Two views of Parnell’s closed-door meeting with National Guard troops

From the Fairbanks News-Miner:

On Sunday afternoon, Gov. Sean Parnell held a closed-door meeting with soldiers in the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage…It’s certainly a good idea to involve front-line Guard members in reforming their organization, presuming they aren’t completely distrustful of the command structure after years of abuses. But it seems like a poor move by Gov. Parnell — who is already under fire for his office’s stonewalling of requests for documents relating to the scandal — to once again shut the door on the public and the press as he deals with the fallout.

Here’s what Rep. Don Young’s long-time campaign manager had to say about the meeting:

parnell guard hood


17 thoughts on “Two views of Parnell’s closed-door meeting with National Guard troops

  1. AH HA

    Plaintiff, )
    v. ) Civil Action No. 08-207 (ESH)
    ARMY NATIONAL GUARD, and the )
    CORPS, )
    Defendants. )

    Mr. Gamble, formerly Major Gamble… convicted of sexually abusing subordinates. He got a couple of years confinement. Of note is that this was not prosecuted by Alaskan authorities. He was finally caught and prosecuted while on Federal duty.

    this case also contains allegations that there had been similar incidents of sexual misconduct while gamble was working at Alaska Military Youth Academy. Apparently He seeks to overturn his conviction claiming that the record of the earlier activity should not have been released to the investigating officer.

  2. AH HA

    Posted: Friday, April 27, 2001

    FAIRBANKS (AP) — A bias trial against the Alaska Air National Guard continued Thursday in Fairbanks.

    Steve Armstrong, a 40-year-old Athabascan Indian, says his former supervisor, Steve Stalker, treated him more harshly than the rest of his co-workers at the 168th Air Refueling Wing at Eielson Air Force Base. Armstrong worked at the refueling wing from 1996 to 1998.

    Armstrong also says a white man was hired to fill a position for which he was more qualified. Currently Armstrong works as a full-time civilian employee in the supply department of the Guard.

    ”Just about every time I completed a task he criticized me,” Armstrong said of Stalker during testimony Wednesday in U.S. District Court. ”He didn’t like the way I answered the phone.”

    Armstrong contends that Stalker constantly called him ”Goober” and ”idiot,” a claim that was supported by two former co-workers………….

  3. AH HA

    Juneau Alaska October 10, 1986 – An Alaska Army National Guard recruiter was convicted of Promoting prostitution following an undercover investigation by JPD officers. ..(He was running the string prostitutes out of his recruiting office in the Juneau Armory)

    It was the first prostitution related investigation in Juneau since the mid-1970’s when police arrested a massage parlor operator.

  4. AH HA

    You are correct that he had asked for OCI to investigate. What is unclear at this point is exactly what he was aware of at that point. It seems certain that he had at least two telephonic discussions with three three senior chaplains and that he had queried his TAG regarding the allegations.

    So far the governor has been very reluctant to release information about this mess and While I’m certain he feels he needs to protect any victims and additionally should not publicly release the names of those who are under investigation he also has a responsibility to be open and forthright.

  5. Lynn Willis

    Ah Ha,
    You are correct that a problem has existed and that politicians have been loath to step in. My point is that this is the worst failure of leadership by far with these multiple allegations of sexual assault and other suspect criminal behavior. The myth is that this degree of misconduct was ever-present. It wasn’t, or you would have seen similar headlines a long time ago.
    I am tired of hearing the spin that Parnell has no authority and now he alone is riding to the rescue of the Guard after he wouldn’t listen over the past few years. Remember a very credible State Senator finally had to motivate him to get past accepting the explanations of Katkus. Also I suggest the Governor still won’t take the effective legal action that is now required to end this.

  6. Straitlaced Radical

    AH HA,

    Some would argue he’s already been doing that. He started digging into this and asked for the OCI investigation before the press started running all their coverage last spring. For what it’s worth.

  7. AH HA

    Truth Teller, I agree that talking to the troops in this manner was, at this point, probably the best thing he could do for them as a unit even though it’s not going to help him any in his campaign for reelection. I for one believe that Parnell is as ethical as any other politician I’ve ever met (as a class they are ethically challenged), and it appears that what really happened is that he was made aware of the problems and when he turned to his chief of staff and the TAG and demanded an answer he got a lie. Does that excuse him from culpability? No. of course not and it will most likely cost him another term as governor.

    As far as risking his political future? Really? I think it’s sort of obvious that his hopes for re-election are pretty much cooked. What we will get to see now is a test of his character and ethic’s.. Will he do the right thing even when in so doing he will harm his own interests?

  8. AH HA

    As far as the myth goes… Really??

    If it’s a myth why did Governor Knowles acknowledge the problem ? Of course he never bothered to actually do anything to correct it but when an independent investigation went public he did ‘go through the motions’.

    The guard has had a toxic leadership culture for more than a decade and over the years it’s caused many problems. While this appears to be the worst of them, it is just the last in a long line of problems that are a direct result of that toxic leadership.

  9. AH HA

    illicit? The last thing we need in Alaska is another prosecutorial agency that that likes to use illicit testimony….

  10. Les Moore

    When Ken Blaylock reported numerous sexual assaults to APD, he was essentially silenced by Tom Katkus and APD LT Tony Henry.

    Tony Henry is listed on the ASD website as a School Resource Officer.

    How long has Tony Henry been an SRO with ASD/APD ?

    The current Chief of APD, Mark Mew, would have been the head of security with ASD when the Three Headed Monster was assaulting high school students.

    I wouldn’t trust Mark Mew to investigate anything at this point.

    The cover up deepens……..

  11. Les Moore

    When Ken Blaylock reported numerous sexual assaults to APD, he was essentially silenced by Tom Katkus and APD LT Tony Henry.

    Tony Henry is listed on the ASD website as a School Resource Officer.

    How long has Tony Henry been an SRO with ASD/APD ?

    The current Chief of APD, Mark Mew, would have been the head of security with ASD when the Three Headed Monster was assaulting high school students.

    I wouldn’t trust Mark Mew to investigate anything at this point.

    The cover up deepens……..

  12. Reid

    Jerry Hood nailed it. Sean Parnell is the first Governor to take on the Guard. Not Palin, Murkowski, Knowles or Hickel.
    Remember ladies and gentlemen, Walker was approached about the problem too. What did he do? He leaked the info, to play politics, to Begich. Sad but true.

  13. Lynn Willis

    The Dispatch News just published these Headlines today “3 National Guard Officers fired, 2 for the second time” and “Anchorage School District bans military recruiters indefinitely”. Those kind of headlines never appeared when I was in the Guard so this myth that the Guard has always been this screwed up has got to end. I suggest the same with the myth that the Governor has limited authority to act. In fact, the article describing the latest “firings” states: “”transitions in senior leadership” were made Monday at the direction of Governor Sean Parnell…” Apparently he has somehow either been granted authority over the weekend or has now discovered the authority that was always there. So please put that “lack of authority” rumor to rest. Again, note that nobody has actually been fired. They have either been asked to resign or shuffled off to someplace else; however, the Governor precipitated those actions. If that isn’t authority then I don’t know what authority is.
    As to his meeting with the Troops, I have never seen such a thing where an elected official can restrict attendance at a troop formation by banning officers above a certain pay grade, let alone civilians and the press. It must take some level of authority to be able to command that arrangement.
    My complaint is about how this is being handled. We need a prosecutorial agency to illicit testimony under oath for the basis of legal proceedings to end this while the Governor seems to want to do everything but that. Then we need to restructure the organization to strengthen it against further breakdowns of leadership and restore the good name of the Guard so our recruiters can be allowed back into the schools. Do have any suggestions of how we can otherwise accomplish those ends?

  14. slipstream

    This was primarily a photo op. Parnell knew about this problem for years and did nothing — but now the election is almost here and he wants to look like a leader. Doesn’t fool me.

  15. Truth Teller

    Mr. Willis – For clarification, the governor’s discussion wasn’t a campaign event. The media wasn’t invited. He went to talk with the troops. I applaud Gov. Parnell. He seems to be the first governor to care enough about the troops to work towards change. Mr. Willis, as a former Guard member you know first hand that the governor has limited authority. The governor appears to be disgusted as many of us are that the national brass is taking so long to get to the bottom of this. Thank God , Parnell is the governor and has put politics aside and has risked his political future for the betterment of the troops.

  16. Lynn Willis

    If this effort by the Governor helps to bring justice to all involved and bring about solutions to the problems that created this situation – good. Was this primarily a campaign function, a briefing, a pep talk, an airing of grievances, an apology, something else, or a simply a combination of the above? Don Young’s campaign manager certainly politicized the event while the News Miner Editor makes a very valid point. I wonder how the national press would react if President Obama traveled to a major Army command and insisted on talking to the troops without the officers of that command above a certain pay grade, civilians, or members or the media allowed to attend? If you are going to invite derision from the press don’t be surprised when it arrives.

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