Sex in the laundry room. Social dates and text messaging. Sex in a truck. And in the barracks. Between February and November , 12 drill sergeants and advanced individual training instructors at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Each soldier pleaded guilty to at least one count of violating Regulation — wrongfully engaging in a personal and social relationship with a trainee — and dozens of other related offenses on and off post between December and August Fort Leonard Wood officials toldArmy Times there is "no clear pattern" in the conduct of the cadre over the two and a half years, indicating they all appeared to have acted alone.
There were no allegations made against any officers in the Fort Leonard Wood cases, according to officials there. More than , enlisted soldiers were trained by tens of thousands of drill sergeants at the Army's five basic training posts during the eight years of data provided by TRADOC. Freakley pointed to the exhaustive training all enlisted soldiers and officers get on a regular basis in sexual abuse and misconduct, concluding that even in the Army, where the issue is addressed on a continual basis, people cannot be controlled at every turn.
Officials said lapses in discipline were personal, informed decisions on the part of the offenders and not for lack of training. We are all subject to the fallacies of the world, if you will, or the weakness of who we are as human beings," said Col. Randall Twitchell, commander of 14th Military Police Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, which conducts basic and advanced individual training. After sweeping up the ashes from the drill sergeant sex scandal at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
The Drill Sergeant School has brought in outside experts to teach its sexual abuse prevention classes, and drill sergeants are trained and re-trained on their responsibilities throughout their two-year assignments, with strong emphasis on the consequences of breaking the Army's rules governing behavior with trainees.
Even the trainees have more rights and resources than they once did. The vast majority of the offenses, according to the data, were for consensual sex. But Army leaders say there is no such thing as consensual sex between a drill sergeant and a trainee. It is against Army regulation. Gary Newsome, commandant of the Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, where about 1, drill sergeants are trained each year.
Avoiding personal contact The behavior of drill sergeants who decide to go astray "disgusts me," said Command Sgt. He was a drill sergeant from to at Fort McClellan, Ala. Unfortunately we have those out there that will not live up to and inculcate the Army values," he said.
The start of a personal relationship between trainees and their instructors can arise from a seemingly innocent conversation about home, family or interests. Drill sergeants are instructed, beginning in Drill Sergeant School and throughout their rotation on the trail, to avoid any personal contact whatsoever.
He described a tactic allegedly used by some female trainees to gain attention that he and other drill sergeants call "parade pretty" in which the woman will "pop her hip out, throw their hand on their hip or angle their leg out" when they're being addressed. Since the Aberdeen scandal, conditions for reporting have been beefed up, chaplains are regularly made available and soldiers are strongly encouraged to speak up to those outside their immediate chain of command when they think something is wrong, even with another trainee.
Wherever they go, they are together. That assists a great deal, too," said Brig. Leslie Ledding's military occupational specialty is firefighter, but she's been a drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood since April Giving her derelict fellow drill sergeants no slack and deriding them for giving all drill sergeants a black eye, Ledding pointed out that the misconduct is always an informed decision.
So they do so in full knowledge that what they're doing is wrong and they know what the potential outcome is," said Ledding, Fort Leonard Wood's drill sergeant of the year. Acknowledging it has a sexual assault rate that is double that of the other services, the Army's top leaders held a weeklong mandatory gathering of division and above Army leaders in September. They rolled out a new sexual assault prevention and response campaign with a zero tolerance message. Army Secretary Pete Geren addressed the leaders and even raised the ugly subject in his keynote address at the October symposium of the Association of the U.
At Fort Leonard Wood, one sexual misconduct case is pending court-martial, and other investigations into the same types of offenses are ongoing, Chief of Military Justice Capt. At the training companies, where most drill sergeants never incur an offense, there is a call to renew the commitment to the youngest soldiers and each other. We watch each other closely. So when someone's behind the scenes, and they're doing these things, it's not openly being done," said Regimental Command Sgt.
Charles Kirkland from the MP School. Willie Myles, 82nd Chemical Battalion. In June and July , he had sex with a trainee, twice in the barracks while other trainees served as lookouts and once at a hotel off post. He also disarmed the alarm system and diverted other fireguards to meet privately with a trainee. In March , he pleaded guilty to violating Regulation , disobeying an officer, making a false official statement and adultery.
He was sentenced to reduction to E-3, seven months' confinement and a bad-conduct discharge. In March , he engaged in sexual touching, intercourse, oral sex, kissing and personal conversations with a trainee. In July , he pleaded guilty to violating Regulation He was sentenced to reduction to E-3, 90 days' hard labor and 30 days confinement.
Chad Smith,th MP Battalion. From January to March , he had sex with a trainee twice. He pleaded guilty in July to violating Regulation , making a false official statement and adultery. He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, eight months' confinement and a bad-conduct discharge. Travis Dauer, 82nd Chemical Battalion. From July to November , he had sex with four different trainees in laundry, supply, hotel and hospital rooms, his truck and his home.
He pleaded guilty in February to violating Regulation He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, 18 months' confinement, total forfeiture of pay and a bad-conduct discharge. From December to March , he had personal and sexual relationships with three trainees in locations on and off post, including in a vehicle while another trainee drove and three times at a fellow drill sergeant's apartment with the consent of the drill sergeant.
He was caught asking each of the trainees to deny the relationship. In May , he pleaded guilty to violating Regulation He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, one year of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge.
Flexner Masadao, 10th Infantry Regiment. From September to November , he drove three female trainees off post in his personal vehicle, engaging in sexual touching with one of them and serving alcohol.
He also mistreated seven trainees who accused him of grabbing, stroking, kissing, placing his hand under clothing, rubbing near a crotch and rubbing a breast, as well as making sexual comments in front of other trainees. In June , he pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of violating Regulation , maltreatment and aiding absentees, but he was found guilty of all charges in court-martial proceedings.
He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, three years' confinement and a bad-conduct discharge. Steven Schrank, th Engineer Battalion. In August , he helped a trainee go absent without leave and engaged in a personal relationship with her, including sexual intercourse, texting, driving her in his personal vehicle, taking her to his home, going on dates and social outings, and talking on the phone. He pleaded guilty in November to violating Regulation , making a false official statement and adultery.
He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, eight months' confinement, forfeiture of pay for eight months and a bad-conduct discharge. Edward Smart, th MP Battalion. In June and July , he had sexual intercourse with trainee at his home. In November, he pleaded guilty to violating Regulation and adultery. He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, 90 days' confinement and a bad-conduct discharge.
Marc Kiriou, th MP Battalion. In July , he entertained three male trainees and one female trainee at his home, had sex with the woman and served alcohol to all of them, including an underage man. In November, he pleaded guilty to violating Regulation , making a false official statement and adultery.
He was sentenced to reduction to E-1, 10 months' confinement, forfeiture of pay for 10 months and a bad-conduct discharge. Michael Spears, th Engineer Battalion. In September , he met a trainee at an off-post club, drove her to his home, had sex with her, and later tried to get the trainee to delete text messages and deny the relationship. In March , he pleaded guilty to violating Regulation , making a false official statement and adultery. He was sentenced to reduction to E-3 and five months' confinement.
Colbey Strange, th Engineer Battalion. In late and early , he had a sex with a trainee twice. In July , he pleaded guilty to violating Regulation , disobeying an officer and adultery. He was sentenced to reduction to E-3, forfeiture of two-thirds of pay for three months and 90 days' hard labor. As a processing noncommissioned officer in the reception battalion from January to March , he had inappropriate relationships with three trainees and indecently assaulted one of them.
He pleaded not guilty to violating Regulation and adultery, but was found guilty of the charges in court-martial. He was sentenced to reduction to E-2, 60 days' confinement and a non-punitive discharge.