Image copyright US Navy
Tom Vanden Brook
Copyright USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The Navy has disqualified 151 sailors serving as sexual assault counselors, instructors and recruiters — up from just five last year — after a review found that most of them lacked proper training, USA TODAY has learned.
The services have been scrubbing the ranks of troops serving in "positions of trust" for potential predators and poor performers since May. That's when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the military to stand down to review its policies and personnel involved in combating the Pentagon's sexual assault crisis.
The review resulted in the Army suspending 588 soldiers who served as counselors, recruiters and drill instructors for offenses ranging from reckless driving to sexual assault. The Army, which reviewed 20,000 soldiers, is seeking to discharge 79 of them. The Navy initially had suspended five sailors among the 10,000 personnel it reviewed. That review was expanded to about 20,000 and resulted in the suspension of 151, Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, a Navy spokesman, said Wednesday.
The "vast majority" of the 151 didn't receive the proper training or lacked certifications for duties involving sexual assault prevention and response, Servello said. Others had "issues" that made them inappropriate choices for the jobs, although nature of those problems was not clear Wednesday morning, Servello said. Some will receive the training and return to their posts; others will be reassigned.