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OFFUTT AIRMEN: Drug Use Ends Military Careers

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- In 2008 Offutt Air Force Base has experienced a significant increase in courts-martial due to illegal drug activity among its active duty members. Base law enforcement personnel and commanders have responded to Airmen getting involved in the wrongful use or distribution of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, as well as the wrongful use of prescription pain medications. The illegal drug activity occurred both off base and on base, including the base dormitories. These Airmen fail to understand the immediate and long-term consequences of their crimes. 

Military members who wrongfully use, possess, distribute, manufacture or introduce onto a military installation controlled substances violate Article 112a, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and will be prosecuted and punished as a court-martial may direct. Court-martial convictions may result in significant jail time, reduction in rank, costly fines, and the shame of being punitively discharged from the Air Force. Furthermore, convictions at Air Force courts-martial are federal convictions that will remain in military members' criminal records long after they leave the Air Force. 

Because drug abuse is incompatible with military service, Airmen who abuse drugs are subject to administrative discharge for misconduct if they are not punitively discharged through a court-martial. Drug abuse requires a mandatory discharge action by the member's unit commander. AFI 36-3208, Administrative Separation of Airmen, includes the improper use of prescription medication in the definition of drug abuse. 

Details of three recent courts-martial highlight the painful, costly consequences of illegal drug use: 

Senior Airman Jeremy E. Rose, 55th Communications Squadron. Airman Rose tested positive for cocaine use during a random urinalysis exam on the base. He later tested positive for cocaine use during two subsequent urine tests while under investigation. In a special court-martial before a military judge, Rose pled guilty to the wrongful use of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, on multiple occasions. A military jury sentenced Senior Airman Rose to six months in military confinement, forfeiture of $600 pay per month for six months, and a reduction to Airman Basic. 

Airman First Class Sean B. Miles, 338th Combat Training Squadron. Airman Miles tested positive for marijuana use during a random urinalysis exam on the base. While under investigation he again tested positive for marijuana use during a urine test. In a summary court-martial, Miles admitted to smoking marijuana six to eight times during the summer, one time with civilian family and friends and the rest of the occasions by himself. He was sentenced to 25 days in military confinement, forfeiture of $300 pay, and reduction to Airman Basic. 

Airman First Class Daniel R. Whitaker, 55th Maintenance Squadron.
Airman Whitaker tested positive for cocaine use during a random urinalysis exam on the base. When later questioned about the results of his urine test, he confessed to using cocaine on one occasion. In a special court-martial before a military judge, Whitaker pled guilty to wrongful use of cocaine. The military judge accepted Airman First Class Whitaker's guilty plea, and sentenced him to three months military confinement, forfeiture of $850.00 pay per month for three months, and reduction to Airman Basic. 

The message is clear: drug abuse is a crime. The Air Force has zero tolerance for drug abuse. Drug offenders will be investigated, prosecuted and punished under the UCMJ.