1. The Army faces yet another potentially embarrassing scandal with the investigation of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Miley, the commander of the Alaska Army National Guard’s 49th Missile Defense Battalion in Alaska.
The new complaints come on top of an earlier investigation for Miley promoting a WWII-style pin-up calendar with photos of his wife and female soldiers in pinup model. (See #2)
Miley advised subordinates in a Jan. 4 meeting that adultery isn’t punishable under military law, ignoring Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which states that adultery is a criminal offense if the affair is prejudicial to maintaining good order and discipline.
“The modern military is an environment where sexual misconduct is commonplace,” Miley said at the meeting, according to comments cited in the e-mail and confirmed by one of the people who was in the audience. Bloomberg News obtained a copy of the e-mail, which was unsigned, and the account was confirmed by three people who worked on the base and are familiar with the events.
2. In September 2012 the Army Times newspaper reported that pinup calendars like the one connected to the first investigation of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Miley are not unique. Other military units have sold calendars of military spouses and soldiers to raise money for charities including the American Cancer Society’s ‘Relay For Life’ and veterans’ programs.
It was determined by the military chain of command that while the photo of Mrs. Tracy Miley is risqué, it’s not pornographic. The photo was taken for charity and considered a private matter.
“Somebody needs to get a life,” said Patsy Ewing, co-owner of a local bar in Fort Greely, Alaska. “I have seen the whole thing, and I thought it was nice, tasteful retro pin-up girls.”
Model Gina Elise, of the Pin-ups For Vets nonprofit, which raises money for many veterans-related causes said that many military wives give pin-up photos to their husbands.
Army wives at Fort Benning, Ga., created a nostalgia-themed 2010 calendar for the Wounded Warrior Project, and wives at Fort Bliss, Texas, sent a sexy calendar to their husbands in 2011.
3. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke at West Point Military Academy graduation on Saturday, calling the increasing reports of sexual assault a “scourge” on the military. Urging the Army’s newest officers to help build “a culture of respect and dignity” in the armed forces, Hagel said that sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military are “a profound betrayal of sacred oaths and sacred trusts.”
Acknowledging budget cuts that are forcing the “Army — along with all our other services — to curtail training and cancel exercises”, the secretary continued “Meanwhile, other threats to the health and quality of the all-volunteer force are increasing — alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and mental illness, sexual harassment and sexual assault.
It was revealed recently that a sergeant responsible for advising cadets had been charged with secretly videotaping 12 West Point women naked in the bathroom or in the showers. See #4
On Friday President Obama delivered a commencement speech at the US Military Academy urging graduates to follow their “inner compass” and understand that the rising numbers of sexual assaults in the military threatened to erode America’s faith in the armed forces.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael McClendon faces numerous charges for allegedly gathering inappropriate photos and videos of women at the US Military Academy at West Point — charges which were discovered by the New York Times but not officially announced by the US Army. The paper says it “learned of the inquiry from several current and former members of the West Point community who said they were alarmed by the allegations and wanted to learn of the academy’s plans to investigate and prevent future violations.”
The Army has contacted the female cadets and offered them counseling. The sergeant first class has served int he Army since 1990 and was deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and 2007 to 2009.
Concerns have arisen that although McClendon was assigned alternate military duties, largely unspecified, in May 2012, the Army delayed charging him. According to Army officials, the delay is associated with the effort of recovering forensic evidence and complexities associated with the case.
Critics say the delay demonstrates the military’s ongoing lack of action in addressing the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment among its ranks.
5. Brig. Gen Bryan Roberts, the Army’s top general at Fort Jackson, has been suspended over allegations of assault and adultery. A 29-year veteran who previously served as head of a unit training Iraqi soldiers, Roberts has been replaced at the South Carolina base with Brig. Gen. Peggy Combs, Commandant of the US Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, will take over as interim commander while the investigation is ongoing.
NBC News reported that the altercation involved Roberts and the woman he allegedly cheated on his wife with, and that the two were involved in a violent argument. After making up, Roberts allegedly bit the woman’s lip, which caused her to seek medical help, a US military official told the news agency.
Fort Jackson conducts basic training for 60% of the Army’s incoming women recruits.
Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News Sunday today: “I want to salute the women who serve and are putting up with too much crap,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “This needs to end. When a victim comes forward, they should have an advocate to walk them through the military justice system. And commanders who allow this to continue to flourish, quite frankly, should be fired.”