Sunday, January 27, 2008

Female Officer Fraternization Cases A Serious Problem.

On March 16, 1997 Lt. Col. Karen Tew found her 19-year career as an Air Force officer over. It was destroyed by her admission that she had an improper relationship with an enlisted man.

As soon as her guilty plea and dismissal were upheld on automatic appeal Colonel Karen Tew would lose her rank and all her benefits, including her military life insurance and death benefits for her survivors.

Her two teen-age daughters would get nothing from the Air Force unless Tew died before her discharge was final.
That Sunday, as Tew sat alone in her parents’ St. Charles, Mo., home, she didn't reach for the phone to call the mental health counselor she had been seeing since early December.

She reached for a shotgun and put it to her head. She was dead at age 41.

Tew is at least the third military member in 1997 to commit suicide after being charged with sexual misconduct. Her case was among those cited in a Time magazine article. But unlike the two others — an Army private charged with rape and an Army staff sergeant accused of indecent assault on a female soldier — Tew’s crime is not even illegal in the civilian world.

She's not alone — the Air Force's first female bomber pilot, 1st Lt. Kelly Flinn, was charged with fraternizing with an enlisted airman, adultery with the civilian husband of an enlisted woman, and disobeying orders to stay away from the men.

The Air Force has seen an almost yearly increase in adultery cases since 1990 and cases of fraternization — an officer having an improper relationship with a subordinate — shot up in 1994.

Both charges can get the offender kicked out of the service, but fraternization is considered the worst — it can bring up to two years in prison, while adultery has a maximum of one year.

With more women in the military, and units spending more time away from home, more opportunity exists for improper actions.

At the same time, Air Force leaders have been cracking down on such relationships, which then chief of staff, Gen. Ronald Fogleman, has described as part of the “climate of corrosion” and “culture of compromise” that threatens the service unless it returns to core values of integrity and honesty.

Capt. Bill Barksdale, a spokesman for Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, said fraternization especially can destroy a unit’s ability to work together.

“It’s tough, when you’re not in the military, to understand just what it can do to a unit,” he said. “It’s about fairness and equity in your workplace. It’s about professional working relationships — that’s what you want to maintain.”

It’s not clear why Tew would have jeopardized a career she had pursued her entire adult life.

Initially, Scott Air Force Base officials did not publicize the fact that a senior officer was charged with two counts of adultery, sodomy and fraternization. Barksdale said his office was not notified until after Tew committed suicide.

The Air Force has not released the record of Tew’s court-martial and the investigation that preceded it.

One supposition is that Tew, who was under counseling because she was considered suicidal, wanted to preserve benefits for her daughters, ages 15 and 16.
If she died before being kicked out, survivors would receive her military life insurance, a death payment and keep other benefits, such as health care.
“She understood that,” Barksdale said. “I know she knew exactly what would happen if she committed suicide.”
Until a year ago, Tew was what the Air Force calls a “fast burner,” especially considering she was not a pilot but a finance officer.

She was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1978, through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Southeast Missouri State University..
Tew held a variety of Air Force finance jobs with increasing responsibility, earning two Air Force Achievement medals, two Air Force Commendation medals and two Meritorious Service medals.
On March 2, 1994, Tew reported to Air Mobility Command headquarters at Scott, where she became chief of the resource section for the command’s inspector general — a high-profile job that required frequent travel to inspect subordinate units all over the world.
Such an assignment, and the master’s degree she had completed, made her a likely candidate for promotion to full colonel.
Before coming to Scott, Tew served as a comptroller with an Air Force wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Her husband and their daughters, Mary and Lisa, remained in Florida when she moved there.

On April 15, 1996, the judge advocate general’s (JAG) office of Scott’s 375th Airlift Wing received a call from someone — the Air Force has not said who — accusing Tew of adultery with a major in the Marine Corps Reserve.
The JAG is the military’s lawyers. It passed the information on to the regional Office of Special Investigations (OSI), the Air Force’s detectives.
On April 25, investigators contacted Master Sgt. Craig Collier, another member of the inspector general’s team, who rented Tew an apartment in the basement of his house.

According to Barksdale, the investigators wanted to know whether Tew’s landlord knew anything about the Marine but got a surprise: When they asked Collier whether he knew why they were there, he told them he assumed it was because he had an affair with Tew.
Collier was given immunity from prosecution and ordered to tell the truth about his relationship with Tew.

Collier told investigators that between March and November 1994, he and Tew had sex at various temporary duty stations, including after he got married.
The relationship was dormant until August 1995, when it resumed and ended again within the same week.
Collier since has been transferred to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.

The Air Force ordered an Article 32 investtigation, roughly the equivalent of a civilian grand jury investigation. Because of scheduling conflicts, it was not held until Nov. 25. Tew did not present a defense.

Tew’s defense counsel expressed concern that Tew was suicidal — she already had met with a chaplain a dozen times — and persuaded commanders to appoint a mental health professional who could meet with Tew in a confidential manner.
Between Dec. 4, when the Article 32 officer recommended the case be sent to trial, and her March 11 court martial, Tew met with the mental health professional 30 times as well as talking to him on the phone 40 to 50 times, an average of four contacts a week.
On March 11, Tew pleaded guilty to fraternization — the most serious charge — under a pretrial agreement, and two charges of adultery and a charge of sodomy were dropped.

Tew was sentenced to dismissal from the service and loss of benefits. Immediately after the sentencing, the mental health counselor spent between 90 minutes and two hours talking to Tew. They spoke for a similar amount of time on Thursday, March 13, and Tew confirmed an appointment for the following Monday.
She never kept it.
Viola Dwyer, Tew’s mother, said she knew her daughter was in trouble, but Tew told her little.
“I didn't even discuss that with her when she came home,” Dwyer said. “I asked her what her chances were (with the appeal), and she said she didn't think it would make a bit of difference.
“I know why she didn't want us there — she didn't want us to hear all of it.”



Blogger ichbinalj said...

In 1997, the Air Force charged the first female to qualify as a B-52 bomber pilot with adultery, false official statements, and failure to obey the lawful orders of her superior commander. That was female Lt. Kelly Flinn.
Lt. Flinn had broken the pilot barrier that previously kept women in the Air Force from flying in any aircraft qualified as a combat aircraft.
Lt. Flinn, an Air Force Academy graduate, had been selected as the first female to pilot the B-52 bomber aircraft.

But this success came to a crashing halt when allegations arose that Flinn had engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with Marc Zigo, who was married to a female enlisted airman in Flinn's squadron. Flinn's commander ordered her to stop seeing Zigo and to require him to move out of her home, where he had taken up residence. Flinn did not do so, resulting in the court-martial charges that grabbed headlines and sparked debate throughout the nation.

Once Lt. Flinn's commander preferred the charges against her, there ensued a debate that brought out the positions of members of Congress, and which detailed the lack of consistency in treatment of cases in which adultery had been at least one charge included in a court-martial.
Lt. Flinn was given an administrative separation, and in the end, the Secretary of the Air Force, the first woman to serve in that post, Sheila Widnall, approved a general discharge for Flinn, who thereby avoided a criminal conviction for her conduct.

3:54 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

WASHINGTON (2 March 2008) The divorce rate in the armed forces held steady last year at 3.3 percent, a surprising finding given the stress that marriages are under during persistent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some veterans questioned whether the figure, reported by the Pentagon, presents an accurate picture. But defense officials credited efforts in recent years to support couples enduring uncommonly long separations and other hardships because of those wars.

The divorce rate represented more than 25,000 failed marriages among the nearly 755,000 married active duty troops in all military branches between Oct. 1, 2006, and Oct. 1, 2007, according to statistics provided to The Associated Press.

12:23 AM  
Blogger energioso said...

Fraternization is prevalent, because there is not a separation of duties between the genders. In the age of femi-nazism, this trend will continue to rise.

In our efforts for equal gender rights, it has created a perfect storm of lack of adhesion to military discipline and attentiveness in the event of an attack.

It has left us less prepared to fight and has crippled our combat readiness.

Unfortunately, this trend will continue as long as females lust after men in power such as Captains,Commanders,etc. This has been the case since the Egyptians, Greeks,and Romans. This trend will not change as long as the genders together are in combat.

9:54 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Joanna Voss is scheduled to begin classes this fall at the Air Force Academy, becoming the fourth member of her family to attend a major U.S. military academy.
The 18-year-old female senior from La Valle, Wisconsin has not decided on a career yet, but knows she wants to be a pilot and possibly an astronaut or a mission control specialist.
Her brother Jameson is an Air Force Academy graduate, brother Jordon a Naval Academy graduate and brother Jon is attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Recommendations from members of Congress, which are required for applicants to the academies, have come for the siblings from both political parties, and while other family members have served in the military, none of the others has attended an academy.
(3/10/2008 NavyTimes)

7:51 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan — A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for valor.
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.
After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.
“I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there,” Brown said.
Brown, of Lake Jackson, Texas, is scheduled to receive the Silver Star later in March 2008. She was part of a four-vehicle convoy patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia on April 25, 2007, when a bomb struck one of the Humvees.
The military said Brown’s “bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat.”
Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from her unit, the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.

7:56 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

Joanna Voss and her siblings are a great example of leadership and patriotism to their country. They are to be commended.

I would encourage Joanna to talk in depth with her brothers and friends about the mistakes Webster Smith made(albeit not enough to deserve a court martial), and how the Coast Guard ruined his promising career in a nano second.

This can happen to all young aspiring men and women. Beware.

11:24 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

Bully for you Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown!!

In addition to the silver star medal, you deserve the medal of honor followed by the distinguished service cross for valor and bravery.

Don't understand why they only stopped at the silver star medal. The highest military honor is the medal of honor. In my book, you deserved the medal of honor.

You are an honor to our country and we are proud of your efforts to defend her and protect my freedom.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll never get rid of fraternization, it'll only be driven underground, especially as these no-win endless racist wars go on. Re Col. Tew: I just hope for the prosecutors of Col. Tew that they wind up in the hottest area of hell after very miserable lives, hopefully on skid row. They needlessly drove the woman to suicide.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ENERGIOSO - Wow, your comment about females lusting after men in power struck me. From what I've seen, and Col Tew's example indicates that most time female officers are fraternizing with more junior men. Look at young ENS and LTJGs on cutters, it's usually not the CO they are sucking face with on port calls. I think it's the opposite, females are seeking out validation and usually aren't finding it from senior officers or peers and thus the door opens when a junior member is lusting after her.

1:33 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

Anonymous, I agree in part with your observations. The young junior males are prime targets for any female seeking validation these days. Personally, I respect a woman’s right to join the ranks of officer. Studies were done back in 1977 MAX WAC (Women’s Army Corps) and found that "field exercises held the previous year to test the effectiveness of sexually integrated combat-support units had been inadequate. Many of the troops, particularly the women,had not thought it through to the realization that had it been a war, both male and female soldiers could have been killed or wounded. (It)was known that sexual intercourse was occurring, but not more than occurs in garrison" (War and American Women: Heroism, Deeds, and Controversy. Contributors: William B. Breuer - author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1997. Page Number: 118).

While this may have happened decades ago, in the Coast Guard Academy and aboard the Cutters, I believe there may be a few female gold diggers out there who would have relations with a CO (male or female) in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. The majority of woman in the Coast Guard are good, decent young women who love their country and their countrymen.

In Cadet Webster Smith’s case, the female cadets who may have had relations with Cadet Smith are not evil young women. They are not unblemished either. They found religion and became Nuns thanks in part to the coaching and leadership of CDR Gill in order to protect their cute careers. They were turned into innocent victims by the prosecutorial team. Each of them landed an Academy Award, an Oscar for their performance, even if their performance was exactly the same charge that CGA Cadet Webster Smith was convicted on. I salute them and only wish them the best. I also award a purple heart, and Congressional Gold Medal to a Black Cadet who took the mortal wound for all of them, CGA Cadet Webster Smith, a true American Hero. The history books will eventually right the wrong as so often happens in cases of Black military injustices, and realize that CGA Cadet Webster Smith was the authentic fall guy for this fiasco. It took over 50 years for the Tuskegee Airmen to receive their just rewards with most them already dead. In 2006, the 109th Congress approved H.R. 1529 cosponsored by Rep. Eshoo to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen in recognition of their heroism in World War II.
Previous recipients of the award include George Washington, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, Jesse Owens, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II.
Anonymous, while I agree that there may be more females lusting after junior members, I suspect that you are not that naïve to think that ALL females who lust after lesser ranked men wouldn’t be “sucking face” with a CO in a nano second? If they would go after a junior member then trust me, they would kneel before a CO and do the wild thing before you could even pronounce the now infamous legalese “s” word by which CGA Cadet Webster Smith was convicted. Anonymous, it’s all about power. Men have it(for the most part),and women want it… badly. I just hope I will be alive to see the final tally the history books write on a true blue Patriot, CGA Cadet Webster Smith.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so interesting how FEMALE fraternization is the problem....its both genders people. But the females are being burned at the stake because of it. When a man does it...its expected but when a woman does it they crucify her.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if it is still the same in 2011? Should this even be an issue in today's military where we court martial officers/SNCOs over this offense or just accept it. No harm no foul?

7:33 AM  

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