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Air Force Drops Rape Simulations From Cadet Training

April 27, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Air Force Academy has dropped all aspects of survival training related to complaints that cadets were being forced to realistically simulate rape, the Air Force said Thursday.

Earlier this month, the Air Force said it would drop the role-playing _ which some cadets charged had gone too far _ and begin using videotapes to teach resistance and escape methods to be used in the event of capture.

But on Thursday, the Air Force announced its top leaders had decided resistance and escape tactics need not be taught at the academy at all, and they ordered that even video versions of the training be scrapped.

``Effective immediately, only survival and evasion training will be conducted at the academy for cadets,″ the Air Force said in a statement issued at the Pentagon.

``The number of academy graduates entering career fields requiring a high level of survival and resistance training has declined,″ the statement said.

Therefore, the Air Force said, cadets will be schooled in tactics such as those needed to ``survive in a range of natural conditions to evade capture.″

Academy graduates who go on to complete special flight or technical training will be required to undergo further training that would include resistance and escape tactics, the announcement said.

The decision was made by Air Force Secretary Shiela Widnall and service’s top officer, Gen. Ronald Fogleman, following a review of the academy training program, the Air Force statement said.

Earlier this month, ABC’s ``20-20″ interviewed two cadets at the academy in Colorado Springs who said the training exercises became far too realistic.

A 21-year-old woman said she was grabbed by a male cadet, forced onto a table in a small room and had some of her clothing removed by another male cadet, who stood between her legs to simulate rape.

The cadet, who requested anonymity, said the rape scenario ended when she kicked one of the men in the groin.

Christian Polintan, 19, a male cadet who has since left the academy, told ABC he was dressed in women’s clothing and paraded around camp. He said a trainer removed his skirt and instructed another cadet to mount him.

``He told me to bend over the table. I was just in shock of what they were doing. I could not believe it was happening to me,″ Polintan said. When it was over, ``A lot of things were going through my mind. I wanted to kill myself.″

The program had begun in 1969 to prepare cadets for coercive tactics used in warfare by potential captors.

Coping with sexual assault in wartime prison camps was added to the program after U.S. personnel captured by Iraqis in the Gulf War were sexually assaulted and harassed.

About 500 of the Air Force Academy’s 1,400 cadets are women.

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