Base Sexual Assault Response coordinator finds her calling
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- A young girl coming from a family of military service dreamed of being a super hero. More than anything, she wanted to help humankind and save the world.
"I definitely wanted, in some capacity, to serve humanity whether in the Air Force or working with the United Nations," said 1st Lt. Diana Wong, 36th Wing sexual assault response coordinator. "I want to be in a job that is fulfilling and really an extension of my value system."
In fifth grade, Wong's father, who retired as an Air Force chief master sergeant after serving for 30 years, brought the U.S. Air Force Academy to her attention. He wanted her to find something that she was passionate about and would help her find a way to reach her life-long goals.
Wong longed for the challenge; she was prepared for the journey. She left home for the Academy at the age of 17.
After four years at the Academy, Wong felt a rush of relief. She had accomplished a great personal feat and now had even more responsibility. She understood that she had a high standard to uphold for the Air Force and she wanted to make her family proud.
After serving as a food service officer for three years at the force support squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., she decided to take her career to the next level and take on the special duty as a SARC, which would lead her one an adventure at a new base: Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
This may be Wong's third time living on Guam, mostly as a result of her military upbringing, but it is her first opportunity to serve in her own capacity and make a difference as a SARC. She was finally fulfilling her goal of helping people.
"It is very rewarding to see a perception change in people after they have learned the truths about sexual assault as well as helping victims in their time of need," Wong said. "I enjoy being a SARC because I am able to run my own shop and I have trust from higher leadership to execute this program."
Wong and her shop, to include one full-time victim advocate, one alternate SARC and eight volunteer victim advocates are tasked with reaching out to numerous people about sexual assault while also ensuring they are informed and trained on the prevention of sexual assault. Having the opportunity to train a large amount of personnel gives her the ability to help more people by connecting with different agencies and deployed service members.
She said she aspires for the education she provides to Andersen to be more than just a briefing. Her goal is to not only alter people's perspectives, but permanently change their behaviors as a whole starting with mutual dignity and respect.
"I want people to realize that they can take control," Wong said. "You are not alone; there is always someone there to help."
In her first few weeks on Guam for her new assignment, she was paying that same respect to a fallen service member who gave his life in war. She came to the understanding that undergoing trauma is an internal war. She makes an effort to bring traumatized individuals the closure they need and help them recover.
"At that moment, I realized that the war shouldn't be within each other or within the units. The real war is what killed this man," Wong said while fighting back tears. "In order to win the war we need to be at peace with each other. This job gives me hope that we are getting closer to achieving that peace and seeking justice for those voiceless victims."
For more information about Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, call 366-SARC (7272).
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