Army officials have suspended multiple Fort Benning drill sergeants as part of an ongoing investigation into a sexual assault allegation made by a female trainee, the Maneuver Center of Excellence announced Wednesday in a news release.
“Initial review of this incident revealed indications of additional allegations of sexual misconduct involving trainees and drill sergeants,” according to the Fort Benning statement. “We take these allegations very seriously, and we will ensure a full and thorough investigation of the facts.”
The allegations come during the gender integration of the Army’s lower ranks. In May, 18 women graduated from the One Station Unit Training as the first women to take the enlisted route to become infantrymen. The Army did not say which basic training class or classes was involved.
The drill sergeants have been suspended from drill sergeant duties, and will have no contact with trainees during the course of the investigation, according to the Fort Benning release. The names or number drill sergeants were not released.
The Army has made counseling, legal and medical services available to the trainees involved in the allegations, according to the statement.
“There is no place for sexual harassment or sexual assault in our Army,” the Benning release stated. “Our Army remains committed to maintaining a values-based climate, intolerant of these acts, and to respond appropriately when accusations are made. It is important to remember that the investigation is ongoing, and we are gathering all the facts at this time.”