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IN REPLY TO OPEN LETTER TO MR. FRED

Story ID:7064
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:OurEcho Community
Location:Gilboa NY USA
Year:2011
Person:Bobby O'Niell Mitchum
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In a post a couple of years ago by Bobby O'Niell Mitchum, he made an allegation that I could not accept. He alleged the U.S. Military had a considerable amount of rape and other sexual misconduct going on in their ranks and that the military was covering it up.

I am a 20 year veteran of the military and took exception to that. I believed he was painting the military with too broad a brush.

I had been in the police during my entire 20 years of service. When such things were reported, we were the ones who it was reported to. For obvious reasons, those things were handled discreetly to protect the victims and the innocent, but I was in a position for most of the time to be in the know, and often could have been the one assigned to investigate such incidents if and when reported. I had not been aware of many. There were a few, but not on a large scale.

I also have several nephews who have been serving or are still serving. None of them have made any mention of being aware of such things happening at all.

As a result, I was sure in my own mind that it just wasn't true that it existed in our armed forces to the extent Mr. Mitchum had implied.

I am fiercly proud of my prior service and proud of the service of my numerous family members and I took exception to the accusation.

In the past couple of weeks there have been some srticles published in the Air Force Times daily news briefs, as well as in the weekly newspaper on the subject. I have called these to the attention of Mr. Mitchum via e-mail.

It seems that I am wrong and Mr. Mitchum is far more correct in his allegations than I believed possible. It is a big problem in the military. Todays article even talks about the consequences to victims, threatening their security clearances. The article did not mention it, but I know from my past military experience, that if a security clearance has to be removed from a person it can also adversly effect their promotion chances. To penalize a rape victim because they are a victim seems to me quite horrendous and completely unfair. It needs to be changed. Such policies will also tend to deter victims from reporting attacks against them.

The military is struggling with it as a problem and trying to determine why the number of sexual assaults in the military has increased in the last two years.

For those who have been concerned about any rift between Mr. Mitchum and myself for the sake of Ourecho, I want to add that Mr. Mitchum has graciously called me on the phone. We have enjoyed some lengthy and pleasant conversations and are friends. Any who were having fears of discontent and or animosity on Ourecho can relax.

Mr. Mitchum and I both are men of past military experience, are strong willed and have a sense of fair play. When we believe we are right, we will defend our beliefs vigorously with determination.
When we learn we are mistaken, we will admit that too. It is all part of fair play to which we both subscribe.

I hope this will clear up any misgivings any may have in regards to any discussions between Mr. Mitchum and myself.

Fred Wickert

Pleae visit my website at www.fredsstoryroom.com