Is It Really Possible To Eliminate Sexual Assault In The Army?

Over the past year or so, the Army has worked diligently to increase their focus on the prevention and response to sexual assault. Their eventual goal is to completely eliminate sexual assault from the Army altogether. The Army is engaged from the top down to do what they can to educate Soldiers about sexual assault, teach them how to reduce their risks of becoming a victim, and get them engaged in the prevention aspect of it, by intervening if they see something happening that shouldn’t. I often wonder though, if leadership at all levels are really engaged and willing to do what is necessary to eradicate this horrific crime from the Army. I’m sure you’re wondering why I would say that.

Every day, across this country and around the world, millions of sexual assaults occur. Laws regarding sex crimes have been stiffened and in most states, someone who commits a sex crime must register as a sex offender, sometimes for the rest of their lives. In many states, when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood, they must register with the local police department. Notices are then sent out to residents in the area, advising them of this fact. Yet these crimes still occur at an alarming rate, even in the military. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise, because afterall, Soldiers come from American society.

I can’t count the number of hours that I’ve spent with victims of sexual assault at the emergency room of the hospital. I can’t count the number of miles I’ve put on my car to accompany a victim to have a Sexual Assault Forensics Exam completed and I can’t even begin to count the amount of hours that I’ve spent in a CID interview room, as the victim recounts what happened to them, once again. It’s a lengthy process, one that can sometimes last as many as 10-15 hours at a stretch. I can’t say enough about the professionalism of the CID agents as they pull out all stops to investigate the crime and ensure they have a solid case before presenting it to legal and then to the command to determine the course of action from there. But, what if a particular command isn’t committed to preventing sexual assault or holding offenders accountable for their actions?

Believe it or not, even with the Army’s increased commitment to eliminating sexual assault, there are registered sex offenders who are still serving in the military. That’s a scary thought, huh, one that’s unfortunately true. You can access information about registered sex offenders in your area by visiting . Try it. I think that you’ll be as appalled as I was when I saw how many registered sex offenders lived in the area I do, and even more so when I saw that some of them were Soldiers. How is this allowed? Perhaps, because of the work I do, my opinions are a bit biased, but I really don’t think so. Why run the risk of this person sexually assaulting someone else? Why take that chance.

I’m sure that there are some who have to register as a sex offender who maybe shouldn’t be on there, but not many. The type that I’m thinking of when I make that statement, is say… a 18 or 19 year old who starts dating a young lady a few years younger than himself. They have sex and suddenly he’s charged with a sex crime because she was under the legal age of consent. That young man will have to register as a sex offender. That’s not the offender that worries me. The ones that concern me are ones who have been charged with a sexual assault, tried, found guilty and somehow are continuing to serve in the military. How is that happening? Are they receiving moral waivers when they enlist, enabling them to join the Army, even though they’ve been convicted of a felony? Has their command known about the conviction and chose to do nothing? Was command even made aware of the conviction? Or how about the one who commits a sex crime while he or she is serving in the military and command doesn’t courts martial them, but instead makes them register as a sex offender, maybe takes away some rank and gives them an article 15. It happens and it’s infuriating. I don’t know about you, but those aren’t the types of people that I’d want watching my back downrange.

My concern with this, is the fact that some of these people may commit the same crime again. Especially if they know they’ve gotten away with it the first time. Isn’t it endangering other Soldiers, family members, civilian workers and other citizens by allowing someone with a sexual assault conviction to continue to serve in the military? Until this changes, I don’t see how the Army can eliminate sexual assault in it’s ranks. This is something that needs to be looked at closely. I do feel that each case should be looked at individually and all information should be taken into account before decisions are made, however this is something that the Army is very serious about and something that they should consider, as they continue their 5 year plan to eliminate sexual assault from the Army.


A Hero’s Ride

UPDATE 04/25/09: I will be participating in this ride and afterwards, will post a write-up. I hope that I’ll see as many of our readers as possible at the ride. This is our opportunity to really help out one of our Heroes. Please join us on May 16th!

In communities across this great country, when our neighbors experience times of need, we rally together as a community to provide support, comfort and aid to those in need. It’s something that we do as Americans…. help those who are in need. That American Spirit of helping others in need is seen every day. I’d like to share with our readers about how the American Spirit of helping others is currently taking place in Central Texas.

If you happen to be in the Fort Hood area on May 16th, or perhaps would like to take part in an event that will benefit a Fort Hood Soldier who is currently facing one of the most difficult battles that a person can face in life, please read further for details. First though, I’d like to tell you a little bit about this Soldier, SGT Anson Martin.


Shortly after he graduated from High School, Anson Martin enlisted in the Marine Corps, where he served for 4 years. While in the Marine Corps he met a young woman named Laurie who became his wife just as soon as his enlistment in the Marine Corps was completed. After they married the first two of their children were born. When they found out that Laurie was pregnant again, Anson enlisted in the Army, for the security that he knew the military could provide for his family. 1

Shortly after enlisting in the Army, the family moved to Fort Hood, Texas, where eventually SGT Martin was deployed to Iraq with the 3rd ACR. SGT Martin returned home early to have surgery to repair an injury to his shoulder. Though that surgery went without a hitch, SGT Martin had some other concerns that he decided to have checked out, and was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, that has spread throughout his body. The prognosis isn’t a good one, but being a true Soldier, SGT Martin isn’t giving up. SGT Martin began an intense regimine of chemotherapy, which caused severe reactions that caused him to discontinue those treatments. Other treatment avenues are being explored. As you know, the cost of these treatments is extremely high and SGT Martin travels several times per week to San Antonio for treatments.2 Through all of this, SGT Martin has remained positive and has placed his life in God’s hands. The updates on his Caring Bridge page, testify to his strength of character and his belief that this has happened in his life for a reason. Take some time to read the updates and I think you’ll be as inspired as I am with this truly amazing Soldier.


The VFW Post 3892 in Harker Heights and it’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Group of Texas Group 14, learned about SGT Martin and what he’s currently battling, and they decided to host A Hero’s Ride in SGT Martin’s honor. SGT Martin’s only request was that his children be provided with a vacation to remember him by and that any other proceeds from the ride be used to defray costs of treatment and travel and creating college funds for his 3 children.

If you’re in the Central Texas area on May 16th, please consider taking part in this ride to benefit SGT Martin and his family. If you’re not in the area, but would like to make a donation, there are several ways that you can do so. You can contact Allen Freeman, who is the President of the VFW Motorcycle Group of Texas Unit 14 by emailing him at or you can donate to a fund set up for SGT Anson Martin. Details about that are listed on SGT Martin’s Caring Bridge page by following this link. Please keep SGT Anson Martin and his family in your thoughts and prayers as they continue this battle.

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A Veteran Speaking Out

Lately we’ve all had politics overload this past year, with the Democratic and Republican primaries and now the two candidates having been chosen by their respective parties, to represent them in the Presidential bid. I’ve said all along, that I don’t hold a whole lot of faith in politicians and often feel that our country would be much better off, if “we the people” were more able to be in control of the inner workings of our government. However, I do know, that I will chose to vote for the person who most closely reflects my beliefs. I feel that it’s extremely important that we really listen and research each of the candidates, their past actions and words, before we decide who we’re going to vote for. I also believe, because the war in Iraq is such a crucial issue in this year’s Presidential race, that we also listen to the men and women who are or have fought in Iraq. Listen to their assessment of what has and is occurring there and think about which candidate you feel will do what’s best for our Troops, the Iraqi people and ultimately our Country. For many years, I’ve not voted based on which political party a candidate represents, but instead based on that person, what they promise they will accomplish if they are elected and based on their past history. I’d like to provide our readers with the opportunity to listen to one young veteran, listen to what he has to say about the war in Iraq, his thoughts and beliefs. After watching this video, really think about what he has said. If you have the opportunity, talk to veterans of the war in Iraq and ask them their opinions, before you make your final decision. Be informed, be aware and be an educated voter, one who doesn’t take the candidates words on face value, but instead a voter who is willing to do some digging before you make your decision.


Swapping Stories Of War

For service members, the legacy of those who served before them is one that is rich in history, pride, tradition and similarity of experiences. To be able to get the opportunity to sit down and visit with veterans many of whom served in previous conflicts and hear their stories is something to be treasured. They are a wealth of information and a great resource. Members of the 82nd Airborne Division were able to do that, when they visited the Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sanford, N.C. on Memorial Day, and spent time with veterans who live there. The administrator of the nursing home, Linda Andrews said the residents were excited about the visit.


“Even though it’s been years since they’ve served, these Soldiers still recognize the importance of their sacrifice,” Andrews said.1

The visit actually began the Friday before, with a ceremony that included a formal presentation of colors, recognition of the 13 veterans who attended, the playing of patriotic songs and a lunch. The best part of the event, however, was the chance for the young Soldiers to visit with the veterans and hear their stories.

“For the veterans, it’s a way for us to honor them and thank them for their service,” said Capt. Light Shin, an Army chaplain. “For the new guys, it’s a great way to learn from them, from their sacrifices, so that they can become stronger, better equipped Soldiers in their duties.”2

Veteran residents of the nursing home served in several conflicts, among them World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. Their vast knowledge and experiences are something that our young Troops can learn a lot from. Major Greg Stephens, whose wife Cassie serves as the director of nursing at Liberty Commons said it’s important for active duty Soldiers to remember the sacrifices of past Soldiers and take the time out of their days to remember and recognize these heroes.

“It’s a sincere honor to be able to salute the veterans in front of me who truly were and still are a part of the ‘Greatest Generation,’” Major Stephens said. “You are the same men and women who came out of the Great Depression, who won great victories and made lasting sacrifices during war and helped build or define the world that we live in today.”3

One of those veterans. Lewis Haywood, only spent 3 years in the military, but learned a lifetime of lessons in those 3 years, such as the similarities of people, regardless of the country they’re from. He joined the Army in the 60s as a teenager, during the time that fear of war with the Soviet Union was prevalant. Haywood was stationed in Germany when the Berlin Wall was first erected.

“I met a lot of nice people and learned how to get along well with people from other countries,” Haywood said. “For the most part, people in other countries are friendly but you’ll always find some unfriendly people anywhere you go.”4

Another Veteran who resides at the nursing home, Lillian Lang, was the spouse of an Air Force pilot during World War II. Wanting to contribute herself, Lang enlisted in the Army and served in an intelligence office in California. She shared how much she enjoyed her time in the military.

Another resident, Thomas Womble served as a Staff Sergeant in Korea for 13 months. During his time in service, he was injured when a mortar exploded and blew off one of his toes and caused permanent scarring to the left side of his face. He was discharged due to the injuries he received. Following his discharge from the military, Womble served for 30 years in the US Postal Service.

Each of the veterans who reside at the nursing home, had a story to tell. Stories that in many ways were familiar yet different to the young Soldiers who were there to visit with them. Each of the veterans are living history and are a valuable resource for our Troops.

I’m impressed that the Troops led by Major Stephens were willing to spend the time with these veterans. I would hope that in many other locations across the country, other Soldiers are doing the same thing. These men and women deserve our thanks and our gratitude. What they don’t deserve, like happens so often when a person is placed in a nursing home, is to be ignored or forgotten. They are the history of this country.

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The Art of War

Matt Larsen, Creator of the U.S. Army Combatives

I have finally gotten around to enrolling in the hand-to-hand combat class known as Modern Army Combatives or just Combatives.  In the past I have avoided this class like the plague.  The core elements of the class are ground fighting/grappling techniques.  If you have ever watched UFC on TV, the class teaches you the same techniques and skills.  As a boxer it is completely unnaturual for me to find myself wrestling on the ground.

After day one, I can say I have found a new respect for the class.  Today I spent basically 8 hours getting my ass kicked.  I have found myself sitting in front of the computer, completely dehydrated, sore from head to toe; I am drinking glass after glass of water and doping up on Bayer.

The morning started with the 14 of us learning Combatives Drill One.  This included achieving a dominate position over your party/enemy, whether this is to  be on top of your foe or to achieve a position that leaves your counterpart with their back to you.  Next we learned to escape your foes dominate position and place yourself back in a dominate position.  We drilled this over and over,  at a slow speed so everyone could learn each of the steps.  I can tell you, it was incredibly repetitive and became very boring.  But, with everything in the military and in life in gerneral, you must crawl before you walk and you damn well better walk before you run.

After breaking for a brief lunch, we returned.  We continued to learn a few submission moves to include arms bars and chokes.  Once we ran through those for the next we moved on to our run stage.  First we grappled one versus one to achieve the dominate position, next moving to one versus one to achieve submission.  From their we moved on to a drill known as the bull ring.  Here, you fought everyone in the class.  If you found yourself the “bull” every member of the class would grapple with you one after another with no rest in between.  Just as you thought you were done with one person, another would be shooting in to achieve a dominant position and ultimately make you submit.

I must state it was definately a brutal day.  I am excited, but at the same time cringe when I realize that this is only day one and their are four more days of progressivly harder drills.  I will continue to keep you posted on the outcome of the days.  For now I leave you with the history of the Modern Army Combatives Program (MAC-P). Read more »

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