Standing down to knock down sexual assault
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The Wolf Pack took a pause from its mission to address sexual assault May 22, 2014 during a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response down day.
Col. Kenneth Ekman, 8th Fighter Wing commander, addressed the wing for the first time, reflecting on the wing's mission and abilities while motivating the pack to charge against a nationwide battle.
"I have heard the word 'family' ascribed to this group more than I have heard any other wing in my career and so we spent some time to address a threat to our family," said Ekman. "Just like the North Korean threat, we trained to defeat that threat to our Airmen."
The Wolf Pack family strengthened its bonds and resolve by holding all-calls, silent walks and group discussions to find ways to minimize and prevent sexual assault at Kunsan. The training focused on identifying predators and perpetrators versus focusing on victims and victim care.
After each squadrons' all-call brief, Wolf Pack members marched out of the theater in a single file line to a 'silent walk,' lined with 99 helmets representing the sexual assault cases at Kunsan dating back 10 years. In between each of the 99 were sets of three that symbolized the statistically unreported cases believed to have occurred on base.
"I am glad that we are taking steps to fix this problem," said Senior Airman Israel Selwick, 8th Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental technician. "I didn't think these things happened so often because it's hard to understand how people do not respect each other."
The stand down day was just one day, but Ekman is continuing the work of previous wolfs in following the President's, Secretary of Defense's and higher headquarters' directive in preventing, identifying and combating sexual assault.
"The Wolf Pack is out in front of this issue and people talk about the Wolf Pack in the pentagon; about how well the Wolf Pack is doing in coping with sexual assault and in changing and building a better climate," said Ekman.