SAAPM Proclamation - Zacchino wb.JPG

Col. James Zacchino Jr., Fort Drum garrison commander, signs the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month proclamation April 11 during a town hall meeting attended by civilian employees. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Fort Drum garrison leaders affirm commitment to preventing sexual assault, harassment

Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 11, 2023) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), and installations across the Department of Defense are reinforcing yearround efforts to create safer communities that are free from harassment and sexual violence.

Representatives from the Fort Drum garrison pledged their commitment toward that vision with the SAAPM proclamation signing April 11 during a town hall meeting.

“This is something I truly believe in,” said Col. James Zacchino Jr., Fort Drum garrison commander. “Sexual assault and harassment are not tolerated in the workplace. It goes against dignity and respect and how we are supposed to treat each other.”

Zacchino said that it is easy to say that sexual violence must be eradicated. However, the challenge is getting everyone to do their part in preventing, intervening, and raising awareness on these issues.

“The one thing I ask everyone to do is support me on this, because it is a team effort,” he said. “I can rant, kick and scream all day long from the top of a hill, but if the rest of the team isn’t with me on this then we will never reduce the toxicity that comes from sexual assault and harassment.”

Zacchino said that he stands by his belief that Fort Drum is the best garrison in the Army, but it is not immune to problematic behavior in the workplace.

“We don’t ever want the opportunity for sexual assault or harassment to enter our organization at all,” he said. “At the end of the day, it starts with me, but I look to all of you to help me get after it.”

Nichol Borland, garrison sexual assault response coordinator, encouraged town hall attendees to sign the proclamation and take an “I’m In” T-shirt they can wear every Friday in April to show their SAAPM support.

“Like our garrison commander said, it starts with you,” Borland said. “So, thank you for being part of the solution in eliminating sexual assault and harassment.”

A week earlier, the 1st Brigade Combat Team recognized the SAAPM campaign with a cake-cutting ceremony at the Warrior Inn Dining Facility. Col. Brian Ducote, 1st BCT commander, spoke to Soldiers about the importance of trust, inclusion, and safety within the unit.

“If you want to leverage the full potential of any organization, everybody has to feel like they are included, everyone feels like they have value and a contribution to make,” he said. “So, let’s take a moment to recognize what we do every single day to protect the dignity and honor of every single teammate we have.”

Community members can find Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) resources at the Garrison SHARP Office in the Soldier and Family Readiness Center, Bldg. 10250 on 4th Armored Division Drive, or at the 10th Mountain Division SHARP Resource Center in Bldg. 10013 on South Riva Ridge Loop.

The Fort Drum 24/7 Hotline is available at (315) 767-6128. The Department of Defense SAFE Helpline, at 1-877-995-5247, also can provide timely assistance. To learn more, visit