Fighting against violence in the KMC

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Interpersonal violence can happen to anyone. It not only affects the people it happens to, but also those around them. Potential assailants may target someone’s friend, relative, colleague, or even themselves, hurling roadblocks into the missions of their units. Airmen and civilians in the Kaiserslautern Military Community are taking measures to respond and prevent interpersonal violence.

One of the many tools Ramstein Air Base uses is the Green Dot program. It is an annual training that is mandatory for active-duty Airmen throughout the Air Force.

The program covers all aspects of interpersonal violence, including domestic assault, sexual assault, alcohol and drug abuse and suicide.

Green Dot was designed to consolidate some of the required annual briefings for Airmen and shorten the amount of time they spend doing it, said Glenn Corlin, the 86th Airlift Wing violence prevention implementer.

“What used to take four or five hours of training is now just an hour and a half,” said Corlin. “It saves time for the unit, and people can be more mission focused while still getting the information they need.”

The name of the program comes from the concept of seeing green and red dots on a map. The red dots represent an incident involving violence, while green dots represent counteractions against or to prevent them.

“What we’re trying to do is replace the red dots with green dots,” Corlin said. “We want to get everybody involved, so that we are preventing interpersonal violence. What we’re focusing on now is prevention efforts.”

Capt. Holly Holko, an 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, volunteers as an instructor for Green Dot on Ramstein AB. She explained that even though the training is mandatory, only the Airmen themselves can choose to internalize what they learn and put it into practice.

“Today we need to remind each other how to care,” she said. “Caring cannot be forced through this type of training. We must remind ourselves to care for those around us – to take a personal and social risk by intervening, which can’t be externally enforced.”

Holko listed three ways to intervene in a potentially violent situation: direct intervention, distraction and delegation.

In a direct intervention, the intervener would confront an assailant through conventional means. With distraction, the intervener would distract either the assailant or the target and lead them away from the situation. With delegation, a witness to an incident can delegate intervention to another person, such as another bystander or a first responder.

Holko said she is happy people attending her classes are receptive to the training, adding that they show willingness to get out of their comfort zones and actively diffuse violent situations. She also mentioned the willingness of Airmen to call out negative behavior is a sign that they are putting their training to good use.

“We get good examples from participants in class thinking of how they can intervene, how they can distract in a situation, or learn of ways to delegate,” Holko said. “Everyone is having good discussions in these classes, so I do think the training is getting through.”

After being in the military for almost a decade, this is the first time I hear open dialogue amongst all ranks about a violence prevention program, Holko added. Airmen aren’t afraid to say “red dot” when they notice a negative behavior. So this makes me confident that we’re moving forward.

Corlin has worked for more than 30 years to help prevent violence in the military and has seen many training programs implemented to confront the issue. He acknowledged that there must be a transformation of culture in order to effectively put an end to interpersonal violence.

“We’re asking people to ask themselves what they could do each day to change the culture of interpersonal violence in Ramstein (AB),” he added.

Corlin affirmed his commitment to fighting violence in the KMC, saying that as long as the phenomenon persists, he will persist as well.

"We will stop doing these briefings the day interpersonal violence ends,” he said. “Until then, my colleagues and I will continue to combat this issue."