Inexcusable in our Air Force

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton
  • Commander, 45th Space Wing
Earlier this month, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force Chief of Staff, sent a memo to all commanders and command chiefs deploring the number of sexual assaults. With the expected numbers to be in the neighborhood of 700 this year alone, he is demanding leaders to get personally involved to stem this tide.

The sad reality is the real numbers are much higher than those that are actually reported.

He asked us to "get mad" about this, and emphasized to all of us that the only real acceptable number is ZERO.

At Team Patrick-Cape, commanders and leaders at all levels have been personally involved but we must do more. Sexual assault is a crime. Mothers and fathers have entrusted us to care for their children.

Any sexual assault or sexual harassment is absolutely inexcusable in our Air Force! And just so there is no confusion, any Airman who thinks they are somehow above the law will quickly find out that is not the case. You will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

We also expect anyone who either witnesses or allows such behavior to go on, to intervene. If you feel that corrective action needs to be taken, take the corrective action. We cherish our core values of integrity, service and excellence, and this kind of deplorable behavior chews away at the very fabric of who we are.

Put what you have learned during your bystander intervention training to use. Do not stand by and allow predators to prey on innocent victims.

The Secretary of the Air Force had this to say earlier this month:

"Sexual assault is a crime and is categorically unacceptable. It is incompatible with our core values, it is harmful to our people and it makes us a less effective fighting force. We need to crack down on this harder than ever to get this out of our culture."

There is work to be done! We need to work together and attack this issue head on. As a parent, would you expect anything less?

Let's take care of one another, Sharks!