Senator ends hold on Air Force chief nomination

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Associated Press

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 2 at 10:31 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House pick for Air Force chief of staff has been confirmed by the Senate.

Gen. Mark Welsh was confirmed by voice vote on Thursday.

Texas Republican John Cornyn (KOHR'-nihn) ended his hold on Welch's nomination after meeting with the general to discuss the scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, which has been roiled by accusations that instructors sexually assaulted female recruits.

In a statement, Cornyn said "General Welsh demonstrated a genuine resolve to improving Air Force-wide policies to prevent a recurrence of the grossly unacceptable conduct that took place at Lackland. "

Last month, a former instructor was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of rape and sexual assault. Military officials say the number of instructors under investigation total 15 and the number of alleged victims has increased by seven to 38.

Welsh will replace Gen. Norton Schwartz.

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