Fort Benning Drill Sergeants Suspended Amid Multiple Sexual Assault Allegations

U.S. Army photo

A lone report from a female trainee of an alleged sexual assault by an Army drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Georgia, has led to the suspension of a group of drill sergeants amid a broad investigation into multiple sexual assault allegations, the branch announced on Aug. 23.

The investigation at Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence began after one female trainee claimed that she was sexually assaulted by a drill sergeant. An initial review by Army investigators indicated there may have been multiple incidences of “sexual misconduct” involving trainees and drill sergeants, according to Stars and Stripes.

At this point it’s unclear how many training instructors have been suspended, or how many trainees raised assault allegations. The news, first reported by U.S. Army W.T.F.! Moments on Aug. 22, was confirmed by Army Times the next day.

“We take these allegations very seriously, and we will ensure a full and thorough investigation of the facts,” the Army told The Washington Post in a statement.“Our initial actions are to ensure the safety and welfare of all of our Soldiers.  The drill sergeants have been suspended from drill sergeant duties, and will have no contact with trainees during the course of the investigation.”

The news comes just months after the first female infantry soldiers graduated in May from Fort Benning, where infantry and armor soldiers are trained.

The case is the latest allegation of misconduct between instructors and their charges at a training command. An Army drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri was convicted of multiple incidents of sexual assault against female trainees in 2015, in which case the “service ultimately found that some of the drill sergeant’s peers were aware of sexual misconduct but decided not to report it,” according to the Washington Post.

Related: The Rise And Fall (And Rise) Of ‘Marines United’ »

In addition, the Marine Corps became embroiled in a hazing scandal at Recruit Depot Parris Island, following the death of Marine recruit Pvt. Raheel Siddiqui, in March 2016. Subsequent investigations unearthed incidents where a recruit was ordered into an industrial dryer, and another incident where a recruit was forced to exercise on a bleach-covered floor, which caused severe chemical burns.

“There is no place for sexual harassment or sexual assault in our Army,” a spokesperson for the branch told Stars and Stripes in a statement. “Our Army remains committed to maintaining a values-based climate, intolerant of these acts, and to respond appropriately when accusations are made.”


Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra

Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.

However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:

Read More

You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.

Read More

A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.

Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.

"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."

Read More

Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.

Read More
Protesters and militia fighters gather to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019. (Reuters/Thaier al-Sudani)

With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.

"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Read More