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Report: Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey Protected Military Harasser
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey may have retired in 2015, but the skeletons in his footlocker aren’t done with him just yet.
Shortly before his ascension to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dempsey intervened to protect a high-ranking Army officer from punishment for, among other things, inappropriate sexual behavior with female subordinates, according to a March 9 report in USA Today. While Dempsey used his JCS post to decry sexual assault pervading the armed forces, his reported favoritism remained “largely a dirty secret within the military” — until now.
According to a September 2010 Army inspector general report the newspaper obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Dempsey intervened in the case of then-Maj. Gen. John Custer, who faced demotion for lying about an “inappropriate” relationship with a woman, in which he “made his staff buy sexy clothing for her, subjected his underlings to racist and sexist emails and allowed himself to be photographed with another woman licking the medals on his formal dress uniform.” As USA Today’s investigation found, Dempsey personally prevented inspecting officers from punishing Custer for allegations the inspectors said were proven true:
At the beginning of the executive summary, the report says "SUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATION AND CONCLUSION: MG Custer engaged in an inappropriate relationship."
“Evidence of their relationship included: his statement in December 2007 that ‘I love her and want to be with her'; his testimony that he was at one point ‘infatuated’ with her when his own marriage was in trouble; his coded use of email communications and deception to conceal her identity; several meetings with her for dinner or other events during temporary duty trips; use of his (name redacted) to facilitate their relationship and shopping for clothing and giving her jewelry, which he stated was ‘romantic or erotic to me.’ ”
The report was signed by Lt. Gen. R. Steven Whitcomb, the Army inspector general, and Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's No. 2 officer.
But the substantiated allegation of the inappropriate relationship, prohibited by military law, never reached the board considering whether he should lose rank in retirement. Dempsey had it stricken from the report.
While Dempsey was vocal about officer misconduct during his time as JCS chief (he sent four-star officers a memo in 2012 in the aftermath of a chain of incidents that garnered national news coverage), his protection of Custer — who remained eligible for a $162,000-a-year O-8 retirement pension — “shows how the top brass’ public pronouncements of zero tolerance for sexual misconduct don't match the private, preferential treatment they offer to one of their own,” as USA Today put it. “The Army inspector general’s report, not released until this year and obtained by the paper through the Freedom of Information Act, showed Custer’s cavalier regard for investigators’ questions. At times, he dismissed their concerns with laughs, and, at others, offered answers about his relationship with women and denials of having sex that investigators deemed 'not credible.'"
The USA Today report comes in the wake of the “Marines United” nude photo-sharing scandal that’s rocked the Marine Corps, casting a pall of misogyny and sexism over the armed forces in the eyes of many civilians and vets. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, in a recorded video message this week, delivered a harsh condemnation of the Marines involved in the MU saga, but the Dempsey report leaves us asking: When is talk just talk, and when will senior brass actually walk the walk?
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
Confessions Of An Apache Pilot: What It's Like To Fly The Military's Most Heavily Armed Attack Helicopter
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
While this Patrick Stewart quote may be from an R-rated movie about a talking teddy bear, it's remarkably accurate. After all, the old warhorse has been kicking ass since it was first adopted by the U.S. Army in the 1980s. Designed to get into trouble fast and put it down even faster, the AH-64 Apache usually comes bristling with ordnance, from an M230 chain gun firing 30mm rounds to Hellfire missiles and rockets.
In the words of Tyler Merritt "it's basically a fucking flying tank."
The Pentagon has identified a Green Beret who was killed on Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale.
Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He was killed during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
Coast Guard Commandant Blasts Government Shutdown That's Forced Service Members 'To Rely On Food Pantries And Donations'
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.