Conflict & Justice

Air Force Colonel Glenn Palmer relieved from duty over Lackland sex scandal


US President George W. Bush poses with Lackland Air Force Base personnel at the Alamo Regional Command Reception Center September 1, 2008 in San Antonio, Texas.



Colonel Glenn Palmer was relieved of duty Friday in the wake of a growing sex scandal at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland involving relationships between basic training instructors and new recruits. 

Col. Palmer, the former head of the 737th Training Group, was removed from his position by Col. Eric Axelbank, commander of the 37th Training Wing at Lackland, because he had "lost confidence" in Palmer, the San Antonio Express reported

“Col. Palmer was relieved because Col. Eric Axelbank lost confidence in his ability to maintain a safe and secure training environment for our newest airmen,” Collen McGee, spokeswoman for the 37th Training Wing, told the Los Angeles Times. Axelbank decided that “a new leader is required to meet the current needs,” she said. 

More from GlobalPost: US Air Force identifies 31 victims in sex scandal

However, “Col. Palmer did not create the environment that resulted in the misconduct," McGee added. 

No replacement has been announced for Palmer, the LA Times reported. 

Lt. Col. Mike Paquette was also dismissed as commander of the 331st Training Squadron June 20, the San Antonio Express reported. 

Six basic training instructors have been charged in connection to the sex scandal, CNN reported

One instructor, Staff Sergeant Luis Walker, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 21 for crimes including rape, adultery, obstruction of justice and aggravated sexual assault, Bloomberg reported.

More from GlobalPost: Luis Walker, Lackland boot camp instructor, convicted of rape and sex assault

Former Staff Sgt. Peter Vega Maldonado cut a plea bargain with prosecutors that gave him three months in jail and 30 days hard labor for having sex with one trainee in return for his testimony against two other trainers, according to the San Antonio Express.

Another former trainer, Sgt. Christopher Smith, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and reduction in rank to airman first class, which will allow him to stay in the service. 

Allegations surfaced in June that instructors were having inappropriate relationships with female recruits, many in basic training, have rocked the Texas base and the military as a whole; Some of the alleged victims have also claimed that they were sexual abused or assaulted by their superiors, according to NBC News

At least 31 trainees have been victims of the misconduct, CNN reported.