A Utah Air National Guardsman was denied due process when he was kicked out of the military late last year, according to a just-concluded investigation of the Guard.
The Guardsman will be reinstated and those responsible will no longer supervise him.The investigation into allegations of abuse and improper behavior in the Guard also determined that some officers had wrongfully directed the changing of efficiency reports and that an officer had made a false claim concerning pay.
The changes to reports will result in immediate "disciplinary and corrective action." The pay claim was dismissed as a mistake.
Major Gen. James M. Miller, Utah's adjutant general, had asked a brigadier general from the Montana Air National Guard, Gary Hindoien, to handle the investigation.
Miller told the Deseret News last week that he would not release results of the investigation. But the policy was reversed Wednesday afternoon when the Guard issued a one-page summary of the conclusions.
According to Guard spokeswoman Alaine Southworth, the report is about 200 pages long. The summary does not include names of any of those who acted improperly. It says the information was released "as a result of recent publicity and subsequent misunderstandings" about the investigation.
According to the summary, Hindoien looked into 17 allegations and found some of them were untrue, while others were substantiated.
Complaints that Hindoien verified were:
- "There was one allegation of reprisal against a military member who was released from military duty on 31 December 1997. That allegation, relating to a violation of Air Force personnel regulations, was substantiated. We are now in the process of restoring that individual to his position and as is the practice in these cases, those responsible for the reprisal will no longer be in his chain of command."
On March 11, the day that the Deseret News first reported the investigation, Col. Richard C. Workman, commander of the Air Guard's 151st Refueling Wing, resigned from that position. Asked whether the change was because jobs were shifted as a result of the reprisal, Southworth said, "I can neither confirm nor deny that. I wouldn't speculate whether that was a result or not."
- "Allegations that officers had abused their authority by wrongfully directing changes to efficiency reports of subordinates were substantiated. Appropriate disciplinary and corrective action will be taken immediately.
- "The illegal pay action allegation concerning an officer that had claimed excessive compensatory time was substantiated." According to the summary, the incident concerned a claim for seven hours compensatory time. The officer misunderstood the pay regulations and pay records are now corrected, the report says.
- "In a second substantiated illegal pay action allegation, an officer had been combining two four-hour pay periods to reflect one eight-hour pay period. Although this was a technical violation of regulation, there was no monetary loss to the government."
Asked how a person could be wrongly released from military duty, Southworth said, "They put him out of the service, and what they did was in violation of personnel regulations. It wasn't correct. So they are in the process of bringing him back into the Air Guard."
Will the man who was wrongly separated from the service receive any compensation for that? She replied, "I don't know that, or whether he requested that. I don't know whether he was full-time or part-time."
Is a review built into the process of throwing a person out of the Guard? "Yes, there is due process," she said. "Someone made a big mistake, and so they're fixing it." Southworth said she did not know what prompted the reprisal against the man.
Allegations that were investigated but not substantiated were "waste, fraud and abuse concerning improper use of military aircraft," improper assignment of personnel, officers falsifying physical fitness records and a medically unfit officer flying an aircraft.
"Contrary to information appearing in previous press reports, there were never any allegations of criminal activity or sexual harassment, and those matters were not investigated," says the summary, prepared by South-worth.