"Courage Through Adversity"
Change Starts with ‘I’: Somerset Sailors Initiate Culture Change During Safety Stand-down

SAN DIEGO - Sailors from amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) attended a safety stand-down and ethics training at the Naval Base San Diego Theater Sept. 29.

At the stand-down, Sailors took part in a ‘Change Starts with I’ presentation on equal treatment, which focused on the Navy’s culture and how it contributes to and can prevent sexual assaults and harassment.

The presentation, given by Capt. Roy Nafarrete, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinator for Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, is a new way to reduce the number of sexual assaults and sexual harassment incidents in the Navy.

Nafarrete said prior efforts focused on single areas, such as sexual assaults occurring in the barracks, but only succeeded in shifting the problem around.

“We managed to get the number of barracks assaults down, and we thought, great job,” said Nafarette. “But the overall number of incidents remained the same… the number of off-base incidents increased instead.”

The program, which is now in its 3rd year, instructs Sailors to focus on their everyday actions, speech, and thoughts. Sailors were led to identify language and common phrases that contribute to a negative culture, and received ideas for different phrases which won’t reinforce negative stereotypes.

“The whole idea of ‘Change starts with I’ – we’re just saying that I am going to be different and I am going to be the culture change, so that was the big difference for me,” said Navy Counselor 1st Class Marco Carillo. “It really made me think about the things I say and the things that I allow to be said around me, and how those can contribute to the Navy’s new culture.”

The Sailors also discussed topics such as fire and medical safety, off-duty safety, and yard safety during Somerset’s upcoming maintenance availability. To learn more about USS Somerset, visit us at or follow us on Facebook at

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