Tuesday, November 25, 2008


H/T to iFeminists for this link to an article about Drill Sergeants getting into trouble for inappropriate behavior with their soldiers.

Apparently, this problem is starting to creep up again.

As I said before, I was an instructor at the Military Intelligence schoolhouse. While I was there, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) had a lot of emberrassing moments as instructors and Drill Sergeants at several posts around the country were caught, literally, with their pants down. We all went through education about sexual harassment and inappropriate contact with trainees. Several instructors at Fort Huachuca got into trouble, including one of my co-workers who only stayed out of a court-martial because the female trainee in question didn't tell him she was in the Army and that she wasn't supposed to be off-post.

I served for 9 years in MI, which is probably the most integrated branch, gender-wise. Just about every unit I ever worked with or served in was almost 50-50. I imagine that almost every non-combat MOS is going to be co-ed at some level, and the soldiers have to learn to live and work with members of the opposite sex.

But it seems to me that mixed gender basic training seems to be more trouble than it's worth. Every few years we hear about how some group of NCO's are abusing their position in order to get into their privates' privates. They get thumped, things are tightened up, and then it all happens again. And this says nothing of the shenanigans that happen in the barracks when privates are practicing night land navigation skills to find their way to some meeting place.

So, my opinion of mixed-gender training is pretty low, at least as far as basic training goes.

There are always going to be those guys who abuse their power to get what they want, including getting a few of their soldiers into bed. I have always felt that even if the female soldier in question says she consented, it should still be considered coerced. An 18 year old recruit, who is totally disconnected from her entire support system, would have an immense problem saying no to a Drill Sergeant who wants to get her in the sack in exchange for a couple of favors, or worse, to ward off harsher treatment if she declines.

My solution to the immediate problem is to throw the book at any leader who uses his or her position to gain sexual favors from a soldier of lesser rank, regardless of whether or not it was consensual. I'm talking jail time and a dishonorable discharge. NCO's are there to take care of, lead, and train these soldiers, not abuse them. The behavior of these people dishonors every one of us who earned our stripes and kept our hands off of the privates.

In the long term, I believe that the Army should return to gender segregated basic training. Female Drill Sergeants should be integrated into both sexes training liberally, but only one or two male Drill Sergeants should be allowed in each female company. Heck, it would be an honor to know that you were trusted in an area that few males are allowed. The sexes should be segregated from attending classes together, or living in the same building. I'm not even above saying that there should be a separate battalion in each training brigade for females.

The male Drill Sergeants and instructors are showing time and again that some of them can't keep from taking advantage of the situation.

It's time to change that situation. The soldiers that are being trained today are tomorrow's Army, and they deserve no better than an environment where they aren't targeted by predators.

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