COLONELS ASSIGNED TO TOP
The dust hasnt settled yet at the troubled Air Force Academy, rocked anew by the latest sex scandal. But already we see that MilitaryCorruption.com was absolutely on target when we predicted (see related story at end of this article) that Commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Taco Gilbert IIIs head would be the first to roll.
Sure enough, he was axed by Air Force Secretary James Bullfrog Roche, whose primary aim was to save his own job.
Two female colonels Debra Gray and Clada Monteith have become the new vice-commandant and commander of the 34th Training Group at the Air Force Academy.
We also were correct when we quoted an inside source at Colorado Springs who told us the motto: BRING US MEN . . . the first words of a Sam Walter Fuss inspirational poem, celebrating the beauty of Colorados mountains and her equally tall men, would be sandblasted off the wall and into oblivion.
Even with Roches politically correct gyrations where was he prior to the revelations many female cadets were assaulted and raped at the AFA (?) the bumbling cabinet member drew fire from sanctimonious Sen. John McCain.
SANCTIMONIOUS SENATOR JOHN McCAIN
Not exactly known as a champion of womens issues in his wild, party days, self-admitted womanizer McCain who, to his credit acknowledged leaving his loyal first wife to marry a beer barons daughter in Arizona and launch a political career was caustic in his criticism of the Air Force secretary.
It is abundantly clear he (Roche) has proven himself totally incapable of handling this issue, McCain piously proclaimed.
The Arizona senator declared Roches response to the sexual misconduct allegations are some of the most incredible evasions of responsibility Ive seen in 40 years of military oversight.
What hyperbole! From what we hear, McCains idea of oversight was greatly different in the years immediately following his graduation at the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.
GILBERT DESERVED BETTER
You cant help but feel sorry, in a way, for Gen. Taco Gilbert III. After all, he was absolutely correct when he gently suggested to Cadet Lisa Ballas that maybe she should have taken a little more responsibility for her own actions.
Ballas is the clueless cadet who cried rape after admitting she downed seven alcoholic drinks playing strip poker at an off-post booze party.
According to testimony at a military hearing, Ballas acknowledged she did indeed get drunk, disrobe, mutually fondle and kiss a male upper classman, and go into a bedroom with him where she claimed the next day she had been raped.
Ballas got traction in her charges against academy leadership when she quoted Gilbert in a local newspaper as reminding her of her need to show responsible judgement.
Actually Gilbert granted her immunity from prosecution for her alcohol infractions a violation of Academy rules and took the case against the male cadet to an Article 32 preliminary hearing.
A hearing officer found that there was insufficient evidence for prosecution and recommended Gilbert not send the case forward for court-martial.
Most people would say Gilbert went out of his way to accommodate Ballas, but she rewarded him by publicly accusing the general of blaming her for the assault.
The moment those charges made the media, Gilberts firing was only a matter of time.
Obviously, Ballass attitude is not conducive to winning much sympathy from fair-minded observers who rightfully abhor the many genuine cases of sexual assault and rape that has indeed taken place at the academy.
A BETTER IMAGE AS AN EXAMPLE
A much better example of what is wrong at Colorado Springs is the case of former cadet Sharon Fullilove.
Daughter of Air Force parents, a straight-A student in high school, active in extra-curricular activities and full of ambition to be a fighter-pilot someday, Sharon was an excellent cadet.
Her life changed for the worse just six months after she arrived at the Air Force Academy. In November 1999, Fullilove joined some fellow cadets watching a movie at a lecture hall on school grounds where no alcohol was allowed.
As Fullilove and three girlfriends were leaving to go back to their quarters, the 19 year old cadet innocently accepted a ride from a fellow upperclassman she knew and considered a friend.
The last to be dropped off, Fullilove was horrified when the friendly male cadet pulled the vehicle off the road, locked the doors, and proceeded to sexually assault her.
Fullilove was traumatized, but didnt dare report the attack. She later left the academy and has begun a new college career at Arizona State University. She remains badly scarred by her ordeal.
Surly this outstanding potential Air Force officer would be a better and more compelling example of a rape victim than self-indulgent Ballas, whos a member of the Senior Class at the AFA.
A SERIES OF SCANDALS AT THE ACADEMY
The Air Force Academys recent history of sex scandals indicates the current problem was long in the making.
In the last few years, an academy chaplain was kicked out after having an affair with a female cadet; a male cadet, David Graham, was convicted of murder in the shooting death of a teenage girl; a female professor at the Colorado Springs facility, Capt. Christine Fioro, was court-martialed for having sex with two of her students; numerous cadets have been busted on drug charges; and one cadet, Robert Ryan Burdge, was court-martialed for sodomizing a 13 year-old girl.
For some reason, certainly not the crisp mountain
air, there are more scandals and misconduct at the Air Force Academy
than Annapolis and West Point combined. Perhaps the next study
commission the politicians call for, should look into why the
Air Force holds that unenviable record.