Service ribbons adorn the uniform worn by a Maine Army National Guard member. Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

After   reading the articles on sexual harassment complaints in the National Guard, it is not specific to only the National Guard. I retired in 1993 and my whole career was dedicated to the Infantry and Armor branches which, at that time, had no female integration into the combat arms branches. There were little or no sexual harassment complaints filed in any of the units where I was in a leadership position.

The integration of women into combat arms certainly raises the chance that there would be sexual harassment cases reported. The filing of sexual harassment complaints starts out at the lowest level of leadership and goes through the chain of command until it reaches the highest level where it should be investigated. It is the chain of command that is ultimately responsible for handling all sexual harassment charges and both sides of the complaint should be investigated thoroughly and the appropriate punishment dealt with.

I was fortunate enough to have a very good chain of command when I was a senior non-commissioned officer and I feel that all complaints that arose were handled appropriately. I did not have the opportunity to work directly with female soldiers in combat arms, however I was afforded the opportunity to work with females during my time as a drill sergeant when the Army started the integration of women in basic combat training. I worked with some outstanding female drill sergeants that I believe could serve in combat arms and I would be glad to work alongside them in any capacity.

Any sexual harassment complaints during this time of my service were investigated, taken care of and dealt with swiftly by the appropriate chain of command. Soldiers are soldiers, regardless of gender, and it is up to the chain of command to ensure that they are taken care of. Our citizen soldiers (National Guard) deserve the same actions as our active duty soldiers.

Jeffrey R. Weatherbee