Friday, November 16, 2012

More weird military justice, this time with sexual assault

We've seen the issue of sexual assault and the U.S. military an awful lot the past few years, culminating in this report from USAF.  My on-going dissertation research in the VWCWG files shows that how to deal with sexual assault was also a problem back during the Vietnam War.  Here's today's selection from the files.

A UH-1B with pilot and crew landed in a field near a small village.  The crew got out of the helicopter, talked to some teenaged girls there and forced one to board the aircraft.  While on board, the crew forcible removed her blouse and bra, and one of the men was observed "laying on top of her".  Half an hour later, the helicopter landed and she was released.  The incident was reported to an area supervisor by a U.S. Army sergeant who was at one of the houses in the village.

An Article 32 hearing recommended general courts-martial for kidnapping and sexual assault, but not rape because the victim said she hadn't been raped.  The case did not go to trial, though, because the commanding general of the 1st Aviation Brigade offered Article 15 non-judical punishment to all four soldiers involved on the advice of the Staff Judge Judge Advocate.

CID didn't document the rationale for this decision, and it may not have been provided to them, but it seems strange that you would do this for a kidnapping case, even though it seems to have turned out reasonably well for the victim (if you can say that being kidnapped, partially stripped, and groped by soldiers had a way to turn out well).

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