NEWS | April 3, 2020

Pa. National Guard Soldier brings home top award

By Brad Rhen

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – A Pennsylvania National Guard Soldier recently brought home a top award from the Army SHARP Academy at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Master Sgt. John Paul Karpovich, who works full time as the noncommissioned officer in charge of the G1 operations section at the PNG’s Joint Force Headquarters at Fort Indiantown Gap, received the SHARP Spirit Award at the conclusion of the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator/Victim Advocate Career Course on March 6.

The award recognizes a graduate, selected by both peers and instructors, whose professionalism, academic achievement and course contributions embody the spirit of the SHARP – or Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention – Academy.

“I was honored to be selected by my classmates for this award,” Karpovich said. “I was surprised to hear I would be recognized during the graduation ceremony and that my name would be placed on a plaque that hangs on the third floor of the SHARP Academy.”

In addition to his high academic average, Karpovich also provided motivation and sometimes an inspirational story prior to the start of class in the mornings. He also helped organize Super Bowl and professional boxing match watch parties.

Angelo L. Hernandez, the Pennsylvania National Guard’s sexual assault response coordinator, said winning the Spirit Award is a huge accomplishment. Hernandez noted that the class was attended by full-time SARC's, health care professionals and other agency representatives that do this job full-time while it is a collateral duty for Karpovich.

“Winning this award tells me that he takes victim care very seriously and has the experience to add valuable information into a training,” Hernandez said. “This award also tells me that he is transparent, and for the other students to acknowledge his attributes, that tells me he was being Master Sgt. Karpovich, an inspiration as a victim advocate representing the Pennsylvania National Guard, but also one heck of a human being.”

The SHARP Academy trains and educates Army sexual assault response coordinators, victim advocates, SHARP trainers and program managers.

The SARC/VA Career Course is a six-week course that studies a variety of topics, including the history of victims’ rights advocacy and assistance, fundamentals of prevention, sexual harassment intervention techniques, sexual harassment complaint processing, response to victims of sexual assault, sexual assault reporting and processing sexual harassment complaints.

The course was attended by 31 other students, including active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers and civilians.

“Each of us who graduated the course is now better prepared to help the Department of Defense prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Karpovich said.

Karpovich has been a victim advocate since 2005, first at the battalion level with 1/109th Field Artillery, then at the brigade level with the 55th Brigade Combat Team (now the 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) and the 213th Regional Support Group.

He is currently the victim advocate at the PNG Joint Force Headquarters but was recently selected to be the 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade’s sexual assault response coordinator. He is scheduled to deploy with the brigade later this year.

Hernandez said it is an “absolute privilege” to have Karpovich serve as one of his victim advocates.

“One of the most important roles of a VA is being approachable and others feeling comfortable with talking to you,” Hernandez said. “Master Sgt. Karpovich is a there to listen and advise and no matter how much rank he acquires. He is never too proud to ask questions on anything SAPR related to assist the field.”

Karpovich has been in the Pennsylvania National Guard for 26 years. He currently resides in Hunlock Creek, Luzerne County, with his wife, Tavelynn, and their two children, Georgia and Hailey.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Lt. Col. Keith Hickox (717) 861-6254, or e-mail ng.pa.paarng.list.pao@mail.mil