Entries in Cadets (3)


Obama to Graduating Cadets: World Has a 'New Feeling about America'

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- Touting his foreign policy record, President Obama on Wednesday told students graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy that they will be entering into a “new era of American leadership” because of the steps taken by his administration.

“Today, we can say with confidence and pride -- the United States is stronger, safer and more respected in the world,” the president told the roughly 1,000 graduates gathered in the Air Force football stadium.

Rather than offering the traditional advice, the president used the commencement address to hit upon several campaign themes and draw stark contrasts with his GOP rival Mitt Romney.

The president made clear his belief that “America is exceptional,” a defense against Romney who has questioned Obama's belief in America as a unique and unrivaled world power.

“The world stage is not a popularity contest,” Obama said as he defended his foreign policy decisions. “As a nation, we have vital interests, and we will do what is necessary to defend the country we love---even if it's unpopular.  But make no mistake, how we’re viewed in the world has consequences---for our national security, for your lives.”

Obama argued “there’s a new feeling about America” because of the progress made by his administration. “There's a new confidence in our leadership.  And when people around the world are asked 'Which country do you admire most?' nation comes out on top---the United States of America,” he said.

The president pointed to the end of the war in Iraq and the winding down of the war in Afghanistan as proof that the cadets are stepping into “a different world.”

“You are the first class in nine years that will graduate into a world where there are no Americans fighting in Iraq,” he said. “For the first time in your lives--and thanks to Air Force personnel who did their part--Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to our country.  We've put al Qaeda on the path to defeat.  And you are the first graduates since 9/11 who can see clearly how we'll end the war in Afghanistan.”

“We aren't just ending these wars, we're doing so in a way that makes us safer, and stronger,” he added.

Obama also highlighted the Arab Spring, saying the U.S. “led from the front” in Libya, a response to Republicans who have said the president is leading from behind.

Looking to the future, the president defended budget cuts that will create a “leaner” military, insisting the U.S. will remain “the finest, most capable military the world has ever known.”

“We'll keep our military, and our Air Force, fast, flexible and versatile,” he said. “We will maintain our military superiority in all areas -- air, land, sea, space and cyber.”

The president then stood for over two hours and saluted each graduate, shaking their hands as they received their diploma and saluted their Commander in Chief in return.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


3 Air Force Academy Cadets Charged in Unrelated Sexual Assaults

Hemera/Thinkstock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Three Air Force Academy cadets have been charged with unrelated sexual assaults against female cadets.  The news comes just a week after a Pentagon report found an increase in the reporting of sexual attacks at the academy during the past academic year.

The cadets were being accused of sexual misconduct in three separate incidents that occurred over the past 15 months, according to a statement released by the academy on Thursday.

“The charges were preferred on the same day,” said Air Force Academy spokesman Meade Warthen, but “the three separate incidents had nothing to do with each other. “

He added, “They just happened to be completed at the same time,” and that’s “the only thing they have in common with each other. They are not connected."

“Each case will be adjudicated independently and the accused in each case is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said Col. Tamra Rank, the academy’s vice superintendent. “We take these allegations seriously. Sexual misconduct is a particularly egregious offense and we have a zero tolerance policy in the Air Force.”

The arrests came almost a week after the release of the Defense Department’s annual report on sexual assault at the military’s service academies, which found cases rose sharply over the last academic year to 65 from 41.

The report found the largest increase in such incidents took place at the Air Force Academy, where there were 33 reports of sexual assault, up from 20 the previous academic year. The report defined sexual assault as any kind of sexual misconduct ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

Since 2003, there have been four court martials involving Academy cadets who were accused of sexual assault, Warthen said.

Cadet Robert Evenson is accused of the most serious offenses, including rape, unlawful sex acts, engaging in an unprofessional relationship and conduct unbecoming an officer.  Charge sheets accuse Evenson of raping a female cadet in 2010 and of engaging in forced sex acts two other times that year. He is also accused of abusing his position as the cadet non-commissioned officer for honor cases by helping a female cadet “with her honor case in return for a dating relationship and sexual favors.”

Cadet Stephan Claxton is accused of having struck a fellow cadet on the face with his fist and then unbuttoning and unzipping her pants during a November 2011 incident. He is also being charged for a March 2011 incident where he engaged in sexual contact with a female cadet “without legal justification or lawful authorization and without the permission” of the cadet.

Cadet Kyle Cressy is accused of aggravated sexual assault on a woman while she was “substantially incapacitated” during an incident in May 2011.

The three cadets will now face Article 32 hearings, which are the military’s version a civilian grand jury, where an investigating officer will hear evidence to determine if the cases should proceed to a court-martial.

As is customary with service members awaiting such hearings, they remain on active duty while they await the hearings. Two of the three cadets are continuing to attend classes at the school, Warthen said. The third cadet, Evenson, was supposed to have graduated last year, but his graduation has been delayed until his case is resolved. He remains at the academy working for the commandant of cadets.

The hearings are expected to take place in late January or early February.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lightning Strike at Mississippi Base Sends 77 Cadets to Hospitals

Comstock/Thinkstock(HATTIESBURG, Miss.) -- Seventy-seven Air Force cadets wound up in the hospital Wednesday after their military training base in Mississippi was struck by lightning, officials said.

According to ABC News affiliate WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, the cadets were in the vicinity of the strike, which came down around 2 p.m. at Camp Shelby.

"There was a light pole that was struck and there were several people that were in the proximity in a tent," Lt. Col. Jim Ainsworth said.  "What happened is they were in the proximity and they felt the ground shake; that kind of thing, and we just wanted to make sure that they were OK."

All of the cadets were taken to nearby hospitals for evaluations, with two of them being rushed by ambulance as a precaution. U.S. Army representatives say all 77 are doing well.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio