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Pornography, other items removed from U.S. bases

An Air Force crackdown on obscene or offensive materials on the military branch’s bases around the world found hundreds of instances of pornography and tens of thousands of other items judged inappropriate in work places and gathering spots, the service reported Friday.

The searches discovered 631 instances of pornographic materials, such as magazines, calendars, photos and videos; 3,897 instances of material considered “unprofessional,” such as images or words found on patches, coins, inside log and song books, or in heritage rooms; and 27,598 other instances of materials deemed “inappropriate” or “suggestive” such as magazines, photos and graffiti.

At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, none of the materials discovered were deemed obscene, but leaders were given wide latitude on how to report and deal with what was found last month, said base spokesman Daryl Mayer.

Wright-Patterson documented 224 instances of “inappropriate” materials, such as photos, calendars and magnets. Separately, inspectors counted 46 instances of “unprofessional” material with posters, cartoons, documents or coins at the base, Mayer said.

The basewide search found posters of World War II nose art, cheerleader photos, two stocking covered leg lamps such as those that gained fame in the movie “A Christmas Story,” a “mock x-ray,” and cartoon insects with “inappropriate words,” Mayer said.

“In some instances, if it was a computer image it was deleted,” Mayer said. “If it was someone’s personal property they were just asked to take it home. All of the issues were identified and corrected right then and there on the spot.”

Mayer said he did not know where on the base the materials were spotted. Two instances of “partisan political” material were noted, also, he said.

“Ultimately, the goal of this was not to catch people doing something wrong,” he said. “The goal was to clean up the workplace and ensure a professional environment.”

The inspections didn’t require the removal of pin-up models painted on historic military aircraft at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, according to museum spokeswoman Sarah Swan. “There are still no plans to remove or change any exhibits at the museum,” she said in an email Friday.

The wide ranging searches occurred at some 100 installations worldwide. The Air Force has 600,000 military and civilian personnel. Wright-Patterson has nearly 30,000 active-duty, reserve and civilian personnel assigned to the base.

Throughout the Air Force, the service branch listed items in a database that were removed or deleted, from aircraft tail art to pornographic magazines and films. The items spanned a variety of things such as a shirtless photo of football quarterback Tom Brady to a model plane made out of beer cans.

In a few cases, the military blacked out where materials were discovered or what action was taken.

Maj. Joel Harper, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, said the military redacted the information to avoid identifying a particular person or to avoid jeopardizing a possible criminal investigation.

The Air Force said in some cases the findings were turned over to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, but the service branch did not elaborate. Mayer said none of those cases involved Wright-Patterson.

Last month, Col. Cassie Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson, said the inspections were carried out at the behest of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh who wants to stop sexual assault and sexual harassment in the service.

The inspections happened while the Air Force deals with a widening sex scandal involving recruits and military training instructors at an enlisted boot camp at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

The Air Force plans to pay for lawyers to aid sexual assault victims in a pilot program set to begin this month.

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