Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Funny, and Not Funny At ALL

First the funny...

Well, it would be funny if it weren't true.  There's that, I suppose.

And then there's this, from the Usual USAF Source:
Third Air Force Commander Overturns Sexual Misconduct Conviction: Third Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin has overturned the conviction of Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, former 31st Fighter Wing inspector general at Aviano AB, Italy, citing lack of sufficient evidence. Franklin rendered this decision in late February. Last November, a military court found Wilkerson guilty of improper sexual conduct with a female civilian base employee. However, "after a careful, lengthy, and thorough deliberation, Lieutenant General Franklin concluded the evidence presented at trial did not amount to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and he declined to approve the conviction," US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Baldwin told the Daily Report on March 4. Baldwin noted that Franklin "acted within his authority in deciding the conviction should not stand" and "would not have performed his duties had he taken any other course of action." Authorities released Wilkerson from confinement on Feb. 26. Baldwin said Air Force officials are now determining Wilkerson's next assignment and whether he will receive a promotion to the rank of colonel. "We're working closely with Air Force headquarters to complete these actions as quickly as possible," he said. Baldwin emphasized that Franklin "does not personally know" nor does he recall "ever interacting in any social setting" with Wilkerson.
—Amy McCullough
Good on Gen. Franklin.  A reversal is highly unusual in the military justice system under any circumstances and a reversal in a sexual misconduct case is basically unheard of, especially in the current climate.  When I say "current climate," I mean things like this:
"The Air Force and the 31st Fighter Wing are dedicated to a culture where sexual assault is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said Brig. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 31st FW commander, in a release.


"I take any allegation of criminal conduct by someone under my command very seriously—regardless of the rank of the accuser or that of the alleged offender," stated Zobrist.
Allegations of sexual assault SHOULD be taken seriously, each and every time.  That said, I believe there's a difference between prompt and proper investigations and a witch-hunt.  I've been following the sexual abuse issue ever since the scandals at basic training blew up last year, and the scandals at the Air Force Academy before that.  Forgive me, Gentle Reader, but it seems like the Air Force might be overreacting just a tad.

Finally, one wonders if Lt. Col. Wilkerson will stay in the service.  A charge like this, even when it's reversed, will follow him around like a sick puppy.  As for me?  I'd be pretty pissed at the service after spending three or four months in confinement, not to mention having to endure the horrors of an investigation and being relieved of my assigned position during that time, even if the Air Force pinned eagles on my shoulder.


  1. Judges 0 Commander 105 March, 2013 20:57

    I have another war story. Flyers in the USAF (enlisted as well) have to have an evaluation check ride approximately once a year. A person from Stan Eval (they usually wear black patches to instill fear) shows-up for the flight and you get evaluated on everything you do.

    The fastest way to fail is to have a safety write-up. The check ride is over, and the evaluator takes over the rest of the flight, while you go into the penalty box.

    So I fail a check ride for saftey! But I had what I considered an "above and beyond the call of duty" problem, where bravery and fearlessness over rode, the calm "give it back to the tax payers" type incident. I saved a million dollar cargo item from damage, by using my body to defend it.

    Anyway, we get to the commanders briefing, who listens to all failed check rides, and decides whether to just go ahead and pull your wings and be done with it. He looks over at me and says "that was kind of stupid, but you pulled it off" then to the evaluator he says "I'm not accepting this evaluation, and the check ride is invalid". The evalator says "you can't do that!"

    The commander reads the first paragraph, which states in effect, the check ride is done for the commander, in evaluating his troops.

    "Guess what? I'm the fucking commander!"

  2. In this day and age of the PC media, overturning the sexual charges conviction is amazing. I'm glad someone had the huevos to do it. Was that a sexist thang to say?

    1. Not sexist at all, Lou. Just plain ol' good sense.


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