T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation
365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
May 14, 2003
12:01 a.m. ET/+5GMT/-3PT
(Washington, D.C.) The mother of Pfc. Barry Winchell, the soldier who was beaten to death at Fort Campbell, Kentucky by fellow soldiers who believed he was gay met Tuesday with the man in charge of the base at the time. Winchell was beaten to death with a baseball bat as he lay in his bunk in 1999. The commanding officer at Fort Campbell, Maj. Gen. Robert T. Clark, has been re-nominated by president Bush to command the Fifth U.S. Army. The original nomination was not confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee during the last session of Congress after serious concerns arose about Clark's leadership before and after Winchell's killing.
Patricia Kutteles, Winchell's mother, and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network are calling for Clark's nomination to be rejected. Kuttles met Tuesday with Clark for the first time since her son's murder. The meeting was held at Clark's invitation but when it was over Kuttles said she still was not satisfied. She said that Clark did not do enough to stop anti-gay harassment on the base and showed no remorse. "Gen. Clark still did not take any responsibility and still did not even say he was sorry he hadn't reached out to us," she said. Today she is scheduled to meet with ranking members of the Armed Services Committee.
Hearings on Clark's promotion have been held behind closed doors. Tuesday the SLDN called on Sen. John Warner (R-VA), Chair of the committee to hold open hearings. In a statement SLDN said the committee should "give the same consideration and level of scrutiny to the nomination that scandals within the U.S. Air Force Academy received earlier in the year. In response to reports of wide spread sexual misconduct made by female cadets, the Committee held an open hearing regarding the cases and forced the removal of academy leaders. SLDN has asked for similar action regarding Clark's nomination." There has been no response from Sen. Warner.
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