She Rocked the Pentagon

After a sexual assault scandal at the Tailhook convention rocked the Navy in 1991, one female officer, Paula Coughlin, launched a campaign to change military culture.

Tailhook. It was called the worst case of sexual harassment in the U.S. Navy’s history and led to promises of culture change. But almost three decades later, how much has really changed?

To answer that, we look at what really happened at the 35th Annual Tailhook convention, where investigators later determined that 83 women and 7 men had been sexually assaulted. With interviews with some of those involved – like former Navy lieutenant Paula Coughlin, who stepped into the national spotlight when she said she had been sexually assaulted at Tailhook – the story provides new context for sexual assault in the military today.

View full episodes at

Previous versions
At Retro Report, we update our journalism as news unfolds. Here are the previous published versions of this story.
For teachers
  • Producer: Karen M. Sughrue
  • Editor: Kristen Nutile
  • Reporter: Olivia Katrandjian