AUSTIN, Texas - The fallout from a sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base widened Friday, when the military ousted the top commander over the basic training unit where investigators say dozens of female recruits were sexually assaulted or harassed by their male instructors.
Col. Glenn Palmer had arrived at Lackland last year and was in charge when allegations involving more than a dozen instructors began to mount within his 737th training group. Collen McGee, spokeswoman for the Lackland training wing, said it was decided the unit needed new leadership.
"But Colonel Palmer did not create the environment that created the misconduct," McGee said.
Military prosecutors have investigated more than a dozen instructors at Lackland and charged six with crimes ranging from rape to adultery. Officials said Palmer was not facing any criminal charges and that his new assignment had not yet been determined.
Lackland is where every new American airman reports for eight weeks of basic training. About 35,000 airmen graduate each year, and misdeeds in the ranks of nearly 500 instructors that still are being uncovered has reverberated all the way to Washington.
The White House pick for Air Force chief of staff was held up while Congress pressed the service for answers about the widening scandal at the Texas base. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, finally ended his hold this month on the nomination for Gen. Mark Welsh after meeting with him to discuss the scandal.
The most serious allegations involved an instructor, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison last month after being convicted of raping one female recruit and sexually assaulting several others.