Misawa airman takes issues to Instagram, gets high ranking attention

| October 23, 2020

A1C Sarah Figueroa – Self portrait

ninja sent along this story. Even after looking at the case a bit I think there is a lot missing from this.

An Airman First Class stationed at Misawa Air Base, Japan has taken her complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation public on Instagram. In the October 14 post she is wearing her uniform and tagged President Trump, Sen Rubio (R-FL), and several media outlets. She must have done the right tagging because it caught the eye of the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

Her post said (I apologize for formatting, it’s a quote);

My name is Sarah Figueroa and i am a victim of sexual harassment in the air force. I am stationed in Misawa and i was sexually harassed by a coworker. Since i reported this, i’ve faced retaliation in ways you wouldn’t believe. The retaliation has even reached a point of “mistakes” being made for my career development. Last week, i was followed by the airman who sexually harassed and i feared for my life. I thought i was going to die and i prayed over and over again while i was driving. I was able to report this to the military police and my chain of command was notified. I met with my commander this morning and he was the most unprofessional person, he made it obvious this was not important by coming to the meeting 30mins late and defending the guy who sexually harassed me. There is a conflict of interest in this situation, this commander works with that airman. He claims it was just a coincidence that i was followed “because it’s such a small base”. He denied and made excuses for everything i said about the guy who sexually harassed me. My commander literally told me not even to my face as i was saying that i am scared for my life (while on a call with my family) that there is nothing left to do. This man is the most heartless person i have ever met, my family was in tears begging him to help me and all he did was defend the guy. I have tried to reach for help from higher positions outside of my base but the decision to leave ultimately rests on my commander. If you can, please spread this to your platforms. If you know any reporters from any state, it doesn’t even matter if they’re not from florida, please DM me or tag them in this post. God forbid, i will not wait until something happens to me, for me to go missing, for me to be threatened and even further retaliated against for them to help me.

I dug through her other Instagram post and my NCO-sense got tickled by this little bit in another of her lengthy posts;

even now that this is getting some attention and i went before the vice commander of my base, no promises can be made. no one can tell me for sure what will happen. there’s only the chance that maybe they’ll “believe” my story. maybe this will look wrong enough for them to let me move to my husband’s base. maybe they’ll consider letting me go on EMERGENCY leave to visit my family that i haven’t seen in OVER A YEAR

It sounds to me like she’s a young woman, far from home, on an unaccompanied tour overseas and wants to go home. As to her complaints of sexual harassment, she gives few details. The post quoted first above says he followed her as she drove on base. Another post says that he parked next to her at a shoppette.

We are obviously not in a position to get the whole story. It sounds like her chain of command has investigated it and found it unfounded. As she says, “my acting commander told me. ‘nothing is happening to you, there’s nothing to do, this isn’t serious enough for an expedited transfer, it’s a small base and it’s a coincidence that he was behind you, your life is not in danger’”. I’m sure with such high ranking eyes now brought to bear there will be additional investigations.

If she’s being harassed and her chain has failed her, I hope to God that they all fall for their inaction. There is no place for sexual harassment in the military. We’re all one team and need to be able to trust our fellow troops. If we get any additional information, we’ll be sure to share it.

Source; Stars and Stripes

Category: "Truth or fiction?", Air Force, Guest Link, ninja

Comments (38)

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  1. Ret_25X says:

    I smell poo poo!

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    Did he hit on her and she turned him down?

    Did you make suggestive remarks or tell her dirty jokes just to see what she’d say?

    Did she collect visual evidence of him following her and/or parking next to her? If so, then that’s possible stalking, not sexual harassment, numbskull. If he only did this a couple of times instead of following her everywhere, then it could be stalking, but according to her, he only did that twice. She doesn’t indicate anything other than those two incidents. Learn some evasion stuff, numbskull.

    Ain’t nobody in the Big Wide World of Grownups going to protect you if you think someone’s up to something inappropriate toward you, unless you document it, it’s repeated, and you file a written complaint. That’s the REAL world, kids, and it ain’t pretty.

    • UpNorth says:

      “Learn some evasion stuff, numbskull”. If you’re driving, left turn, left turn, left turn, left turn. Check your mirror. Approaching a traffic light? Slow down, when the light turns yellow from green, step on the brake, like you’re stopping, then speed up.
      Easy peasy.
      On foot? Walk to the middle of the block, then stop and peruse the window, keep watching for the follower.

  3. 2banana says:

    China and Russia just laugh.

  4. Hack Stone says:

    Hack Stone finds it hard to believe that given everything that has been happening aboard Fort Hood, any Commander would summarily dismiss any allegation of sexual harassment without doing an investigation. Waiting for the “rest of the story”.

  5. MI Ranger says:

    Mason,
    I’m with you. My former NCO senses are telling me to go talk with her chain of command and see what kind of Soldier she has been. I am by no means saying she was not sexually harassed…but if I recall from my SHARP training one incident does not constitute sexual harassment. As Ex-PH2 stated did this other individual make sexually suggestive remarks in her presence? De she state her displeasure at hearing those remarks? Did he stop? If he continued, after you told him no, that is harassment. Not one incident.
    My mind often wanders while I drive, and I have found myself following the same car around base quite often, not on purpose, but because we are from the same building going to the same other building.
    I would agree with Ex-PH2 and 2banana that she needs to learn some evasion techniques to identify if someone is following her! She is likely feeling lonely, and alone and making a bigger deal out of a single incident.
    That all being said…putting on my officer hat again, her commander needs to think about the Airman and what help she needs. First and foremost is re-assurance that she can trust those appointed over her, that they have her best interest in mind. I would have gotten the full story from the other individual. Ensured that they understand that she is “not receptive to any kind of sexual or other contact”, if possible moved her to another position. Then I would send her to my biggest and smartest NCO for some extra PT and combatives training (not sure if the Air Force has this). Followed by a defensive drivers training course. Sometimes people volunteer for things they don’t realize they need! Clearly this young women is media savvy, she just needs to learn to take care of herself. Teach her to do so, and she will likely be one of your best assets…fail to do so, and as you can see she will haunt you until you die!

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Agreed, MI Ranger, but the cynic in my head says that she might also be up to something besides just a simple complaint.

      I think that this does bear further investigation. And did they question the person she thinks is pursuing her?

      • Ret_25X says:

        several possibilities exist:

        1. having been caught at some misconduct, she is throwing the SHARP card
        2. having been ghosted by a would be relationship she seeks revenge
        3. she is having an early stage of psychosis (see post below)
        4. something happened and she is leveraging it for some personal gain
        5. she is a victim being aggressively retaliated against by bigoted, rapey, poster boys for the metoo movement.

        Now, while we cannot rule out option 5, it is important to investigate 1 to 4 as well.

        Experience is telling us that something may not be right with this story…what that is forms the operative question

  6. FuzeVT says:

    The problem is that I have been trained by others her age to expect baseless bitching on account of any perceived slight. That may not be the case here, but I always default to that position because of the snowflake tendency of most folks under 35 (which would no doubt include her commander – level of unit not specified so I am thinking company or below).

    Sidestepping the command all the way up to the Commander in Chief is pretty ballsy, though. Or super stupid. I don’t hope she was sexually harassed, but if she doesn’t have a solid case of that plus proof the command ignored her, she is going to have some ‘splaining to do.

    • Ret_25X says:

      bitching and moaning is part of being a Private.

      sometimes it is difficult to know when they are just running their mouths and when something is seriously wrong.

      that said, her behavior is screaming “Personality Disorder” to me.

  7. Skippy says:

    Popcorn is ready
    Waiting on the rest of the story here

  8. JBUSMC says:

    Did she post that photo with the above post?

  9. Devtun says:

    Made me think of The Doors tune ‘Unhappy Girl’.

  10. KoB says:

    I’ll go with what George said so many years (decades) ago. Plug in your headphones and turn it up. Methinks that Ms Brat is playing her entitlement card.

  11. Ret_25X says:

    back in the early 2000s there was a “thing” where people believed they were being chased or watched or whatever by “agents”….

    That has evolved now to raycysts and raypizts.

    Who knows…next year the moral panic may be over left handed albinos…

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-019-0427-z

    • Ret_25X says:

      the “afraid for my life” aspect is a give away to to look for these classic disorders.

      • Mason says:

        She does appear to be about the right age for the onset of schizophrenia. I’d hope if she’s displaying signs of a mental health issue that she’d get referred to the proper help. Though telling a crazy person they’re crazy rarely helps the situation, especially if said person thinks you’re out to get them.

        • Ret_25X says:

          the real challenge is that no one really wants to diagnose these issues–military or not.

          It is not a consequence of not caring, but of believing that the diagnosis is ‘labeling” the person.

          Well, the “label” opens up actual treatment, so….

          Another problem is that she will certainly claim that referral for an eval is “retaliation” and it will feed the problem if that is what is going on here.

          Our therapeutic culture feeds this BS and we need to go back to a time of standards and safety that standards bring.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to mention the creepy clown craze…

    • Radioactive G-Spot says:

      Sounds like a classic case of ‘gang-stalking’ to me.

      Seriously though, if the allegations are true, I hope she gets the help and support she needs. No one should ever have to go through that.

  12. rgr1480 says:

    “…maybe this will look wrong enough for them to let me move to my husband’s base. …”

    There’s yer money quote.

    • Stacy0311 says:

      Had a very similar situation occur back in 2006.

      Soldier complained that she was sexually assaulted by another soldier.

      Since we were deployed, the quickest, easiest thing to do was transfer the soldier to another FOB. Where their partner was.

      Investigation did not end well for the accuser

      • Ret_25X says:

        we had a “spike” in rape and sexual assaults in IZ in 2010. All but one were false…many were just twilight zone level ridiculous.

        No one wanted to be honest and discipline these knuckleheads for wasting resources meant for actual victims, instead rewarding them with early tickets home.

        Instead, they were rewarded with early theater departure to home bases. What a racket.

  13. Sapper3307 says:

    BY Felisha!

  14. ninja says:

    Agree with what Mason covered.

    This whole story is VERY ODD…

    Just can’t figure out HOW it got out to the Stars and Stripes.

    Always thought the Military/Department of Defense had to go thru their Service’s Public Affairs Office before stories such as this is made public.

    Sadly, IMHO, the Stars and Stripes seems as if it is turning into a Social Justice Warrior publication.

    Yes, I still read it via Internet…and have to admit am taken back when reading stories such as this.

  15. Jus Bill says:

    My DoD-issued BS Detector is alarming over her story. I agree that she just wants to go home to the states. I’ll wait for the followup.

  16. Mike B USAF Retired says:

    Her post, OMG, if one of my Airmen handed me a letter like that, I’d hand it back to them. Lack of capitalization, and one long ass paragraph. That said….

    She’s sounds homesick.
    She’s young and away from family.
    She misses her husband.
    She wants to be stationed with husband.
    Emergency leave because your homesick….WTF

    Going on my guts instincts here….

    She could be depressed.
    She could be headed towards being suicidal.

    OK the harassment part….

    She might have been harassed.
    She might have made it up to get reassigned.

    There are to many curves in this story, that you have to wonder what the motive is.

    Even as a NCO (TSgt) if one of my troops came to me with any allegations it was elevated properly. Plus I was with them from beginning to end. Also most Commanders try to handle incidents in-house, as to not air their dirty laundry.

    Knowing how many Commanders have been fired in the last year over incidents. Either there is nothing to collaborate her story or her Command Staff is just plain brainless.

    Just the opinion of an Old Retired USAF NCO.

  17. waltusaf says:

    Emergency leave to visit your family? I thought emergency leave was for things like a death in the family, not because you’re homesick. As far as not being stationed at the same base as her husband, they always told us “Air Force needs come first”.

    • USMC Steve says:

      This is the sort of thing that happens when a service routinely coddles its people. You end up with a mob of pussies who think of themselves first.

  18. Flakpup says:

    Previously stationed at Misawa (really miss the Beef Dunbri bowl at the Cheese Roll and Noodle restaurant) and while it is at least a 2-year overseas tour, it isn’t an unaccompanied remote site. So, and this is all assumptions, she is a young A1C with a husband at another base… then I am, once again assuming, that this is another individual who opted for the tech school marriage prior to first assignment. From personal observation, such marriages rarely stand the test of time and often are indicators of definite maturity issues for all involved.

    • Dennis - not chevy says:

      When I was an instructor and course supervisor at a ATC (now AETC) base, I once recommended that Tech School students be barred from getting married while on student status. The precedent for my recommendation was from the remote base I was stationed where the Base Commander ordered the Chaplains not to perform wedding ceremonies. My Commander at the ATC base told me it was none of my business. Like you, I never saw much future in these marriages.