Kadena airman given jail time, loss of rank for off-base graffiti
May 18, 2006
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — An airman here was sentenced to jail time, reduced in rank and ordered to pay a forfeit after pleading guilty to damaging property in Naha and disobeying an order.
Senior Airman Ryan M. Nations, from Kadena’s 18th Communications Squadron, was sentenced to 20 days confinement, reduction in rank to E-1 and forfeiture of $849 by Lt. Col. Annette Sanks, the current deputy commander of the 18th Mission Support Group, who presided over the summary court-martial. The maximum punishment that could have been imposed was 30 days confinement, reduction to E-1 and the loss of pay.
During the hearing, Nations admitted that in the early morning hours of March 1, he spray-painted two business shutters on Kokusai Street in Naha. He said the damage to each shutter was more than $500.
Nations also pleaded guilty to failing to obey an order that same night. He said that night he went into Naha for a going-away party for a friend and consumed alcohol at three separate bars. An order in effect prohibited alcohol consumption during a Local Operational Readiness Exercise happening at that time.
While making an unsworn statement, Nations apologized for what he did and said it never would happen again.
“I want to let it be known how foolishly and recklessly I’ve acted,” he said.
Nations said in addition to spending seven days in a Japanese jail after being arrested, he also lost all pay and allowances during that time and has been restricted to base since the incident. He said he has also paid restitution to both shop owners and apologized to them.
“They have forgiven me,” he told Sanks.
Prosecutor Capt. Robert Vorhees asked Sanks to impose the maximum sentence, saying Nations has not upheld the Air Force values.
“What if he hadn’t been caught?” asked Vorhees. “Would he have turned himself in or would he have never been found? Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.”
Vorhees said a prior incident, in which Nations was reduced in rank from airman first class to airman, shows he’s not acting as a professional. He said while Nations was serving at a prior duty station, he got caught drinking while under the legal age for alcohol consumption and driving under the influence.
Defense attorney Capt. Aaron Lake had asked Sanks for a lighter sentence, saying Nations already has lost money during his jail time and through restitution. He asked Sanks for no further confinement or loss of money, only a loss of rank.
“He has done a lot of good work here on Kadena with only one incident on one night,” Lake said. “He fully cooperated with the [Japanese authorities] and here today. He has held himself accountable.”