NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Col. Barry Cornish, 99th Air Base Wing commander, held a commander’s call Dec. 11 at the base theater with an emphasis on sexual assault and a four part plan from Gen. Mark Welsh III, U.S. Air Force chief of staff, to help prevent sexual assault crimes.
Welsh gathered more than 140 wing commanders to Joint Base Andrews, Md., to discuss sexual assault issues and prevention Nov. 28. This is due to the 700 sexual assault crimes predicted to be reported in the Air Force for 2012.
“We are either all part of the solution, or we are part of the problem,” Welsh said. “Inaction or neutrality is no longer an option.”
The purpose of the plan is to ensure Airmen are doing everything possible to prevent sexual assault crimes from happening on or off duty.
“The first part is to assess our environment,” Cornish said. “This is to determine if we are doing anything willingly or unwillingly to contribute to the problem. Second is to educate, energize and communicate with our peers and the chain of command to talk about the issue. Third is to develop a long term strategy and action plan to put in place to get a permanent solution to the problem, and lastly to assess our compliance with that plan.”
Along with the plan the chief of staff set in place to counteract sexual assaults in the Air Force, Cornish also had thoughts about this increasing problem at Nellis AFB.
“This comes down to combat readiness,” Cornish said. “This is about developing a cohesive team of Airmen that work together to achieve a common objective. This is not about creating a politically correct environment. The problem is sexual assault.”
A safe, professional and productive environment, free from offensive materials and harassment is the ultimate objective for Airmen today and for the future with zero sexual assault crimes.
“The environment inside our Air Force is changing. It’s been changing for the last 25 to 30 years, but it hasn’t changed enough and it hasn’t changed in all the right ways to ensure integration of all Airmen,” Welsh said Dec. 3 at his wing commanders’ call. “And so you and I are going to change it – immediately and definitively. We must ensure that every member of our Air Force is treated with respect and feels like a critically important part of the team.”
If you have been a victim of a sexual assault crime, the 99th Air Base Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator can be reached 24/7 at (702) 652-7272. If you have questions, the SARC office can be reached at (702) 652-5399.
(Editor’s Note: Gen. Welsh’s quotes are obtained from “CSAF talks leadership with wing commanders,” dated 12/3/2012 and “Zero is the only acceptable number,” dated 12/13/2012.)