Last week, the Army removed Sergeant First Class Michael McClendon from his assignment at the U.S. Military Academy for allegedly videoing female cadets at West Point, sometimes while showering.
The Army apparently only owned up to this latest sexual embarrassment Wednesday when Thom Shanker of the New York Times heard about it, and went to the Army to confirm it.
McClendon, a combat engineer who has served since 1990, is charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with indecent acts, dereliction in the performance of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, and actions prejudicial to good order and discipline.
He served at West Point from July 2009 until last week, and “is involved in an on-going investigation for possession of inappropriate images taken without consent,” the Army said. “The Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Army is contacting individuals who may have information relevant to the allegations in this case, as well as notifying everyone involved.” He videoed at least a dozen female cadets without their knowledge.
At West Point, McClendon served as a tactical noncommissioned officer, where he was responsible for the health and welfare of a 125-strong cadet company. Such an NCO is supposed to “assist each cadet in balancing and integrating the requirements of physical, military, academic and moral-ethical programs,” the West Point website says.
McClendon, from Blakely, Ga., is highly-decorated soldiers, having earned the Combat Action Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, four Iraqi Campaign Medals, nine Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, the NATO medal, a pair of National Defense Service Medals, a Joint Meritorious Unit Award, a Valorous Unit Award, the Army Superior Unit Award, three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, four Southwest Asia Service Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, three NCO Professional Development Ribbons, an Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, an Air Assault Badge, and the Sapper Tab.
He obviously can follow orders, and knows how to be a soldier.
Too bad he apparently missed all the sexual-harassment training.
He also earned the Army’s Good Conduct Medal. Seven times.