SAPR summit discussion brought back to Ramstein

by Airman 1st Class Tryphena Mayhugh
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Sometimes the only way to bring about change is to get people together, sit down and hash out problems with open and honest dialogue.

Thanks to the Sexual Assault Prevention Response summit held Jan. 12 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Airmen from around the Air Force came together to tackle one of the most important topics on all the services’ plates — sexual assault.

Command Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten III, 86th Airlift Wing command chief, in his position of advising the wing commander and senior leadership on issues affecting military readiness and mission effectiveness, attended the summit to discuss the benefits of having SAPR awareness education year-round and the possibility of introducing new subjects into regular training.

“I think everyone agreed that one-hour briefs once a year will not solve sexual assault,” Batten said. “We need to have an all-in approach where everyone understands the issue of sexual assault. This is not the Air Force’s issue solely; all of us Airmen have to take this on and be proactive about the prevention.”

Upon his return from the summit, Batten briefed the 86th Airlift Wing sexual assault response coordinator about the new ideas formed at the summit and how they apply here.

“I think (the effect of the summit on Ramstein) is going to be great,” said Carmen Schott, 86th Airlift Wing SARC. “One of the things leadership discussed was new changes with the SAPR annual training. A big change I talked to Chief Batten about was getting away from the Stand-Down Days. Now it’s SAPR every day, all the time, where it’s continually discussed during quarterly training days as opposed to annual.”

Transitioning from having a year-round focus to practical application at an installation can be easier said than done, but Ramstein is planning for more frequent training.

“Everyone at the summit would love the possibility of us being able to conduct this training at every base and have everyone go through this type of learning experience,” Batten said. “Unfortunately, it’s not feasible because of the number of Airmen in the Air Force and the amount of time it would take. However, what we can do is come up with some ideas and focus on prevention and smaller group presentations throughout the year so every Airman is on the same page.”

New training on prevention was one of the lead topics addressed during the summit. Schott said that is the main goal of the SAPR program.

“The new initiative is continual learning and prevention,” Schott said. “Leadership brainstormed all the different ways to make it a part of units and bases. The ‘Step Up, Step In’ campaign is a big one in USAFE, which encourages being active and taking initiative.”

Considering the importance of sexual assault prevention, the summit focused on creating a comfortable environment in order to help with its success.

“I thought it was a great experience on many levels,” Batten said. “First off, on the participation, it was a diverse crowd. All ranks, total force, active, guard, civilians, and it was conducted to where we all wore civilian clothes, so there was an amenity to where everyone had a more free flow of conversation.”

Though the summit was held in Maryland, its influence reached across the globe and affected how things will be done at Ramstein. Airmen demonstrated a real-world example of how Airmen from around the world can come together to better the Air Force and, ultimately, make Ramstein a safer place to live and work.