DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR FORCE LEGAL SERVICES AGENCY USAF JUDICIARY, CENTRAL CIRCUIT USAF ACADEMY, COLORADO 13 November 1995 MEMORANDUM FOR XXX ARW/JA FROM: Area Defense Counsel (Captain XXX) RE: Technical Sergeant Allen A. Lamb 1. I am writing this memorandum to document my involvement with Technical Sergeant Lamb's situation and to express my concerns with the handling of his case, including the recently completed legal review of his removal from recruiter duty. I am concerned that the facts of this entire' situation have not been fully addressed by either the commander or the Legal Office. 2. I was first contacted by TSgt Lamb on 24 July. He explained that he had been read his rights by his commander for "recruiter integrity" about one week earlier. He had talked with his commander for some time but then asked for an attorney as the questioning grew more heated. When I asked what "recruiter integrity" involved, he explained that the commander was questioning his documentation of certain recruiting phone calls made from his office. The facts of this problem appeared to be very complicated. As is my usual advice to members who have been read their rights, I advised him not to make any more comments about his situation, at least until I could find out what was going on. On that same day, I contacted the servicing Legal Office at Grand Forks and spoke with Captain G, Chief of Military Justice. She told me that an Article 15 had been prepared and would be served on TSgt Lamb the following afternoon (25 July) for false official statements in the phone log. When I asked her for a copy of the evidence that was the basis for the Article 15, she said that her office didn't have it. I thought this was unusual since the servicing Legal Office has to report information on the Article 15, as well as prosecute if the Article 15 was turned down. When I called TSgt Lamb back, he had just been informed by the unit that he needed to report in to his commander the next afternoon. I explained that this was for service of an Article 15. We discussed general procedures and. I explained that he would be served with a copy of all the evidence against him at the same time. I told him not to worry for now about disputing these charges since it would be much easier for us to do once we had the evidence. 3. Near the end of the following day (25 July), TSgt Lamb called, obviously upset. When I asked if the Article 15 had been served, he told me no. He said he was reminded by his commander that he was still under rights advisement and again questioned about the phone calls. This is totally improper since he had already asserted his Article 31 right to an attorney. The unit knew that he had been in contact with me about this issue but they told him not to call me and get me involved. TSgt Lamb attempted to answer the questions posed to him but was uncomfortable since I specifically told him not to. At the end of this interrogation, the commander told TSgt Lamb to come back at 0900 on 27 July to "prove his integrity" to him. 4. Needless to say, I was not happy with this behavior by the commander. I called Capt G on 26 July at the Grand Forks Legal Office and was told "that couldn't have happened". After she looked into it, she told me that it had in fact happened and that an Article 15 was no longer being considered. Instead, it was more likely to be "administrative action". I relayed this information to TSgt Lamb. 5. On 27 July, TSgt Lamb was served with a Letter of Reprimand and a nonrecommendation for promotion (he was due to pin on Master Sergeant 1 Aug) and relieved from duty (Atch 1). I requested and received a delay until 4 August for TSgt Lamb to submit his rebuttal matters. As is apparent from his lengthy rebuttal, he needed this time to research phone records and make phone calls. I was frustrated throughout this process since TSgt Lamb was never told directly which phone calls were in issue. He had to work his way through all of them. 6. On 28 July, I spoke with Lt Col H, TSgt Lamb's commander, about the delay and the situation. Lt Col H had just assumed command of the recruiting unit days earlier. Lt Col H expressed concern over TSgt Lamb not Proving his innocence soon enough and taking more than two weeks already. He stated that TSgt Lamb was not being forthcoming throughout this. When I explained that this situation was factually complicated, he stated that, in his prior assignment on the flightline, he expected airmen to clear up any integrity issues immediately. I told him that TSgt Lamb would be submitting a detailed rebuttal that should address his concerns but that this case didn't lend itself quick explanations. Lt Col H said he would consider the rebuttal information. He also mentioned that he was going to send TSgt Lamb for a command directed mental health evaluation since he believed TSgt Lamb was using this situation to bring up stress issues. 7. On 4 August, TSgt Lamb submitted his rebuttal package. During his preparation of this package, he was informed by the phone company that certain telephone calls do not appear as long distance itemizations but are grouped together in a bulk billing. He was unable to get an itemization of this bulk billing in time for his rebuttal. In his rebuttal, TSgt Lamb also specifically addressed the alleged failure to obey his superior's order regarding use of the data transmission line for phone calls. He submitted a statement by another recruiter which indicated that that recruiter was the one who made the phone call, without TSgt Lamb's knowledge. 8. Included in the package of information provided to me by TSgt Lamb was a 31 July letter from the commander to the Grand Forks Legal Office, requesting a legal review of TSgt Lamb's removal from recruiting duties*(1). I was concerned when I saw that the basis of this action included language that "when confronted [about his Integrity being questioned], TSgt Lamb offered no substantiated proof to the contrary." (Atch 2). On 21 August, I sent a fax to the Legal Office (Atch 3) in which I requested that TSgt Lamb's rebuttal matters be considered as part of this legal review. I received a return phone call from Major R, Deputy SJA who told me that he can't consider this sort of “extraneous material" when a customer has requested a legal review. He told me that he can only rely on what the customer (here, the commander) submits. If I wanted the rebuttal information considered, he told me to convince the commander to submit it himself to the Legal Office. Again, this didn't seem logical since the purpose of a legal review is to evaluate an entire issue before arriving at a legal conclusion. However, in order to try to ensure that this rebuttal was part of the package, I then faxed a request to the commander that this information be included (Atch 4). ---------------------------- *(1) As an aside, there appear to be two versions of this removal paperwork. Both versions are attached and it is obvious that the paperwork was modified after the fact. The first version (Atch 1, page 4) was served on TSgt Lamb without supporting documentation but the second version was sent to the Legal Office and has documentation (Atch 2). I have no explanation for this. 9. On 24 August, I spoke with the commander again about TSgt Lamb's situation. He informed me that the unit was expecting the itemization of the bulk calls any day and that they will evaluate them and notify TSgt Lamb and me about their conclusion. I specifically requested that TSgt Lamb be given a copy of the new bills when they arrived. To date, TSgt Lamb has not received these bills and I have no knowledge of whether the commander has reviewed or considered them. In fact, in late September or early October, TSgt Lamb asked his commander whether he had received these itemizations and he was told "no, have you?". 10. On 13 October, XXX ARW/JA completed their legal review of TSgt Lamb's removal from recruiter duty (Atch 5). It also doesn't appear that the Legal Office reviewed the rebuttal information. Instead, they relied solely on the commander's evaluation and opinion regarding these allegations. Specifically, this legal review states "many long distance telephone calls in... planning guide, school folders, and other reports were not listed on the monthly telephone bills" and that TSgt Lamb failed to comply with the order about using the data line for phone calls. TSgt Lamb's rebuttal information specifically covered these allegations. The phone bills in question show bulk billing for trunks to the areas in question. If the unit had followed through on its plan to request these itemizations, they may very well have proven TSgt Lamb innocent. It doesn't appear that the Legal Office has even reviewed TSgt Lamb's extensive rebuttal package. The only mention of it is a sentence stating "the commander and his staff analyzed those matters and did not find them dispositive or persuasive". I do not believe that the unit can do an accurate and fair analysis of the matters without getting the itemized phone bills in question. I also believe that the Legal Office should have looked at these rebuttal matters before concluding that this removal for cause was justified and legally sufficient. I have attached a copy of the rebuttal materials to this memorandum (Atch 6). 11. My concern throughout this entire process has been the "guilty until proven innocent" theme that has consistently appeared. It was my impression that the unit and the Legal Office assumed that TSgt Lamb had falsified the logs and were initiating adverse actions against him based on that assumption. This is apparent from their handling of this case. a. TSgt Lamb's unit brought him in and showed him his phone logs and the phone bills and told him to explain the discrepancies. All this was done under rights advisement and in a highly confrontational manner. Since TSgt Lamb knew he had made all the phone calls documented in his log, he obviously had no explanation that would satisfy the commander. The unit didn't even bother to investigate the bulk calls that were clearly visible on each bill. This was left for TSgt Lamb to discover on his own. When TSgt Lamb's answers weren't satisfactory, the commander became visibly upset. At that point, TSgt Lamb chose to exercise his right to an attorney. b. The commander then contacted the Legal Office who apparently prepared an Article 15 for him but was unable to provide me with a copy of the evidence. From my conversations with the Legal Office, I wasn't convinced that they had a clear understanding of the facts in this case. They also must have missed the obvious bulk billings on each phone bill. This cursory review of the evidence and failure to keep copies of it is strange, considering that this office would have been responsible for prosecuting TSgt Lamb if he turned down this Article 15. c. Knowing that TSgt Lamb had asked for and consulted with an attorney, the commander then attempted to strong-arm him into making additional statements. TSgt Lamb was specifically told not to get me involved. This is totally improper. However, TSgt Lamb again attempted to explain the phone logs to the commander, to no avail. d. After I objected to this second interrogation, the Article 15 suddenly became "administrative action", in the form of an LOR/UIF, control roster, nonrecommendation for promotion and removal from recruiting duty for cause. All these adverse actions were based on the same allegations and all were accomplished without waiting for TSgt Lamb to submit his rebuttal information. That seems premature, to say the least. Even after TSgt Lamb submitted his detailed rebuttal information, this material was considered "extraneous" by the lawyers involved in the case and has had no effect on the processing of his adverse actions. In fact, one of the primary issues raised in his rebuttal (the bulk billing of calls) was never addressed or evaluated by the commander or the Legal Office. 12. I have attempted to assist TSgt Lamb to the best of my ability throughout this process. I have been disturbed throughout the processing of his case and continue to be disturbed at the fact that his case appears to continuing in the same vein with no one officially addressing the matters that he and I spent numerous hours compiling. 13. Please contact me at DSN XXX-XXXX or commercial (XXX) XXX-XXXX if you have any questions. XXX X. XXX, Capt, USAF Area Defense Counsel Attachments: 1. Paperwork served on TSgt Lamb on 27 July 2. Second ATC Form 1321 and supporting documentation 3. 21 August fax to Grand Forks Legal Office 4. 21 August fax to commander 5. Legal Review of removal Action 6. 4 Aug 95 Rebuttal MaterialsReturn to Airminder's All About Air Force Recruiting Page.
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