The Air Force, ensnarled in a controversy over its attitude toward working wives, is convening a task force to investigate whether it is exerting too much pressure on women to support their husbands' service careers.
The seven-member panel will hold its first meeting today, with orders to report its findings by early December, the Air Force said in a statement yesterday.
Air Force sources said the factfinding effort grew out of a controversy this summer at Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana.
Several Grissom officers' wives have complained that Col. Gary R. Ebert, commander of the 305th Air Refueling Wing, pressured them to quit their private jobs to better support their husbands' careers.
In the wake of news reports about the situation, the service released a statement insisting that the Air Force "fully supports the work aspirations of spouses . . . . "
"In short, where and when the spouse works is not an issue that affects the career of the military member," the statement said.
But that broad policy statement has been contradicted by several wives of officers assigned to Grissom. One of the wives, Nattaya Leuenberger, said: "I asked him, 'Gary, I want to know exactly what is my job?' And he answered . . . 'Your job is to go to the officers' wives club's coffees, luncheons and social events.' "