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The List: Military scandals

- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 8, 2011

While the vast majority of our men and women in the armed forces serve admirably, there are times when damaging headlines, such as those concerning events on the USS Enterprise recently, cast aspersions on the many who are in uniform. The List this weeks looks a some noted scandals involving the military.

  • USS Enterprise —  The Navy is investigating raunchy comedy videos featuring Capt. Owen Honors and shown to the 6,000 crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise four years ago, when Capt. Honors was second in command. Capt. Honors later became commander of the ship but was permanently removed from that position on Jan. 4 because of his role in producing the videos.
  • WikiLeaks — Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, 23, is being held on charges that he illegally obtained thousands of classified documents and turned them over to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in what might be the biggest security breach in U.S. history.
  • Lamar Owens  — In 2006, former U.S. Naval Academy star quarterback Midshipman Lamar Owens was acquitted of rape charges but found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer. Mr. Owens is a football coach at Georgia Tech.
  • Abu Ghraib —  A group of soldiers from the 372nd Military Police Battalion were charged with abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq following the 2003 invasion. Eleven soldiers were convicted in courts-martial, and two, Spc. Charles Graner and his former fiancee, Spc. Lynndie England, were sentenced to 10 years and three years in prison, respectively, in 2005. The New York Times devoted more than 50 Page One stories to the prison abuse.
  • Air Force Academy sexual-assault scandal —  In 2003, several women at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado said they had been sexually assaulted by fellow cadets and had been ignored or scolded by commanders when they reported the incidents. A Pentagon task force subsequently reported finding hostile attitudes and inappropriate treatment of women at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the Naval Academy.
  • Kelly Flinn —  She was the first female B-52 pilot in the United States Air Force. Ms. Flinn was discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1997 after being charged with making a false statement, adultery and disobeying orders. Ms. Flinn, then a first lieutenant, faced a court-martial for military charges of adultery with a soccer coach at Minot Air Force Base who was married to a female enlisted subordinate. She was allowed to resign to avoid the court-martial and was given a general discharge.
  • Gen. Joseph Ralston —  The Air Force general was Defense Secretary William S. Cohen's pick for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1997, but withdrew from consideration after the disclosure that he had had an adulterous affair.
  • Aberdeenscandal —  The Aberdeen scandal was a military sex scandal in 1996 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a U.S. Army post in Maryland. The Army brought charges against 12 instructors for sexual assault on female trainees under their command. Nearly 50 women made sexual-abuse charges, including 26 rape accusations. One instructor was cleared. The remaining 11 were either convicted at court-martial or punished administratively.
  • Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy —  The highest-ranking female officer in Army history, Gen. Kennedy made headlines in 2000 when she accused Army Maj. Gen. Larry G. Smith of sexual harassment for an incident in 1996. Gen. Smith said he had hugged Gen. Kennedy and given her a light kiss on the cheek as he concluded a visit with his friend and colleague. She charged he had grabbed her and forced a kiss. Gen. Smith received a reprimand and was forced into retirement after 34 years. Gen. Kennedy said she made the accusations after Gen. Smith was picked to be the deputy inspector general, a job that would put him in charge of all investigations into personnel misconduct.
  • Okinawa rape incident —  A sailor and two Marines from Camp Hansen, a Marine Corps base on Okinawa, Japan, were found guilty of kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old Japanese girl in September 1995. All three served seven years in a Japanese prison. The people of Okinawa also placed a full-page ad in the New York Times decrying the rape and other aspects of the U.S. bases in Okinawa.
  • Tailhook scandal —  At the annual Tailhook Association Symposium at Las Vegas in September 1991, 26 Navy and civilian women allegedly were sexually abused by Navy and Marine officers. Hundreds of Navy fliers attended the convention to celebrate the military's performance in the Persian Gulf War a few months earlier. But the gathering was marred by drunken and lewd behavior by some fliers, sparking a full-blown investigation by the Pentagon inspector general.
  • USS Acadia  —  During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the press branded the destroyer tender USS Acadia the "Love Boat" after 36 sailors - 10 percent of the women aboard - became pregnant during the 7 months the giant repair ship was deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. The ship's 1,250-person crew included 360 women.
  • Okinawa war killings —  In July 1945, three young Marines went missing in Okinawa. The Marine Corps listed the three, all 19 years old and black, as possible deserters. More than 50 years later, their bodies were found in a riverside cave. Locals revealed that the Marines had been beaten to death by villagers for allegedly raping and brutalizing women in the village of Katsuyama. Their bodies were hidden until 1998, when police acting on a tip from an Okinawan man with a "guilty conscience" found the remains.
  • Newport sex scandal —  An investigation into homosexual contacts between Navy personnel and the civilian population in 1919 in Newport, R.I., led to 17 being charged for "scandalous conduct". The investigative techniques used by the Navy caused a national scandal. Future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was the assistant secretary of the Navy, was rebuked by a congressional committee for his mishandling of the investigation.

Compiled by John Haydon

Sources: The Washington Times, the Providence Journal (Rhode Island), the New York Times, Stars and Stripes, New York Daily News, Associated Press and Wikipedia.

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