Racial Harassment Probed Air Force To Punish Civilians Who Harassed Mechanics

The Air Force is proposing disciplinary action for civilian workers accused of racially harassing two black aircraft mechanics at Kelly Air Force Base, military officials said Tuesday.

Among other complaints, the mechanics at the reservist 433rd Airlift Wing say they were taunted by co-workers who rode in a government van and wore pillowcases that looked like Ku Klux Klan hoods.

“We are treating this as a serious incident,” Kelly public affairs director Glen Whiton said Tuesday.

Kevin Harris and Phil Head, civilian mechanics with reserve status, said Monday they filed administrative complaints with the Air Force after the Sept. 16 episode. Both said it was not the first time they endured racial harassment at the San Antonio base.

Harris, 35, and Head, 31, are on administrative leave.

Whiton’s statement said attorneys have met to discuss resolving the complaint and that “appropriate disciplinary action has been proposed for the individuals responsible for this incident.”

Base officials would not identify the workers or elaborate on the possible punishment.

An Air Force memorandum on an investigation into the van incident states the four alleged offenders claim they intended that action as a joke and said they were pretending to be terrorists.

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