News Column

Military Notebook: Suicides Down, Assaults Up

Jan 23, 2012

Wayne Crenshaw

An Army report released Thursday showed suicides among soldiers dropped 9 percent last year, but sexual assaults and child abuse incidents have risen dramatically.

According to an Associated Press story, since 2006, violent sex crimes and domestic violence incidents have risen 30 percent. Child abuse incidents have risen 43 percent.

"There's a lot of good news in this report, but there's also some bad news," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said at a news conference. "We know we've got still a lot of work to do."

The figures include active duty, Guard and Reserve forces. The suicide total for 2011 was 278.

Chiarelli blamed the increase in sexual assaults and domestic violence at least partly on the stresses of 10 years of war.

The report stated post-traumatic stress syndrome is an "epidemic" in the military, estimating 472,000 service members with the condition, with half of those in the Army. About 24,000 soldiers were referred to substance abuse programs in the 2011 budget year.

Chiarelli said the Army is kicking out more soldiers for misconduct and barring others with substance abuse problems from joining.

Museum's Tuskegee exhibit honored

The Museum of Aviation's Tuskegee Airmen exhibit was given a state award Thursday.

The exhibit won the Museum Exhibition of the Year Award from the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries. The museum won in the category for exhibits costing less than $100,000. The award was presented in Milledgeville at an association conference. It was given on the day before the premiere of "Red Tails," a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen.

The award comes just a month after the museum officially opened the exhibit in its new home in the World War II hangar. The move included the addition of a mural and a replica of a Tuskegee Airman hangar.

"The Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries represents over 150 public and private museums around the state of Georgia," Dudley Bluhm, the museum's deputy director, said in a release. "To be selected by our peers as the 'best of the best' is a great honor for our Museum Exhibit Team and the United States Air Force."

Air Force Reserve Command getting new chief

The Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base is getting a new command chief, the top enlisted position in the command.

Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen Buckner has been tapped for the job, according to a story in the Rev Up on Friday.

She previously served as command chief for the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. She will replace Chief Master Sgt. Dwight Badgett, who is going on to serve as the senior enlisted adviser for Joint Task Force North at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Robins conducting exercise

Robins Air Force Base will be conducting an exercise starting Wednesday and running through Feb. 3.

According to a story in the Robins Rev Up, the exercise will focus on emergency management, the installation deployment plan, natural disaster response, major aircraft accident response, along with training and evaluations at Warrior Air Base.

Source: (c)2012 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.)

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