You'll probably talk to the Class of 2004 about the crisis they've endured in what was supposed to have been their best year at the academy, and about all of the changes they've adapted to, the sacrifices they've made -- not to mention the challenges that lie ahead in their military careers. The academy can enact the most sensitive policies and the best programs in the world, but until the men there view women as equals, the culture of hostility will continue to thrive. The academy's own numbers prove as much. Colonel Debra Gray, Gilbert's replacement, predicts that it could take eight to ten years for those attitudes, that culture, to change.
I'm looking forward to your graduation speech in 2014.
"The War Within," Julie Jargon's series on the Air Force Academy sex-assault scandal, won this year's national Investigative Reporters and Editors award for investigative reporting and took second place in the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism given by Northwestern University. Jargon is also a finalist for the Livingston Award, which honors journalists under 35; the winner of that contest will be announced June 8 in New York City. This is Jargon's final installment in the Air Force Academy series, which is archived online at www.westword.com. After five years as a staff writer atWestword, the native Denverite will move to Chicago in June.