Air Force training shake-up announced

Aug. 10, 2012 at 9:19 PM
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SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The commander of the U.S. Air Force's sex scandal-scarred basic military training program has been relieved of his command, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Air Force spokeswoman Colleen McGee told Air Force Times Col. Glenn Palmer was removed by Col. Eric Axelbank, commander of the 37th Training Wing, after just more than a year as head of the training program at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

McGee said Axelbank "feels new leadership is needed ... in order to move forward in light of the continuing [sex assault] investigations," McGee said.

"Col. Palmer did not create the environment that resulted in the misconduct. But Col. Axelbank wants a different leader to implement the changes needed," she said. "It's important we match the right leader with the need of the unit. A new leader is needed now."

Palmer had been named commander shortly after a training instructor was accused of rape by a trainee. The instructor, Staff Sgt. Luis Palmer was recently convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his relationships with 10 trainees.

Palmer oversaw the investigation into the widening scandal, with two other instructors convicted, four more facing court-martial and eight under investigation. At least 38 possible victims have come forward.

Palmer's next assignment had not been determined, the newspaper said.

The Times said Palmer was intent on ferreting out trainers who preyed on female recruits.

"I've got to get them out," the newspaper quoted him as saying. "They don't belong."

In June, Axelbank relieved Lt. Col. Michael Paquette as commander of the 331st Training Squadron where a majority of those implicated in the sex scandal had served.

Axelbank is leaving his post Sept. 4. He will be replaced by Col. Mark Camerer, commander of the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

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