Apr 152003
Authors: Cara Mason

Cara Mason

Col. Robert Eskridge gets reassigned to another position in the Air Force Academy

Last Thursday marked the change-of-command ceremony at the Air Force Academy. After three months, Vice Commandant Col. Robert Eskridge was one of four top officers to be reassigned at the academy after recent reports of sex scandals.

In the past three months, dozens of cadets reported having been raped or sexually assaulted and pressured to not report the crime.

“The Air Force needs a new leadership team in order to implement the new policy, “Agenda for Change.” We feel the reassignment of the four top officers is in the best priority for the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Duey Ford, Air Force Academy spokesperson.

Taking the place of Eskridge is a woman named Col. Debra Gray.

“I feel that Col. Gray is a highly capable woman who will succeed in Eskridge’s position,” Ford said.

After hearing about her father’s reassignment, Jocelyn Eskridge, a sophomore biological sciences major at CSU, contacted The Collegian regarding her father’s job change.

“My father has proudly served his country all over the world for nearly 26 years and now he is being removed from a job he has only held for three months,” Jocelyn said in an e-mail. “To add insult to injury, he is being replaced by someone who really has only one qualification for the job: she is a female.”

Col. Eskridge graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1977. He was an original member of “Black Hole” planning staff in Operation Desert Storm, an air campaign officer, and a special assistant to the Commandant of Cadets, along with several other credentials.

The academy insists that the decision was as “Air Force decision, not an Academy decision,” said Capt. Peter Kerr, Air Force Academy spokesperson.

At the change-of-command ceremony, during Col. Eskridge’s farewell speech, many cadets showed their appreciation, Jocelyn Eskridge said in the e-mail.

“When my dad gave his farewell speech to the Cadet Wing, he was applauded so loudly and for such a long amount of time that people who had been there for 10 years had never seen anyone get that kind of a reaction out of the Cadet Wing,” she said in the e-mail.

Col. Eskridge still thinks highly of the Academy.

“I’m still a very proud graduate of the Air Force Academy,” he said in an e-mail.

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