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Sandy Parnell: Sean has been steadfast in addressing Guard scandal

  • Author: Sandy Parnell
  • Updated: June 29, 2016
  • Published October 21, 2014

As an Alaskan, a mother, and first lady who cares deeply about our families and our future, I was disturbed to learn about the very serious problems in the Alaska National Guard.

We're all deeply concerned about the revelations of wrong-doing coming from the guard -- for the victims, for the men and women of the rank-and-file, and for our state. The terrible actions of a few, with the failure we've seen within the guard's top ranks, are unforgivable. Our guard members and their families do incredible work on behalf of Alaskans, and they deserve better.

I was with my husband, Sean, when he got the call in February with concrete information that called the Alaska guard command into question. Sean immediately called the National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations (OCI).

Sean was very frustrated, but I saw grim determination, too. The report he received on the phone that day was in sharp contrast to what he was being told by guard leadership, and my husband was committed to getting to the bottom of this.

I am thankful that the bureau's OCI responded so quickly and so professionally when my husband called for this independent, outside investigation. The insinuation by some that Sean would not take action is wrong. That is not who my husband is, and that's not what I have seen him do. He took action, immediately, every time. When he got the facts, he acted. With every specific allegation of assault, he followed up personally.

I'm saddened these issues have turned so political; this is unfortunate for Alaskans and for the victims. It's a disservice to the men and women who wear the uniform of the guard.

Ultimately, Sean is consistently trustworthy. He makes decisions in a steady and stable fashion, always looking out for others before himself. More importantly, he does not make politically motivated decisions as governor. Releasing the bureau report roughly two months before an election proves this. He has the conviction to get to the bottom of this and will see it through until every crime that has been committed is prosecuted, and an accountable command structure is restored.

Above all, it's so important to him to respect the service of our guard members.The good men and women of the guard serve and sacrifice for our safety and security. My husband is committed to protecting the integrity of their mission, and ensuring they can carry out their work for all Alaskans in an atmosphere that is safe, with accountable leadership.

Sandy Parnell is Alaska's first lady.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)

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