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This Air Force master sergeant claimed his unit ignored sexual assault for years. He nearly lost his career because of it
When Jay Ellis learned his wing commander had called an all-hands meeting on Jan. 9, 2019, the Air Force master sergeant already knew why.
The day before, the Associated Press had reported that Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin was calling for an investigation into incidents of sexual assault and harassment at the 115th Security Forces Squadron, the Wisconsin National Guard unit where Ellis was assigned. Ellis, a 48-year-old military policeman who reported the issues to Baldwin in November, claiming senior leaders had done little in response, was now being portrayed in news articles as a whistleblower who had exposed an apparent cover-up that had gone on for nearly two decades.
That morning at Truax Field, a small guard base in Madison next to a civilian airport, Air Force Col. Eric Peterson addressed the article and vowed to take the allegations seriously, Ellis recalled. "We don't tolerate this kind of stuff," Peterson said. In the following days, Ellis received messages from other military members, some of whom had seen similar problems in their own units, praising him for doing the right thing.
"There are many people against you," an Army officer wrote Ellis. "By no means are you alone. ... I am immensely proud to know that I serve with individuals such as yourself."
A six-month investigation triggered by Ellis' complaint would later reveal a pattern of wrongdoing throughout the Wisconsin National Guard, leading to the resignation of its top officer in December 2019. But instead of being praised for doing the right thing, Ellis claims, some leaders retaliated against him, methodically built a paper trail, then tried to force him out of the Air Force before he could retire.
"For me, it's right or wrong," Ellis told Task & Purpose. "The only way to change it is to stand up and say something."
At the request of Gov. Tony Evers, the Wisconsin National Guard's Adjutant General Donald Dunbar will resign from his post at the end of the month after an investigation found a litany of failings in how the Guard handled sexual assault and harassment allegations.
The National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations report, released Monday, said the Guard's policies and procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct are out of date, ineffective, understaffed and in violation of federal rules.
We salute the Air National Guard chief master sergeant who pulled passengers from a fiery B-17 crash
A Connecticut Air National Guard chief master sergeant sprang into acton when the World War II-era B-17 Flying Fortress he was a passenger aboard crashed while attempting to land at Bradley International Airport on Wednesday, officials said.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A woman has filed a civil suit against a former member of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, saying she has suffered emotional distress and "a diminished capacity to enjoy life" in the years since he used a hidden camera at Barnes Air National Guard Base to record explicit images of her.
Former Tech Sgt. Jason Venne, 37, pleaded guilty in February to six counts of photographing an unsuspecting person in the nude and seven counts of unlawful wiretap. He admitted putting a camera in the women's locker room at the Westfield base, recording images and video between 2011 and 2013 when he worked there as a mechanic.
An Illinois congressman in the Air National Guard is pressing Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg to do more to stop "romance scams," especially since many U.S. service members have become targets of the illicit activity.
In a letter sent to Zuckerberg Wednesday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, said he is "increasingly concerned" by these scams — where Internet users anywhere in the world claim to be veterans and exploit victims for money — that are consistently perpetuated on the social media platform. He asked Zuckerberg to better weed out fake accounts and improve security of the site to that end.
A Mississippi beauty queen with dreams of becoming pilot died in a fiery crash after the single-engine plane she'd been operating plunged into a golf course near a small airport owned by a nearby university.