...a widening sex scandal... has rocked the base, one of the nation's busiest military training centers. Allegations that male instructors had sex with, and in one case raped, female trainees have led to criminal charges against four men. Charges against others are possible.
This is taking place at Lackland Air Force Base, the pride of the USAF training mission. It is the only location where the USAF trains incoming recruits. It looks like the commander, Colonel Glenn Palmer is making attempts to dig deep on this case. He claims it's like a kitty litter box and he won't stop digging until he knows he found all the crap. Which is a good thing because with the recent release of The Invisible War, all eyes are watching the military to see if they can and will live up to their policy of Zero Tolerance:
“THE DEPARTMENT HAS A NO-TOLERANCE
POLICY TOWARD SEXUAL ASSAULT. THIS TYPE
OF ACT NOT ONLY DOES UNCONSCIONABLE
HARM TO THE VICTIM; IT DESTABILIZES THE
WORKPLACE AND THREATENS NATIONAL
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES
This latest scandal is unconscionable. How many young airman have learned that sexual harassment is tolerated from the very instructors that are supposed to teach them about honor and service? This is the ultimate example of "Do as I say, not as I do." Our instructors cannot be individuals that perpetuate this crime.
This begs the question, "How do we get to Zero Tolerance?"
This past Friday, I took my husband and two other Air Force officers, one active duty male, one reserve female, to see The Invisible War. This award winning film is about Military Sexual Trauma and it's long history in our Armed Forces. Make no mistake, this film isn't only about the past but about our present.
My husband had every expectation of shaking his head and saying "We're doing the best we can" before he walked into the film. After seeing the very personal stories of women and men whose lives have been seriously damaged by sexual predators, after seeing fellow military officers try to explain how our sexual harassment training is working, he decided that something needs to change. All three officers who saw the film with me said at the very least it would be beneficial for everyone in the military to see the film. Everyone.
I am not sure how realistic that goal is so I would like to set a goal I think that we can help the military reach. Today, I think we need to call for those who will train our future recruits to see this film. The instructors at Lackland Air Force Base need to be sent a copy and watch it immediately. The training bases of our other Armed Forces should quickly follow suit.
Next, our future commanders should all see this film. Every Air Force captain attending Squadron Officer School, every Air Force major attending Air Command and Staff College, and every Air Force lieutenant colonel attending Air War College should see this film. Multiply by all services.
Who can make this happen? Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the request of his boss, President Obama. With the help of the Whitehouse.gov website, I have started the following petition:
We believe that the Department of Defense should make the film, The Invisible War, required viewing for all future commanders as well as for military personnel who train incoming recruits.Please share this link widely via Facebook and Twitter always using the hashtag #notinvisible. In order to get the Administration's attention, we must gain 25,000 signatures within one month. I can't do it alone.
The current policy of Zero Tolerance is not backed by a realistic training program. This award winning film explains sexual predation in a clear and compelling manner, leaving the viewer with an honest explanation of the problems facing our US service members. Using the DoD's own numbers, the film makes a direct connection between incapable Commanders and incidents of rape. It is time for those taking on the responsibility of command and of those training our new recruits to understand what they are up against. This film is a perfect tool to begin the process.
A dozen instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas are now suspected of assaulting female recruits.
Allegations of sexual misconduct between instructors and cadets began there last summer, and now the Pentagon has ordered a comprehensive strategic review of the entire Air Force training community.
The widespread criminal investigation is looking into the possibility that cases of sexual misconduct extend beyond Lackland.
Investigators are looking at four Air Force bases in two states.
Since allegations of misconduct began, 35 military instructors have been removed from their posts. Four have been accused.
Master Sgt. Jamey Crawford was charged with having a sexual relationship with a basic trainee, giving her alcohol and committing adultery. Tech. Sgt. Christopher Smith was charged with trying to develop a sexual relationship with a trainee, making advances toward her, having a personal social relationship with a second woman and obstructing justice.
No trial date has been set for the two, who were both instructors in Lackland's 331st Training Squadron.
3:15 PM PT: Air Education and Training Command posts announcement:
Sexual assault is a crimehttp://www.aetc.af.mil/...
Sexual assault is a crime that degrades values, disrupts readiness, undermines goodwill and forever changes the lives of victims and their families.
As if the troops don't already know this. Perpetrators know that this is a crime and they also know the likelihood of getting away with said crime. It's time to start treating the perpetrators like criminals. Arrest them, get them in jail, and prosecute to the full extent of the law.