NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors from various naval bases around the world kicked off the Navy's first Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) rally at Naval Station Norfolk, May 22-23.
CSADD was established in June 2010 as a peer mentoring group meant to positively influence young Sailors by providing resources and tools that promote good decision making.
"CSADD is about Sailors helping Sailors," said CSADD's cofounder, Chief of Naval Personnel and Navy Total Force Fleet Master Chief Scott Benning. "The more that we can inspire, the more we can be a better nation."
Sponsored by Commander, Navy Region Mid Atlantic (CNRMA), the CSADD rally was decorated with various posters and educational booths. CSADD's program included comedic skits, video presentations and guest speakers such as Adm. John C. Harvey, Jr., commander, United States Fleet Forces Command.
During the event, Harvey talked about the commitment of being a Sailor in the Navy. "Nobody came into the Navy to fail. Nobody," said Harvey.
Harvey praised the visiting Sailors and volunteers at the event. He noted the international scope of Sailors at the conference, with commands from Spain, Bahrain, and various U.S. bases represented.
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Robert Davis, from U.S. Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, was CSADD's European representative and shared his experience to local Sailors at the rally.
"If you travel to Europe you are an adult and an ambassador of the United States of America, and it is important to be culturally diverse," said Davis. "Our job in CSADD Rota is to inform Sailors that they can be responsible, but at the same time to have a good time and look out for not only themselves but their shipmates and the people they go out with."
Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Larry Douglas, president of the CSADD chapter at Naval Air Station Pensacola, plans to bring back a CSADD souvenir to his shipmates.
"I am here to take in the Admiral's perspective and the whole CSADD program," said Douglas. "I am taking the training and definitely bringing it back to the command."
This initiative was started with young Sailors and it has continued to grow with young Sailors, said Benning.
There are currently more than 250 CSADD chapters operating on military bases worldwide and dozens of CSADD social websites.
"CSADD is a group of people who truly care for their success and the success of the entire Navy," said Benning, highlighting this year's CSADD theme: "Navigating Success." Benning said, "This is about Shipmates helping Shipmates. Shipmates, it all starts with you."
On the last day, Sailors were encouraged to wear their CSADD t-shirts, and even signed t-shirts for the current Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson, III, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West and assistant secretary of the Navy Juan M. Garcia.
CSADD also held an award ceremony to recognize the 2011 CSADD chapters of the year. USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) won the award followed by the CSADD chapter in Bahrain.
"This is a great organization," said Kearsarge's Command Master Chief David Randall. "Before I knew much about CSADD, I've asked what do we need to do to help Sailors who make destructive decisions and CSADD has helped fixed that problem."
Benning also encouraged Sailors to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to educate Sailors about today's event and also provided feedback and suggestions about CSADD.
"The best prevention tools are the Sailors themselves," said Benning.
After 39 years of being in the Navy, Harvey reminded Sailors of the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment, and he encouraged Sailors to always do the right the thing.
"I learned what it was like to deal with officers and Sailors who worked for me who made destructive decisions. Will you have courage with these convictions?" Harvey said about coming forward and helping shipmates. "You all have taken on a challenge that is hard. The term 'shipmate' defines what we are all about. In a moment's pressure, you put your hand out ... and it takes courage to do your part."
The next CSADD rally will be held at Naval Base Coronado, Calif., June 12-13.
For more information about CSADD, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/CoalitionofSailorsAgainstDestructive-Decisions-CSADD/299642495316.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.