a safe and secure environment where everybody is treated with dignity and respect,” said Taylor.
At the end of the course, the ambassadors received a certificate of achievement from the brigade commander welcoming them to the SHARP program.
Taylor said graduates of the program will serve as pro-SHARP influencers among the junior enlisted ranks with the end state of shifting Army culture to the idea that SHARP-related incidents can be prevented and eradicated from our force.