SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.—Leaders at Fairchild Air Force Base announced Monday that a commander-directed investigation has been initiated due to a three-year-old photograph of a Fairchild Airman kissing a Prisoner of War symbol.
The picture began circulating on the internet Thursday and quickly gained national attention via Facebook, the Air Force Times, Military Times, and New York Daily News.
The airman has been identified as Staff Sgt. Cherish Byers, of the 92nd Security Forces Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash., said Staff Sgt. Alex Montes, a spokesman for the 92nd Air Refueling Wing. In the picture, Byers is wearing a senior airman's rank insignia and a blue rope. There is no indication where she is.
Byers is the subject of a command-directed investigation that will determine if any disciplinary measures are warranted, Montes told Air Force Times.
On Monday, Fairchild leaders released the following statement:
“Absolutely the actions depicted in this dated photo do not accurately reflect the values and patriotism of the men and women of Fairchild Air Force Base, or the respect we hold for prisoners of war and those missing in action,” said Col. Brian Newberry, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “We set high standards for our Fairchild Airmen. We expect that our Airmen will fully appreciate the incredible importance of ensuring every service member is supported in times of trial to ensure they return with honor. We are currently gathering the facts and will take actions at the appropriate level.”
The picture was taken about three years ago but investigators do not yet know where it was taken.