Bartlett fears 'powder puff' military

May 10, 1997


Staff Writer

Joined by 81 colleagues, U.S. Rep Roscoe Bartlett introduced legislation Thursday that would ban mixed-sex training at military facilities.

The move follows Bartlett's comments earlier in the week in which he said mixing women and men in military training operations has been a "catastrophe."

"We're doing all of this to the goddess of political correctness," said Bartlett, who added that he did not think a "powder puff" military would be very effective.

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


Bartlett believes there should be "single-sex" training in which women train women and men train men.

Bartlett officials were optimistic about the new legislation Friday, considering the large number of congressmen who agreed to sign on to the bill. Of the 81 congressmen who signed on, six were Democrats, said Bartlett officials.

"That's a strong number to start off with. There are some that are thinking about coming on today," said Bartlett spokeswoman Sallie Taylor.

"Our goal is to produce the best fighting force to defend our country. We cannot equivocate on this or allow ourselves to be distracted by those who want to extend social engineering to this country's armed forces. To do so would spell disaster for our country," Bartlett, R-Md, said in a press release Friday.

A local National Organization for Women spokeswoman said earlier in the week that the problem is men do not conduct themselves properly in the military. The sexual harassment at military facilities is a violation against women widely seen in society, said Linda Smith, vice president of the Washington County Chapter of the National Organization for Women.

"Would she like to demasculinize the military? Preposterous," Bartlett said Friday.

Bartlett visited segregated and integrated military training facilities last week to see how they operate, Taylor said.

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