Team Hill's Deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, or SARC, recently returned from Iraq leaving it a better place for the service members who deployed there.
Capt. Rita Nolan is the Hill AFB Deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, or SARC. Nolan's main duty is to deploy as a SARC, which she did Sept. 11, 2010, to March 13, 2011, with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. During her time in Iraq, Nolan set new standards for incoming SARCs. In late September, Nolan was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for her accomplishments while deployed.
During her time, Nolan was the point of contact for all sexual assault related issues for all Airmen within Iraq. Her training sessions and awareness and prevention campaigns were spread across five bases and three geographically separated units. She would routinely travel by helicopter to these different areas all over the country.
Nolan trained over 70 victim advocates, fellow military members who walk alongside the victims through the process. She worked on cases between service members, between service members and civilians, between different branch members and between the nationals and service members.
Nolan was recognized for implementing the first ever Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program for multinational contractors. She saw the need for the program after Nolan said she would run into issues in cases with multinational contractors because of cross-cultural misunderstandings.
In addition to the programs she enforced and standards she implemented, Nolan represented the Air Force at the U.S. Forces Iraq Sexual Assault Review Board. She said a difficulty she ran into while deployed was working with other services' sexual assault prevention programs, as they vary from branch to branch. Nolan said one of the difficult parts of her job was to deal with cases that involved parties within two different military branches. Trying to work together to deal with the case proved a challenging task for her because of the varying protocols and procedures.
"One of my goals was to get the services to work together," said Nolan. "Our objective is the same."
As she wrapped up her experiences, she talked about the 20 years she's been in the Air Force, "excited to be a part of positive social change."