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Louisville Paper Gets Disc With 232 Photos of Nude National Guard Women
By E&P Staff and The Associated Press
Published: September 28, 2006 1:55 PM ET updated 4:20 PM ET
LOUISVILLE, KY. -- U.S. Army officials are taking a close look at whether women in a Kentucky National Guard unit posed nude for pictures with their M-16s and other military equipment, authorities said.
A local newspaper reported that it had a disc containing 232 of the photos, which they did not publish, and do not plan to publish, E&P has learned.
Andrew Wolfson, who disclosed the existence of the disc in the Louisville Courier-Journal today, told E&P it came from an "anonymous" source.
"This is not the kind of activity condoned by the command leadership of the Kentucky National Guard," Lt. Col. Phil Miller, a spokesman for the Kentucky Guard, told the newspaper. The allegations were reported to the commander of the 410th Quartermaster unit a week or so before the company shipped out for Iraq on Aug. 26 from Camp Shelby, Miss.
The newspaper reported a compact disc contained 232 photographs of at least a half-dozen nude and seminude women in various poses with military rifles and covering their breasts with American flag decals. An e-mail said the women photographed were from the Kentucky Guard.
Miller said 11 of the 107 soldiers who deployed with the Danville-based unit are women.
"The CD containing the photos was sent to the paper via mail from an anonymous source. After doing background checks and some investigating, the source was deemed credible," Wolfson told E & P.
When questioned about the photos, he added, military officials did not ask to see them or get the paper's copy. He assumes, therefore, that the military has its own copy.
Several television outlets have asked the paper to release the photos, but Wolfson says: "We've been asked for it by several TV outlets, but obviously haven't given it."
It is unclear where the photographs were taken, but some of the women are shown wearing dog tags. And in many photographs, recent inoculations, like those given in preparation for service abroad, are visible.
One woman was photographed partially clad in a military uniform, and a last name is visible on the blouse. Seitz said the Kentucky Guard wouldn't confirm whether a woman with that name works in the unit.
Lt. Col. Rich Steele, a spokesman for the First Army at Fort Gillem, Ga., said that if the allegations are proved, punishment could range from informal reprimands to courts-martial. He said the investigation is being conducted in Iraq.
Maj. Dylan Seitz, a staff lawyer for the Kentucky Guard in Frankfort, said commanders there don't know how many soldiers allegedly were involved, who took the pictures, or how they were distributed.
"We don't know what happened, other than there are some photos out there," he said.
Marsha Weinstein, former executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Women, said that it would be hypocritical to punish women involved when there is a "long history of male soldiers posting pin-ups in their lockers" and of the U.S. military flying in female sex symbols to entertain mostly male troops. "I don't think these women should be court-martialed," she told the Courier-Journal.
Quartermaster units provide logistics and supply support for other troops.