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Thu Nov 25, 2021, 10:59 AM

National Guard scandals in these 13 states raise questions about culture and accountability

The National Guard system crucial to America's military defense and vital to state emergency operations is reeling from corruption and misconduct that reflect overarching command failures, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

For more than two decades, state Guards from Alaska to California to Delaware have been shaken by scandals, often exposed by whistleblowers who are subjected to retaliation amid coverups.

In Maryland, a Black soldier was taunted and forced to wear chains as punishment.

In Vermont, an Air Guard commander allegedly flew a fighter jet to the nation's capital, where he had a tryst with a Pentagon official.

In state after state, soldiers have been sexually assaulted or harassed, only to suffer reprisal from executive officers.

Throughout the National Guard system, which consists of 54 independent state and territorial militias, soldiers and airmen have complained for decades about abuses that suggest a failure of culture and oversight.

This makes me sad. My son was a career Army National Guardsman.

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