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News > Five Offutt service members discharged for Spice use in 2011
Five Offutt service members discharged for Spice use in 2011

Posted 2/2/2012   Updated 2/2/2012 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Jason L. Haag
55th Wing Public Affairs

2/2/2012 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The Air Force is continuing to crack down on Airmen caught using herbal marijuana, commonly known as Spice, including five people from Offutt in 2011 who received general service discharges, which puts their Veteran's Administration benefits in jeopardy.

Of the five from Offutt who were found to have used the substance, one was convicted during a special court martial, three received Article 15 non judicial punishment and one received a letter of reprimand. All five were involuntarily discharged under a general service characterization for drug abuse.

"The importance of receiving something less than an honorable service characterization (general or under other than honorable) is that one's VA benefits will be affected, meaning the loss of potential benefits under the G.I. Bill," said Lt. Col. Kevin Huyser, 55th Wing staff judge advocate.

"The special court-martial of an airman first class resulted in a conviction for possession and use of Spice and soliciting another military member to use Spice as well," Huyser said.

The airman first class was sentenced to 30 days jail, reduction to airman, forfeiture of $500 per month for six months, hard labor without confinement for three months, restriction to base for two months and a reprimand.

All three Airmen who accepted Article 15 punishment lost rank. A senior airman was reduced to airman and received 20 days extra duty; another senior airman was reduced to airman first class; and an airman first class was reduced to airman.

Across the Air Force, 497 people were punished Spice use in 2011, according to Defense Department officials.

"The chief of staff has made it clear that using these herbal marijuana supplements is not conducive to continued service in our Air Force," said Brig. Gen. Don Bacon, 55th Wing commander. "We will continue to hold accountable those who are found to have used this dangerous substance."

Spice describes a diverse herbal mixture sold under many different names. These products are usually dried plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their mind-altering affects, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The substance is currently banned in about 40 states, including Nebraska.

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