Lackland AFB quick to rehab image in wake of sex scandal

Unfettered access granted to media to examine training culture

Author: John Honore, Meteorologist, jhonore@ksat.com
Published On: Jul 13 2012 04:15:43 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 13 2012 04:35:44 PM CDT
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -

Every Friday, Lackland Air Force Base graduates thousands of basic training recruits.

Recent graduates have had to deal with the pall cast over the training facility due to the explosive sex scandal that has rocked the base over the past few weeks.

Despite the severity of the allegations, not one person -- from family members to the trainees themselves -- had any reservations whatsoever about the training process at Lackland.

"I know she's tough. She can handle it. Just knowing her as a person, it probably didn't influence her much," said Tim Brown of Cincinnati, Ohio, whose sister was graduating on Friday.

"The MTIs (military training instructors) just made us feel safe. They really didn't do anything other than be professional," said Airman Cathryn Hunt, who also graduated from basic training.

Current trainees are worried that a few bad apples are tarnishing the institution that they hold dearly.

"It's frustrating sometimes because the media does see that and then it comes on the entire branch," said trainee Duree Purcell of Duquoin, Ill. "So just remember that we're professional. We're learning here as lower-in-ranks and that there is steps to take so that we can get out there and talk to our chain of command and if there is a problem, we can speak about it."

The military training instructors here are equally frustrated. They have this message for the public:

"I hope that what we do here today is that we demonstrate to you that it isn't a widespread problem and America should feel very safe and secure in this country and in its military, " said Lt. Col. Tim Thurston, U.S. Air Force 322nd basic Training Squadron at Lackland.