Military

TPR/NPR's coverage of Military and Veterans' issues. The Military Desk at Texas Public Radio is made possible in part by Baird Foundation Repair.

For specific stories from the American Homefront Project, see also this special section, archived at this link.

Headquarters to the 37th Training Wing
Ryan Loyd / Texas Public Radio

On Wednesday, Staff Sgt. Donald Davis was found not guilty of abusive sexual contact with a trainee, but after submitting its acquittal, the military jury learned that Davis pled guilty to having an unprofessional sexual relationship with a technical trainee prior to the start of the court-martial.

On Thursday the jury deliberated for about two hours before returning with a three-pronged sentence: A reduction in rank to E-3, three months’ hard labor and a bad conduct discharge. He could have received a prison sentence instead of the discharge.

Lackland Air Force Base
Eileen Pace / TPR News

Staff Sgt. Donald Davis was charged with abusive sexual contact by touching a trainee and placing her in fear of her military career through the abuse of his authority. However, the defense argued the jury could not convict if there was reasonable doubt that the events occurred.

The military jury vote in the seventh court-martial indicated that the government had not met its burden of proof in the case.

Headquarters to the 37th Training Wing
Ryan Loyd / Texas Public Radio

A witness in the latest court-martial of a Lackland Air Force Base training instructor told a jury Tuesday that she was afraid to tell the instructor to stop touching her because he was her superior.

The command-directed investigation last fall found that command failures and gaps in institutional safeguards allowed a culture of abuse and secrecy to grow at Lackland.

Staff Sgt. Donald Davis is the seventh MTI to go to trial in the growing sex scandal at the nation’s Air Force boot camp training facility.

Lackland Gateway walkway
Eileen Pace / TPR

The Air Force is now working on implementing the policy change by the Department of Defense allowing women into combat roles. Coincidentally, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of women being able to become combat pilots for the Air Force.

Christa D'Andrea is the chief of public affairs for the Air Force Recruiting Service at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and served on active-duty for 11 years. She said the integration of women in these roles is the next logical step in the military.

While most of the focus on the legislature thus far has been on issues like education funding, gun control and women's rights, Texas is also faced with the growing needs of veterans who return home; the two most vital being employment and medical care.

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