GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- The chief of Navy chaplains visited Training Support Center (TSC), Great Lakes Aug. 1-3 to get a firsthand look at TSC's efforts to raise sexual assault awareness and prevention among the Sailors.
Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd observed bystander intervention and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) training as well as a presentation of "No Zebras, No Excuses," a Central Michigan University production aimed at challenging sexual assault myths and stereotypes.
"Sexual Assault impacts every one of us, from the Sailor victimized to command morale and mission," Tidd said. "One incident means everyone's workload goes up. The key word is respect. By respecting each other's personal boundaries we ensure that we have everyone's best interests in mind."
"No Zebras" is the first program to focus on bystander mentality, addressing the impact of intervention on situations of sexual aggression. It stresses sexual aggression can no longer be ignored, empowering students to stand up, take a stand, and help keep others safe.
The title of "No Zebras" is a reference as to when zebras are attacked by lions; they watch their own get eaten. "No Zebras" is a way of saying, when it comes to sexual assault, don't be a zebra - don't stand by why others are being preyed upon; act and keep predators at bay.
"As sexual assault hurts shipmates and affects readiness, this topic is so important that Navy wide training has been instituted," Tidd said.
Following the presentations, Tidd met with TSC chaplains to offer his insights of their efforts.
"I'm impressed by the impact and participation in the whole SAPR program because the chaplains and religious program specialists (RPs) are a huge resource for the command and that's true anywhere in the Navy," Tidd said. "If it's true anywhere else it's absolutely true here. I'm impressed by their commitment in taking care of our people, to serving our Sailors, to serving our leadership and supporting each other in this, as well to all the civilians who are very involved in this as well."
Cmdr. Lynn Peterson, command chaplain of TSC, describes the role of the chaplains at TSC as a support system. The chaplains are those with whom a victim can sit down with to discuss their issues and feel safe, she explained.
"We're sometimes the only people who will take that time and say, 'Let's just talk about it,'" Peterson said. "Whether it's an actual victim, a family member of a victim, or a friend of victim, we're involved in all those kinds of things. We are the counselors."
According to Peterson, the frequency of higher level of sexual assaults among the students is down, however, the lower level of assaults - such as inappropriate groping - are still occurring.
"We are getting that word out. People are watching out for each other," Peterson said.
Peterson believes Tidd understands her plea to provide TSC's chaplains with additional training.
"He is appreciative of what we are doing here because we are the pilot people in a lot of ways, the test programs," Peterson said. "Our chaplains are trusted here and we're engaged in the process."
Tidd wrapped up his visit with the chaplains by expressing his assurance in providing what is needed for a successful SAPR program.
"As Chief of Chaplains, I am committed to leading every chaplain and RP toward active engagement in Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, and equipping them to provide the highest quality pastoral care to all sailors and family members affected by sexual assault incidences," Tidd said.
While on Naval Station Great Lakes, Tidd also served as the reviewing officer for the Pass-In-Review (PIR) graduation ceremony in the Recruit Training Command's (RTC) USS Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall, during which 841 recruits, after completing recruit training requirements, became Sailors.
"I consider it a true honor to be the reviewing officer at the RTC graduation," said Tidd. "Today's Sailors are the most technologically savvy and employ a high level of insight and awareness. We are a high-IQ Navy."
Before graduation, Tidd visited some of RTC's most distinctive structures including the 173,000 square-foot, three-story physical fitness training facility, Freedom Hall, as well as the Navy's largest training simulator, USS Trayer (BST-21).
Trayer, a 210-foot-long replica of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, is a state-of-the-art training facility using theme park special effects technology to simulate a variety of shipboard emergencies including shipboard fires and compartment flooding. On board Trayer, recruits must successfully complete the Battle Stations, a grueling 12-hour event during which recruits complete 17 different shipboard scenarios, before finishing recruit training.
"It is likely that our latest graduates are willing to trust their twitting and tweeting over other, more established influences. Just as the human body needs time to recover from injury or illness, our youngest shipmates need to remember that life takes time, and relationships take more than 140 characters to develop and grow, said Tidd. "Today's technological priorities impact other equally important areas, such as personal and work relationships, spirituality, and emotional well-being."
Tidd also toured other RTC facilities, including the Small Arms Marksmanship Trainer and the command's in-processing facility, the Golden Thirteen. This facility, named for the U.S. Navy's first 13 African-American officers, is where all recruits are sent to in-process into the Navy upon arrival at RTC. He also visited a recruit barracks, or ship, to see where recruits live, study and eat.
At the PIR, the chief of chaplains welcomed the graduating recruits and their family members to the Navy.
"Get ready for one of the greatest adventures of your life!" Tidd said. "Take advantage of what the Navy has to offer you, and strive for excellence in your service in the Navy."
TSC Great Lakes is the only training command located within the same vicinity as boot camp and is the home of five learning sites operated independently. The command supports 85 percent of the Surface Navy School and averages 13,500 student throughputs per year.
For information about Training Support Center Great Lakes and Learning Sites, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/tscgl/.
For more news from Training Support Center Great Lakes, visit www.navy.mil/local/tscgl/.