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1st Lt. Julie Markow, uniform victim advocate, Headquarters Battalion, explains mutual consent during the battalion operational pause hosted at the Sunset Cinema, Tuesday. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response portion gave Marines insight into Marines who have gone through incidents of that nature.

Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria

Headquarters Battalion promotes safety during operational pause

15 Apr 2014 | Cpl. Charles Santamaria Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Whether it's in the seat of a vehicle, out in the field, on a forward operating base in Afghanistan or day-to-day life stateside, safety comes first. Twice a year, an operational pause is designated to have a time for Marines and sailors aboard the Combat Center to receive classes on safety and also inform them of common mistakes that can change their lives.

During the operational pause, Headquarters Battalion hosted a series of classes at the Sunset Cinema Tuesday and Wednesday. The goal of the operational pause was to inform Marines of programs on base and prevent accidents by implementing safety measures taught at the forum.

“It was a pretty long set of classes,” said Lance Cpl. Kristian Bandeira, administration, Headquarters Battalion. “But I learned a lot from each one and I thought the drunk driving portion had a lot of impact.”

A portion of the class was dedicated to the dangers of drunk driving, which featured a speaker who was involved in an accident of the same nature.

“No matter what the thought process was or if anyone convinced me to drive that night, ultimately, it was my decision and it was a mistake,” said Kelly Narowski, safety speaker and presenter. “I tell my story to prevent someone else from making the same mistake as I did.”

Narowski also covered other examples that featured celebrities and athletes who were involved in drunk driving incidents. She expanded upon all aspects of driving safety and also went over the effects of brain and spinal injuries. The classes as a whole covered many aspects of a Marine’s life and how to be safe and prevent poor decisions.

“Each class had its own focus and it never got too dull because the topics were different,” Bandeira said. “I found out a bit more about what other Marines have gone through in certain situations, and I feel a little safer knowing what programs are available to me.”

The classes also went into detail about topics such as hazing, sexual assault prevention and response, domestic violence, equal opportunity, operational security, traumatic brain injuries, family child and development services and more information for Marines to be better equipped to deal with an array of dilemmas that may occur. Speakers also understood the importance of what they were saying.

“As United States Marines you stand for what’s right in the world,” Narowski said. “I want you all to love yourself enough to make the right decision and keep yourselves, fellow Marines and others safe.”

Narowski’s true story of how drunk driving affected her life, further highlighted the importance of her message by showing how a split second of bad decision making can change someone’s life forever.

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms