Airman guilty after latest brush with law
August 29, 2008
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — An airman assigned to the 374th Maintenance Squadron pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing apprehension at his court-martial Wednesday.
Staff Sgt. Anthony A. Brackett, 24, was sentenced to 90 days of confinement, handed a bad-conduct discharge and reduced in rank to airman basic in connection with a June incident at Hardy Barracks in Tokyo.
Col. Mark L. Allred, the military judge, knocked off 58 days for time served in pretrial confinement.
According to testimony, Brackett was walking back to Hardy Barracks with another Yokota airman on the morning of June 28 after a night of partying in Roppongi. As he signed in a female guest around 9 a.m., two Japanese gate guards noticed he was drinking from an open container of alcohol.
Several minutes later, Brackett was spotted emerging from Hardy Barracks and getting into his friend’s car, according to testimony. He attempted to drive off but was stopped by the guards.
The guards walked him to the gate, took his military ID card and told him to remain there as they contacted authorities at Camp Zama. At that point, he took off on foot toward Roppongi.
"I panicked [and made] a bad decision. … I ran," Brackett told the judge.
Two days later, he tried to enter Yokota but was apprehended by security guards, according to court records.
Wednesday’s court-martial culminates a 15-month stretch in which Brackett had three brushes with the law.
In May 2007, he spent 11 days in Japanese custody after being arrested for breaking into a Roppongi establishment and urinating on the floor, military prosecutors said. The Japanese decided not to indict him after he paid the shop’s owner almost $13,000.
Brackett received Article 15 nonjudicial punishment at Yokota but was promoted to staff sergeant last fall because it was his first incident.
Three days later, he was arrested again by Japanese police in Roppongi for possession of cocaine and Ecstasy, prosecutors said. He spent 53 days in jail before trial and was convicted and given a two-year sentence, suspended for three years.
Yokota officials gave him a letter of reprimand and an other-than-honorable discharge recommendation.
Capt. Mary Ann Mazzarini prosecuted the court-martial alongside Capt. Felix Sutanto. They said Brackett’s discharge package was in the final stages when the Hardy Barracks incident occurred.
"It’s unfathomable to think how many times this kid has been in trouble. All three in Japan would be considered very serious misconduct," Mazzarini said. "We gave this guy plenty of chances and went to bat for him."
Had Brackett been picked up for DUI off base, Sutanto said, it’s likely the Japanese would have immediately invoked the two-year prison sentence from the drug conviction.