Health & Safety

January 24, 2013

Air Force officials aim to eliminate sexual assault

Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Following a nine-month investigation into sexual misconduct at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, the Air Force has implemented a comprehensive program aimed at eliminating sexual assault, senior Air Force leaders told Congress today.

Air Force Chief Of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Air Force Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., the commander of the service’s Air Education and Training Command, spoke before the House Armed Services Committee about the Air Force’s recently completed internal investigation.

Describing the crimes as “stunning,” Welsh said there could be no excuses. “There’s no justifiable explanation, and there is no way we can allow this to happen again,” he said.

“The Air Force goal for sexual assault is not simply to lower the number. The goal is zero,” Welsh added. “It’s the only acceptable objective. The impact on every victim, their family, their friends [and] the other people in their unit is heart-wrenching, and attacking this cancer is a full-time job, and we are giving it our full attention.”

The effort includes an Air Force-wide health and welfare inspection, held in December, the results of which are publicly available, Welsh said. Also last month, Welsh used his monthly “Letter to Airmen” to reinforce “that obscene, vulgar or disrespectful images, songs or so-called ‘traditions’ are not part of our heritage and will not be accepted as part of our culture.”

In addition, a Recruiting Education and Training Oversight Council will be established, Rice said, to review and advise any current or future actions undertaken to eliminate sexual assault. The council also will provide advice on strategic issues affecting airman safety and the maintenance of good order and discipline in basic military training, he added.

More than 7,700 interviews were conducted as part of the investigation, Rice said. When contact information was available, anyone who graduated from basic military training within the past 10 years was interviewed, he added.

“Although we have conducted a 10-year look back, the vast majority of the allegations are of alleged misconduct that occurred over the past three years,” Rice said.

Allegations ranged from sexual assault to inappropriate contact with former students, Rice said. Each victim or alleged victim was offered “the full range of available victim support services,” he added.

Of the 855 personnel assigned as military training instructors during this three-year period, 32 — less than 4 percent — have been disciplined or are now under investigation, Rice said.

“I believe it is important to underscore that the vast majority of our instructors served with distinction in a very demanding duty assignment,” Rice said. “That said, it is completely unacceptable to us that so many of our instructors have committed crimes or violated our policies, and we clearly failed in our responsibility to maintain good order and discipline among too many of our instructors in basic military training.”

Maintaining good order and discipline is one of the most important and fundamental responsibilities of command, Rice said, one that “cannot be delegated.”

With that in mind, Air Force officials are focusing their efforts on helping commanders meet this “fundamental responsibility,” he said.

“The Air Force has recommitted itself to ensuring that every airman is treated with respect,” Welsh said. “It’s not a one-time fix. It has to be a way of life.”

With “no room for misunderstanding,” Welsh said, every Air Force supervisor and commander must be actively engaged in this effort. “If they don’t get actively engaged, I consider them part of the problem,” he added.

While it is still early, Rice said, it appears that the Air Force’s efforts are making an impact. There have been no reports of sexual misconduct in basic military training in the past seven months, he noted. “We know this is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning of a journey that can never end,” he said.

“The American people trust us with their greatest treasure: their sons and daughters,” Welsh said. “They expect us to lead them with honor, to value each of them, and to treat them as if they were our own. We do not have a greater responsibility than that.

“I will never stop attacking this problem. … The United States Air Force leadership team will never quit working to eliminate this horrible crime from the ranks of our Air Force,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)

PASM and AMARG set new record

The Pima Air and Space Museum and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group set a new record for tours administered in the month of July. The non-profit museum and D-M’s “Boneyard” brought in 2,060 visitors, ...
 
 

Help make it possible

D-M is preparing to kickoff its annual Combined Federal Campaign Sept. 1. The CFC’s mission is to give federal employees the opportunity to promote philanthropy by supporting their favorite charities. There are more than 3000 national and international charities for federal employees to choose from. “Now, D-M members can give to any charity in the...
 
 

MAC celebrates 85th anniversary

The Tucson Metro Chamber Military Affairs Committee celebrated its 85th anniversary earlier this month. The MAC became a standing committee of the Tucson Metro Chamber in 1929. At that time, the Chamber’s Aviation Committee was responsible for the Pilot’s Register at Davis-Monthan Aviation Field, the first municipal aviation field in the United States. “I think...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force earns majority of federal energy awards

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) — It’s a banner year for the Air Force with the Department of Energy recently announcing that service won a lion’s share of 2014 Federal Energy Management Program awards. The Air Fo...
 
 

Nominees sought for Joan Orr spouse, Verne Orr ward

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Air Force Personnel Center officials are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Air Force Association Joan Orr Air Force Spouse of the Year Award and the 2015 AFA Verne Orr Award. The Joan Orr award honors significant contributions made by non-military spouses of Air Force military members. The...
 
 

Airmen encouraged to vote, obey AFI on political activities

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — As the political season approaches, we should all be encouraged to do our civic duty and go out and vote. However, as an Air Force member, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here is a short noninclusive list to help you determine what is or is...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin