January 24, 2013
Over a hundred “inappropriate or offensive” items were found at the Air Force Academy during recent inspections aimed to combat sexual assault, the academy announced Thursday.
“Health and wellness” inspections were conducted at Air Force bases across the globe at the behest of Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff.
On a Nov. 28 conference call, Welsh tasked commanders with searching for, reporting and dealing with items that were pornographic, inappropriate, offensive or unprofessional.
The academy reported that of the 131 items found — including a ceiling tile with an inappropriate painting, a message written on a whiteboard, a bed spread, stickers, pictures and movies — all were recorded as “inappropriate or offensive.”
All items removed or destroyed, according to a database of the items released by the Air Force.
In a Thursday statement, academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould said he was “encouraged by the relatively low number of offenses.”
“It all comes down to one overriding concept — respect,” he said. “We see this and future inspections as one avenue to correct conditions detrimental to the culture of respect and inclusiveness we all have worked so hard to create at the academy.”
Other Pikes Peak region bases have seen similar inspections.
All of the 88 items found at worldwide locations of Air Force Space Command — which is headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base — were categorized as “inappropriate or offensive.”
Among items were a “butt pencil sharpener,” R-rated films, song books, and issues of Men’s Health, Self, and Sports Illustrated magazines, according to the database.
Many were destroyed or removed, though some were confiscated or merely identified.
“Our unit commanders used their authority to correct issues on the spot during the course of the inspection,” Space Command spokesman Anthony Roake said Thursday in an emailed statement. “While the inspections have been completed, it’s important that leaders, commanders, supervisors — in fact all airmen — continue to promote a climate of dignity and respect.”
Inspections were completed by unit commanders at over 100 installations and included the workspaces of nearly 600,000 Air Force military and civilian personnel.
Service-wide, the Air Force found 631 instances of “pornography,” 3,987 instances of “unprofessional material” and 27,598 instances of “inappropriate or offensive items.”
When warranted, items were reported to the Office of Special Investigations, according to the database.
Some of the items removed at other installations included the front page of an issue of “Air Force Times” that featured a female airman breastfeeding, a trophy with two blue balls attached to it, a videos noted as “sexy ice cream,” a leg lamp inspired by the movie “A Christmas Story,” a calendar featuring Betty Boop in her underwear, two name tags “from actual Hooters waitresses,” and items with World War II-inspired “nose art.”
The academy’s announcement came the day after Welsh told the House Armed Services Committee he’d tackle sexual assault in the Air Force by screening personnel more carefully and putting an end to bad behaviors like binge drinking.
Welsh told the committee that the service recorded a disturbing number of reports of sexual assault last year even as it worked to curb misconduct in the wake of a sex scandal at its training headquarters in Texas.
Welsh issued a “Letter to Airmen” this month saying images, songs and stories that are obscene or vulgar are not part of the Air Force heritage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report