#SAAM: Det. Dwyer Raises Awareness with Basketball Tournament

By Marlene M. Houngbedji, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 Public Affairs 

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 joined U.S. Navy efforts to raise awareness on sexual assault with a detail-wide basketball tournament on April 20.

“We can’t really do a fundraiser or anything fancy like they are back home, right now, but it’s important to take a day out of our week to do it,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Charles E. Bernard, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) representative. His statement kicked off three hours of competition between eight teams.

The tournament, which was initially scheduled as team-building entertainment by Morale, Welfare, and Recreation representative Equipment Operator 3rd Class Carmen P. Rivera, from Naples, Fla., was repurposed as a Sexual Assault Awareness Month event.

Having participated in several in-class training sessions on sexual assault prevention before and during the month of April, the Seabees’ willingness to also dedicate an event to the cause while on their only weekly half-day off was a clear display of support for the program.

120420-N-LB416-035- FOB DWYER, HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Apr.20, 2012) Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB)-11 take part in a basketball tournament organized to raise awareness on sexual assault. (U.S. Navy photo by Marlene M. Houngbedji/Released)

“It was a fun day to drop the battle rattle, relax and build team cohesion while recognizing the Navy’s commitment to sexual assault awareness and prevention,” said participant, Utilitiesman 1st Class Emily A. Fowler, from Derry, N.H. “It’s great to see the troops have a little fun after a lot of hard work.”

Of the eight, three-member teams signed-up, two remained after an eliminatory process, pitting chiefs and officer-in-charge against troops several years their junior.

“Age almost prevailed where nearly the entire detail participated,” said Construction Mechanic Chief Robert R. Crespin, of Price, Utah., after his team of older players beat two others to compete in the final game and won second place.

Following the release of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine, the focus of which is to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, Navy-wide efforts to build resiliency and increase effectiveness have, by and large, reached new heights. This year thus marks a renewed interest in the impact of sexual assault on troop readiness and performance as the Navy kicked-off a monthlong, highly publicized campaign on the theme of ‘Hurts One, Affects All.’ Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone’s Duty.’

Equipment Operator 3rd Class Carmen P. Rivera, who initiated te tournament, considered the event a great way to improve cohesion and morale. “It is also a fun way to raise awareness on a very serious topic at all levels of our local chain of command,” she said.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of the Navy is working to aggressively to prevent sexual assaults, to support sexual assault victims, and to hold offenders accountable.

Help raise awareness by joining the conversation on social media using #SAAM.

Homeported in Gulfport, Miss., NMCB-11 is deployed to Afghanistan to conduct general, mobility, survivability engineering operations, defensive operations, Afghan National Army partnering and detachement of units in combined/joint operations area – Afghanistan in order to enable the neutralization of the insurgency and support improved governance and stability operations.

For more images please visit the photo gallery on the Official NMCB 11 Facebook page

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