- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A former Alaska National Guard soldier said he told his chain of command about misconduct in the Guard more than seven years before the federal Department of Defense issued a report detailing allegations of sexual assault, abuse of power and cover-ups.

But his superiors failed to act on his concerns, Lt. Col. Kenneth Blaylock told KTUU (https://bit.ly/1p1Zqfp). So in 2010, Blaylock summarized and submitted them to the governor’s office and Anchorage police.

He said his concerns weren’t taken seriously until he met investigators from the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau. He said he was labeled a crackpot by adjutant general Maj. Gen. Thomas Katkus.

“Essentially, anything I tried to bring forward after that was muddied because my name was attached to it. I had a lot of people who basically wouldn’t talk to me, including in law enforcement,” Blaylock said.

Blaylock was heading the recruitment and retention division when he noticed the Guard was paying for the same advertising twice.

He said in 2007 he alerted the Guard’s deputy chief of staff and personnel, Catherine Jorgensen, and Katkus (before he was promoted to adjutant general) of his suspicions soldiers were misusing recruiting and retention account funds.

“We only had one product for advertising, and yet we were paying for it more than twice. The money was going somewhere it didn’t need to go to,” Blaylock said.

When asked to comment on the Guard’s policy on credit card charges, a Guard spokeswoman sent this statement:

“We are redirecting our efforts from looking into anonymous and/or unsubstantiated claims that lack detail, and that we are unable to verify,” wrote Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead. “There are a broad range of requests, and we feel it is counterproductive to address these allegations and claims stemming from individual complaints. Our priority is to focus on the way forward and to work on developing and communicating plans to correct past issues.”

Blaylock said he was forced to retire in 2012 after serving nearly 30 years in the National Guard.

The Department of Defense’s Office of Complex Investigations prepared the report on allegations of sexual assault and fraud at Gov. Sean Parnell’s request. The governor released the report, which found victims do not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command, last month.

Parnell said he requested and received Katkus’ resignation. Parnell said the buck stopped with Katkus.


Information from: KTUU-TV, https://www.ktuu.com



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