By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Shayla D. Hamilton, USS George Washington Public Affairs
PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- Bystander intervention, as defined by training facilitators on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), is having the courage to get involved when a fellow Sailor is in trouble.
Sailors aboard George Washington attended Bystander Intervention to the Fleet (BI2F) training sessions throughout this calendar year where they learned about the importance of intervening, regardless of rate or rank, along with four different techniques to intervene.
"We just want everyone to be well-versed and prepared to handle every type of situation," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Joshua Payne, BI2F facilitator. "From E-1 to O-10, we're all responsible for one another. The biggest thing we've noticed is junior-enlisted Sailors being too afraid to confront higher-ranked Sailors on their wrongdoings. That's why we have a chain-of-command for situations where we don't feel like it's our place to correct."
Bystander intervention is commonly associated with sexual assault prevention and response, but BI2F covers topics ranging from prevention of alcohol abuse to hazing and can apply to everyday scenarios.
"Bystander intervention is simply stepping up and stepping in," said Yeoman 2nd Class Jose Cervantes, George Washington BI2F facilitator. "Think of what you would want someone to do if you were in an uncomfortable situation."
During BI2F training, Sailors were shown videos that showcased different scenarios along with ways to effectively handle them, and included time in between for open group discussion.
"The most rewarding part about facilitating this training is having the opportunity to reach out to other Sailors on my ship and share knowledge that will benefit them in the long run," said Payne.
Sailors also learned four intervention techniques they could use to help them navigate through any conflict or situation that contradicts the Navy's core values.
"The worst thing you can do in a heated situation is nothing," said Cervantes. "Ask yourself, would I rather stand by, watching as something escalates, or get it under control before it spirals out of control? It's not easy. It will never be. But it's our responsibility to take action. I'd much rather be put into an awkward situation of having stepped in and prevented something major from happening, than to allow it to happen and risk possibly losing a life. These are the things we must take into account."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, are on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. George Washington will conduct a hull-swap with Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) later this year after serving seven years as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Yokosuka, Japan.