Top Commander Relieved of Duty in Lackland Sex Scandal

By: From CBS News, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From CBS News, Posted by Ralph Hipp

AUSTIN, Texas (CBS, AP) — A widening sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base had led to the dismissal of the top commander who oversees basic training for every new American airman, officials said Friday.

Col. Glenn Palmer was commander of basic training at the 737th training group at the Texas base, where more than a dozen military instructors in the past year have been investigated or charged with sexually assaulting recruits. Officials familiar with the decision said Palmer has been relieved from those duties, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet public. CBS News has confirmed the planned dismissal.

The officials said there was no indication Palmer was facing any criminal charges.

Investigators say more than three dozen female trainees have been victimized by male instructors at Lackland, where approximately 35,000 airmen graduate each year.

About one in five recruits are female, while most instructors are male. The most serious allegations involved a staff sergeant sentenced to 20 years in prison last month after being convicted of raping one female recruit and sexually assaulting several others.

The Air Force also was set Friday to announce that Col. Eric Axelbank, commander of the entire 37th Training Wing at Lackland, also would be changing command next month. Officials told AP Axelbank's move was part of a normal change of command and was not related to the sex scandal.

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