AF officials announce new academy brass
March 28, 2003
ARLINGTON, Va. — Air Force Secretary James Roche has tapped Maj. Gen. John W. Rosa Jr. to succeed Lt. Gen. John D. Dallager as the top leader at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where a sexual assault scandal at the institution has shaken the Air Force to its roots.
Fifty-six women have come forward with reports of sexual assaults dating back to 1993. Many of the women say they were ostracized or reprimanded for reporting such incidents to commanders.
Rosa, who is deputy director of current operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is heavily involved in planning the war in Iraq, and probably won’t be free to assume his new post until May, Roche told reporters Wednesday.
Dallager was scheduled to retire from the Air Force before the scandal broke, and Roche said there are no plans to remove him as top official until his scheduled retirement in June.
But three other academy leaders are getting moved out of their posts and replaced by a new team, including two women.
The academy’s No. 2 leader, Brig. Gen. S. “Taco” Gilbert III, will leave his post as commandant of cadets for an assignment as special assistant to the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs at the Pentagon, Roche said.
Gilbert will be replaced by Brig. Gen. (select) Johnny A. Weida, a 1978 graduate of the academy and commander of the Squadron Officer College at Maxwell, Roche said.
Col. Robert D. Eskridge, the academy’s vice commandant of cadets, will be replaced by Col. Debra D. Gray, now with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gray graduated from the academy in 1980.
Eskridge will be reassigned to a position yet to be announced, Roche said.
Col. Laurie S. Slavec, 34th Training Group commander at the academy, also will be reassigned.
She will be replaced by Col. Clada A. Monteith, deputy director for Security Forces at U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Roche said.
The replacements were announced by Roche and Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper as part of what Roche said were “a broad series of directives” aimed at changing the way the Air Force Academy handles allegations of sexual assault.
In addition to the new leaders, Roche said, said changes will include clustering female cadets’ dormitory rooms; providing round-the-clock security in student housing; training medical personnel to respond to sexual assault cases; offering amnesty to cadets raising sexual assault allegations; and expelling cadets for underage drinking or providing alcohol to an underage cadet.
Jumper and Roche made it clear that senior Air Force leadership is not holding the four officers who are leaving directly responsible for the academy’s problems, which Roche said have been building for the past 10 years.
“To say that this is all their fault would really miss the point,” Roche said.
While “a new team can put a stake in the ground and say, ‘This is how we go forward,’ ” ultimately it is up to the students themselves to change the Air Force academy’s climate, Roche said.
“Cadets commit assaults against cadets,” Roche said. “It is cadets who in the long run will fix this problem.”
Jumper took Roche’s comments a step farther.
“This is the males’ problem to fix,” Jumper said.