Bonhomme Richard Conducts All Hands Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Training
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Achterling
USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea - Sailors aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) training, June 15 to 18.

The training was conducted in accordance with NAVADMIN 156/13 and NAVADMIN 158/13, which mandated that all military service members and civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DoD) complete the SAPR training before July 1.

During the training, the commanding officer, executive
officer, and command master chief led a two-hour session that included focused facilitated engagement on SAPR principles and emphasized the importance of fostering a climate of dignity and respect.

"When talking about sexual assault, it's important to engage Sailors directly in frank and open conversation," said Capt. Joey Tynch, Bonhomme Richard's executive officer. "I made sure BHR Sailors know that sexual assault or harassment will not be tolerated on this ship, or anywhere else in the Navy, and that it will take everyone of us, as a team, to lead the way forward. We are BHR...and we'll take on this challenge, we'll take ownership and we will steer the right course ahead. "

The intent of the training was to ensure service members and civilian personnel clearly understand they are accountable for fostering a climate where sexist behaviors, sexual harassment and sexual assault are not tolerated.

"Within our ranks, we must all act together to eliminate sexual harassment and assault," said Bonhomme Richard's Command Master Chief Scott McCreery. "My goal for this stand-down is to ensure every Bonhomme Richard Sailor realizes that sexual assault is a problem."

According to the 2012 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of active duty members, more than 26,000 service members across the DoD experienced unwanted sexual contact. Of the estimated 26,000, only 2,949 were reported to DoD authorities.

"We need make sure our Sailors know serious sexual assault prevention is, because it affects all of us in uniform," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Jason Herring, Bonhomme Richard's sexual assault response coordinator. "Only by working together will we as a division, department, command, or Navy, be able to reverse the current trend of sexual assault and move toward a more positive cultural change in the future."

Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship, and the first of three ships of the amphibious ready group (ARG) to get underway and will be joined by USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Denver (LPD 9) at a later date.

Bonhomme Richard ARG reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.

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