11 News Defenders: Did the Texas Air National Guard bury the truth?

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by By Mark Greenblatt / 11 News Defenders

khou.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 23 at 5:18 PM

HOUSTON -- They were told it was their imagination. They were told there was no harassment. They were told it was " unsubstantiated".

For years, high-ranking women officers in the Texas Air National Guard say they felt like they were the enemy.

They said that it was because of blocked promotions, forced demotions and inappropriate or negative comments on their record. All of it, they said, added up to inexorable pressure to leave the military.

Take Colonel Sue Hechinger, for example. Records show she served overseas with distinction during the Iraq War. She commanded thousands of soldiers and won the Bronze Star for her efforts.

Yet when she returned to Texas to continue her service here, her commander cited her for having been overseas and"leaving her mission support group adrift during her long absence."

The remark, said Hechinger, "stopped my career."

So Hechinger filed a complaint, along with two other female officers.

The 11 News Defenders uncover the truth about the Texas Air National Guard.

Still, it took years and an earlier 11 News Defenders to get an investigation off the ground.

And believe it or not, that's where the trouble really begins.

Once the investigation was finished, the Air National Guard didn'> t tell the whole truth to the complaining women or to Congress.

What were they hiding? And why did they do it?

See reporter Mark Greenblatt's story tonight at 10 for the answers.

It is an investigation that tells the whole truth and shakes up the halls of power, from Texas to Washington D.C. .

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