EDITOR’S NOTE: Early this afternoon, I received an unsolicited message from a retired Air Force officer. With her permission, I share it (below) with only minor modifications, mostly related to formatting:
First, let me thank you for taking on the issues you do. I have read many articles regarding the “sexual assault/exploitation” of women in the military (AF lately), and shake my head in disbelief.
I was a Commissioned Officer (Ret O-5) for 23 years in the Air Force. While flirting certainly did go on, never once did I ever feel threatened [sic], in any way. I have known (military and civilian) women who were far from saintly and would do things out of vindictiveness to destroy a spurned lover’s career, including lying.
In the military, I spent time overseas, as well as living in field conditions during the Iraq War (I am a nurse) where there were about 100 women and 3000 men in our camp. I always felt our senior leaders were very protective of us. I am not implying that sexual assault does not go on. It does and it needs to be dealt with no different than the civilian system. I do not however, believe it is the rampant issue that the media would lead one to believe.
It seems that to be a male in the military implies instant guilt when a female makes an accusation of sexual-anything. I find this very disturbing. It is akin to the old “witch hunts.” The accused men deserve the same defense as those tried in a civilian court, and I’m not convinced that is happening.
When I read the reports re: General Craig Franklin, I immediately knew that if General Franklin felt like the accused was innocent, he did what he needed to do, irregardless of what is politically correct (Sen. Claire McCaskill). My husband and I have been acquaintances with General Franklin professionally for many years. You will not meet a man with a deeper sense of loyalty and integrity than him.
It disgusts me that people such as Senator McCaskill are making an issue of a decision he was entitled to make and did so according to his knowledge and his integrity. I applaud him for do the “right” thing, not the current “politically correct” one.
Thank you for taking a stand on behalf of those who may otherwise have no support.
Charlotte J. Fulton
Read more about the kinds of cases to which she’s referring in my series, DoD’s War on Men.
FYI: In case you don’t think I have a heart, let me share a story. When I was a young second lieutenant on my first assignment in the Air Force, I had to handle a sexual assault case. A senior enlisted member of my staff had attempted to sexually assault a junior enlisted member of my staff inside her on-base quarters. After an investigation, he was able to avoid court-martial proceedings by accepting a demotion, a sizable reduction in retirement pay and an immediate and sizable financial penalty. The accuser was satisfied with the outcome, and justice was served.