Dentist at Kadena dismissed, given brig time for affair
June 30, 2005
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — An Air Force captain was dismissed from service and given 15 days of confinement during a general court-martial on Tuesday for having an affair with another captain’s wife.
Capt. Roger Thai, a dentist with 18th Dental Squadron, pleaded guilty to Uniform Code of Military Justice Articles 133 and 92 — conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and failure to obey an order or regulation. Military judge Col. Steven Hatfield, chief judge of the Pacific Region, tried Thai, who had requested trial before a judge.
Thai, who has been married for 12 years, admitted that he had an affair with the wife of a fellow 18th Wing captain from April 2004 to March 2005. The woman was a patient of Thai’s at the base Dental Clinic, he said.
“We had a long-standing sexual relationship, which included sexual intercourse and oral sex,” Thai told Hatfield. “When the captain was gone [on temporary duty] we pursued the relationship more vigorously.”
At one point, Thai’s commander, Col. Thomas Marshall, heard rumors about the affair and questioned Thai, who denied the rumors. Marshall warned Thai to stop any inappropriate relationships, but Thai continued the affair. Thai came forward only once the woman ended the affair, because he feared he was going to be caught, prosecutors said during the hearing.
Thai also pleaded guilty to failure to obey an order or regulation for living with an enlisted member of his unit. Thai said he moved in with a male enlisted staff sergeant from his squadron for “about seven to 10 days” after his wife asked him to leave their house.
This wasn’t the first time Thai faced punishment for an affair. During the proceedings, it was revealed Thai was punished in 2002 for having a sexual relationship with an airman first class and providing her alcohol when she was underage. He also made suggestive comments to another female airman around the same time. The incidents happened at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and Thai received a punishment of forfeiture of $1,398 in pay per month for two months and a reprimand.
Before Tuesday’s sentencing, Thai apologized in an unsworn statement to the court.
“I know an officer is held to a higher standard, and I’m sorry for disgracing that,” he said.
He also apologized to the dental clinic staff and to the captain with whose wife he had the affair.
“And to my wife, I’m sorry,” he said, sobbing as he turned to look at her. “I’m sorry I’ve betrayed her trust, her loyalty and her commitment. And my kids … I have two beautiful kids.”
Thai went on to say he’s sought individual counseling and he and his wife have been attending marriage counseling. He added that he learned from his mistake, and it would never happen again.
Prosecutor Capt. Brian Jones presented to the court that Thai had made similar statements in his prior problems and said he doubted the sincerity of Tuesday’s speech. He asked Hatfield for a dismissal from service and 45 days’ confinement, or six months’ confinement if no dismissal was given.
Thai faced a maximum punishment of three years’ confinement, total forfeiture of pay and allowances, and a dismissal from service. Hatfield came back with a sentence of dismissal from service and 45 days’ confinement, but a pretrial agreement dropped the confinement to 15 days if a dismissal was handed down.