Rumors that a Security Forces airman bribed their way to a passing score on the annual physical fitness test that were shared online last summer were false, Ramstein Air Force Base officials concluded in Germany after an investigation.
“An 86th SFS SNCO here in Ramstein was caught bribing the tester to change pt numbers so he met standards and didn’t fail,” an anonymous tipster said July 30 on the Amn/NCO/SNCO page, where airmen often go to let off steam and share inside information about their duty stations. This post has been liked over 800 times, received almost 400 comments and has been the subject of fierce debate online for several weeks.
Sandra Archer-Harris, spokesperson for Ramstein’s 86th Security Forces Squadron, confirmed to Military.com in August that there was an “ongoing investigation” into the social media post. Four months later, Ramstein officials said the story shared online was false.
Read more : Did an airman offer a bribe to pass a fitness test? Ramstein officials are investigating
“The investigation into the corruption allegations has been completed and has not revealed any instances of corruption and the specific accusation is false,” an 86th Airlift Wing public affairs officer told Military.com on Tuesday in a E-mail.
Corruption is a serious allegation for the military and is punishable under Article 124 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The social media poster also alleged in July that the entire security force squad had to undergo more frequent and rigorous physical training than usual following the incident.
“Instead of punishing [the] individual and holding them accountable, Airmen are now required to attend more pts so no one else is in the same position to fail,” the person wrote in July.
A photo of a July 27 memo was uploaded to the Facebook page, which was authenticated by an 86th Security Forces Squadron spokesperson on Military.com. The policy mandated three additional physical training sessions each week for those who scored below 95% on an internal fitness test.
Archer-Harris said in August that the policy was not punitive, but was a way to prepare Security Forces Airmen for their missions and jobs.
“The 86 SFS Physical Training Policy is one of many initiatives designed to ensure that 86 SFS defenders meet both physical and combat readiness requirements,” Archer-Harris said in a statement sent by email in August. “Fitness programs are constantly evaluated to ensure each Defender is ready to perform air base ground defense at home and abroad.”
Other security force airmen also complained anonymously on the Facebook page in July and August, alleging they were working nearly 18-hour days because of the extra PT.
“86 SFS leadership allows supervisors at the lowest level to maximize schedule flexibility and ensure our Airmen are not working unnecessary hours,” Archer-Harris said at the time.
The false report of the bribery incident comes as the Air Force and many other military branches consider changing their physical fitness tests to provide more options for the military. Their fitness scores can often be the difference between career advancement and being kicked out of the force.
Last November, the Air Force changed its fitness test to offer a 20-meter shuttle run, hand-release push-ups, and cross-legged reverse crunches or planks as new options, instead of the traditional 1.5 mile run, push-ups and sit-ups.
Additionally, the service said the Air Force surgeon general recommended waist-to-height ratio as the best method to assess body composition instead of the long-used strip test.
The false allegation report also reflects a recent situation at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Last month, the service announced that an airman at Luke Air Force Base faced punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice after an investigation found he had falsified racist texts claiming he had been refused a special assignment.
The alleged texts between airmen on the base were also shared on the popular Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page on May 4, and the exchange quickly went viral. A few days later, the service said it was investigating the incident. Five months after the screenshots were shared, Luke Air Force Base spokesman Sean Clements said the investigation showed the posts were fake.
“The 56th Fighter Wing has concluded its investigation into reports that an Airman was denied a special assignment by his supervisor based on his demographic identity,” Clements told Military.com in an emailed statement. last month. “Following a thorough investigation, authorities have determined that the published statements did not occur and that the text messages were false.”
Follow-up questions about when Ramstein officials concluded the investigation and whether there were any violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice related to the bogus bribery charge were not immediately returned prior to publication.
“We take all of these issues seriously and continue to work with unit leaders to ensure our members are ready to execute the Global Gateway mission,” the 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs said in an emailed statement.
— Thomas Novelly can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
Related: Airman forged racist texts claiming he was denied special duty, inquest finds
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