Bartlett calls mixed-sex Army training a failure

May 06, 1997


Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., said Tuesday the fact that an Army drill sergeant was convicted of raping female recruits shows that "mixed-sex training is a catastrophe."

Delmar Simpson, a drill sergeant at Aberdeen Proving Ground, was convicted last week by a court-martial jury of 18 counts of rape and 29 other offenses committed against female trainees. Simpson was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge.

"Captain Edward Brady, Sergeant Simpson's lawyer, got it right. Mixed-sex training is a catastrophe," Bartlett said in a press release. "It's a military disaster waiting to happen. Do we have to lose lives before we're willing to admit that it's a failure?"


"That's blaming the victim," said Linda Smith, vice president of the Washington County chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

"The problem is males in the military don't conduct themselves appropriately," she said. "It's not the fault of females who are there. It's a crime of violation against women that we see in the total of society. Obviously, their code of honor within the military doesn't exist."

Vicki Sadhevandi, director of Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) in Hagerstown, said women in the military and the rape of female recruits are separate issues.

"He (Bartlett) needs to understand what these people are doing...These individuals are in a position of power, and they're using that power in a destructive manner," Sadhevandi said.

"There are all types of situations where men and women are thrust together, and you don't have that type of behavior. It's a matter of people being responsible for their actions," she said.

Bartlett Press Secretary Lisa Wright said the congressman was "very concerned" about the Aberdeen incidents, and believes they show why "there should be single-sex recruit training" in which women train women and men train men.

Wright said Bartlett doesn't oppose women in the military, but does oppose women serving in combat.

"He feels it would not be conducive to maintaining an effective military capability because he believes the physical requirements are such that women cannot succeed" in units that are fighting all-male opposing forces, she said.

"He firmly believes that the battlefield discriminates against the weak and unorganized," Wright said.

Bartlett represents the 6th District, which includes Washington, Allegany, Garrett and Frederick counties. He serves on the House National Security Committee.

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