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Air Force

On November 21, 1963, President John F. Kennedy stopped in to see four airmen inside an oxygen chamber in San Antonio.

The men, who were from Lackland Air Force Base, were involved in experiments on space exploration.

Rudy Purificato, an Air Force historian, said because of Kennedy's deep interest and push for space discovery, NASA was catching up on research the Air Force had already been conducting.

U.S. Air Force

  Furloughs began Monday for 23,000 Department of Defense employees at Joint Base San Antonio as part of the government’s sequestration measure to tighten the federal budget.

About 700,000 total Department of Defense employees will be taking one day a week off for the next 11 weeks -- the government reduced the furloughs from the original 22 days.

Joint Base San Antonio’s Brent Boller said the military could not avoid the cutbacks entirely, despite other efforts to reduce military expenses:

C-SPAN

General Edward Rice Jr. will be recorded as the commander who led the investigation into the worst sex scandal in Air Force history, having ordered the investigation of sexual misconduct by military training instructors at Lackland.

Rice and Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward announced the results of the investigation last November, finding a laundry list of policy characteristics that the report said allowed a climate of abuse to occur.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

A military judge has sentenced another military training instructor in the ongoing investigation of sexual misconduct at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Senior Airman Andrew S. Lira was found guilty of having unprofessional intimate relationships -- from May 2010 through December 2011 -- with eight female trainees at Lackland, one of them a basic trainee.

He also was found guilty of adultery, and of obstructing justice by telling one of the trainees to delete all of their text messages and asking her to lie to investigators.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

Senior Airman Christopher Oliver, a military training instructor, is facing a general court-martial today at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Oliver is charged with aggravated sexual assault and abusive sexual contact against a boot camp trainee. He also is charged with having unprofessional relationships with two other basic trainees and continuing those relationships when the trainees advanced into technical training.

Training instructors are prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice from having personal relationships with trainees at any level.

Lackland Gateway walkway
Eileen Pace / TPR

The eight officers on the all-male jury panel handed Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez, a recruiter from Lake Jackson, which is near Houston, 27 years in prison – the harshest sentence issued in the sex scandal so far – which was two years longer than what was recommended by prosecutors.

The former military recruiter was also given a dishonorable discharge after his conviction on 29 of 30 charges involving sex crimes against women who came through his office.

July 2016
Ryan Poppe / TPR News

An amendment to the budget bill requires a report on the fixes recommended by Air Force commanders who investigated sexual assault in their branch of the military last year.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, San Antonio Congressman Joaquín Castro asked for a General Accountability Office (GAO) report on the 45 initiatives recommended by last year’s command-directed investigation.

Castro told the House before the vote that it is critical to ensure those measures would have a real effect on the problem.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

A military jury has found former Air Force recruiter Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez guilty of all but the most serious charge against him.

Rodriguez was found not guilty of the rape of a woman at his recruiting office near Houston, but still faces the possibility of spending years in prison.

Rodriguez faced his accusers again on Thursday, some of whom were high school students at the time of the offenses. Lt. Col. Mark Hoover with the Judge Advocate General Office said ten of the women testified about their interactions with the recruiter.

Lackland Gateway walkway
Eileen Pace / TPR

San Antonio Congressman Joaquín Castro has asked for a full report on Air Force commanders’ recommendations regarding sexual misconduct in the Air Force.

On Wednesday the congressman asked fellow Armed Services Committee members to support his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

With 32 boot camp instructors under investigation for the abuse of almost 60 victims, the investigation is the largest in the history of the Air Force.

Eileen Pace / TPR

The 502nd Air Base Wing at Joint Base San Antonio has a new commander and local political and business leaders joined military dignitaries for the change of command ceremony at the base Wednesday morning.

Brigadier General Theresa Carter took command just months after the 502nd was relocated to San Antonio after the BRAC realignment and replacing Carter is Brigadier General Robert La Brutta, who comes to the 502nd with management experience.

La Brutta was most recently the director of manpower and personnel for the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

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