Defense Department Recognizes Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinators
The Department of Defense recognized six sexual assault response coordinators for exceptional service over the past year.
The winners of the 2018 Exceptional SARC of the Year are chosen from each of the four services, the National Guard, and the Coast Guard. Awardees represent the very best in a large field of professionals dedicated to sexual assault response and victim assistance.
“Our Sexual Assault Response Coordinators form the cornerstone of our military response capability,” said Navy Rear Admiral Ann Burkhardt, director of the department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “They are often the first person our service members reach to for assistance. SARCs are a source of enduring strength for service members recovering from sexual assault. We are pleased to honor our awardees as the best of the best in their field.”
This year’s exceptional SARC awardees are:
- Air Force: Captain Lauren McGuire, 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany;
- Army: Sergeant First Class Kacey Kitner, Fort Sill, Oklahoma;
- Navy: Hilda Ruby Godley, Joint Base Charleston - Naval Weapon Station, South Carolina;
- Marine Corps: Christina Chavez, Marine Corps Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia;
- National Guard Bureau: Nicholas Gonzalez, Joint Forces Headquarters, Alaska National Guard, Anchorage, Alaska; and
- Coast Guard: Eric Barreras, Coast Guard Base Alameda, Alameda, California.
SARCs play a pivotal role in the department’s sexual assault prevention and response program. When any service member reports a sexual assault, the SARC addresses the victim’s immediate safety needs, connects the victim to resources, and assigns a victim advocate to provide advocacy and assistance throughout the medical, investigative, and legal processes. In addition, SARCs work closely with other installation responders, train thousands of military members annually, and help military leadership improve their support of service members impacted by sexual assault.
SARCs are a large part of the 20,000 certified sexual assault advocates the department has positioned throughout the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard Bureau, and Coast Guard. These professionals help service members receive high quality assistance and access to the care they need to recover and heal.