In Air Force news, a sexual scandal continues. Dozens of military instructors at a United States Air Force Base in Texas are under investigation for sexual misconduct. Investigators now say that more than thirty female recruits have come forward. They have claimed to have been sexually victimized at the base by their male instructors. The most recent news involving the scandal came just days ago when Col. Glenn Palmer, the top commander at Lackland Air Force Base, was let go.
Top Commander Palmer Dismissed From His Duties
Col. Glenn Palmer, dismissed just last week, was the top commander at the 737th training group. He was responsible for overseeing basic training at the Texas Air Force base for all new American Airmen. At this time Palmer is not expected to face any criminal charges. The 37th training wing spokeswoman, Collen McGee has said the reason Col. Palmer was relieved was because Col. Eric Axelbank had lost confidence that Col. Palmer was able to maintain a safe training environment for airmen in training.
History of The Air Force Scandal
The first allegations began about one year ago and to date the Air Force sex scandal has led to numerous criminal charges. Charges have included everything from sexual assault to rape. Several instructors have already been tried and sentenced. Topping the list was the sentencing of Staff Sgt. Luis Walker. He was found guilty of multiple charges including sexual assault and rape. He is facing a 20 year prison sentence.
Other convictions and pleas have not been as severe. This past June staff Sgt. Peter Vega-Maldonado pleaded guilty of inappropriate sexual relations and received a reduced sentence when he agreed to be a prosecuting witness. Technical Sgt. Christopher Smith received a sentence this month and will serve 30 days in jail and have his rank reduced.
More to Come in Air Force News
The scandal is far from being over as several more trials are pending and more charges could be forthcoming. Investigations are still underway for more than 30 additional instructors. Many have been relieved of their duties while the investigation takes place. Not since 1996 when an Army base was investigated and dozens of officers were charged with sexual assault has the US military been faced with such a scandal.
Looking to The Future
With more women entering into the services today, some are questioning whether or not changes need to be made. The US Department of Defense recently released a report that showed 4.4 percent of women serving in the military, in the past 12 months, had received unwanted sexual advances. Many believe this number is quite low.
In response to the scandal the Air Force is looking at what some consider drastic measures. One consideration is to have all female training units. These units would be commanded by only female trainers. Many think this goes too far and question whether or not this would really be a viable solution.
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