Air Force Maj. Gen. Phillip Stewart pictured after an F-16 Viper sortie at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on Sep. 29, 2022.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Phillip Stewart pictured after an F-16 Viper sortie at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on Sep. 29, 2022. (Corinna Diaz/U.S. Air Force)

AUSTIN, Texas — A recently fired two-star Air Force general will have a hearing this month to determine whether he should face a court-martial for allegations that he raped a woman and drank alcohol before flying an aircraft, the service said Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Philip A. Stewart is accused of having sex with a woman twice without her consent between April 13 and 14 at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, wrongfully inviting someone to spend the night in his private hotel room while on official travel between March 6 and 8 in Denver, having sex with someone other than his spouse, pursuing an “unprofessional relationship” with someone between March 8 and May 9, and consuming alcohol within 12 hours of flying an aircraft on April 14.

At the time of these accusations, Stewart was commander of the 19th Air Force, one of the service’s major training units. The dates of the misconduct in a Denver hotel took place at the same time and place as the Air Force Association Warfare Symposium, though Stewart was not listed as a speaker at the event, according to the association’s website.

Stewart, a fighter pilot, will face an Article 32 hearing Oct. 24 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, according to Air Education and Training Command. The hearing is preliminary and equivalent to a civilian grand jury proceeding. A presiding officer will review the evidence presented, which could include testimony from witnesses, to determine whether probable cause exists that the accused service member committed offenses in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Maj. Gen. Philip A. Stewart

Maj. Gen. Philip A. Stewart (U.S. Air Force)

Col. Brian Thompson, a military judge from District 2 at Travis Air Force Base in California was chosen to serve as the presiding officer of the Article 32 hearing to reduce any perception of bias, according to the training command.

The articles that Stewart is accused of violating include disobeying an order, sexual assault, behavior unbecoming of an officer and a general article, which can be used to prosecute adultery, according to Stewart’s redacted charge sheet.

If Stewart were to face a court-martial, he would be only the second general officer in the service’s history to do so, according to the Air Force. Maj. Gen. William Cooley was convicted of abusive sexual contact in a court-martial last year at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He was sentenced to a reprimand and a forfeiture of nearly $55,000.

Lt. Gen. Brian S. Robinson, the commander of the Air Education and Training Command, fired Stewart in May because he determined a new commander was necessary to ensure good order and discipline. At that time, the Air Force only said an investigation was ongoing.

Stewart took command of the 19th Air Force in August 2022, according to his online biography. Prior to the assignment, he served as deputy chief of staff for strategic employment at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2017.

The 19th Air Force, headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base, is responsible for training more than 30,000 U.S. and allied students annually in specialties that include aircrews, remotely piloted aircraft crews, air battle managers, weapons directors, Air Force Academy airmanship programs, and survival, evasion, resistance, and escape training, according to the unit’s website.

The 19th Air Force includes 32,000 personnel and 1,530 aircraft assigned to 17 wings located across the United States. It oversees more than 45% of the Air Force’s annual flying hour program, according to Stewart’s online biography.

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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