Kunsan airman who tried to toss frog into running jet engine is jailed
Two airmen — including one who pleaded guilty to trying to throw a frog into a running jet engine — were punished in separate courts-martial at Kunsan Air Base, officials there confirmed Tuesday.
The other airman was punished after pleading guilty to breaking into a dorm room and stealing property.
In the incident involving the frog, Senior Airman Welland Wilkerson, an aircraft maintainer, was sentenced to reduction from pay grade E-4 to E-1, 30 days in jail and a reprimand. He’s assigned to the 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, part of Kunsan’s 8th Fighter Wing, also known as the “Wolf Pack.”
The incident occurred sometime last year and was reported to authorities in September.
Officials said Wilkerson tried to throw a frog into the engine but missed, said Master Sgt. Anthony Davis, a wing spokesman.
Another airman subsequently threw a frog into the engine.
“After this incident, our wing checked the engines,” Davis said. “They did a scan … for damage and no damage was found from the incident.”
The incident was videotaped in an area where filming is banned without authorization, Davis said.
In September, Kunsan-based agents of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations were told by their OSI counterparts at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, that a video clip had been posted on a personalized MySpace page showing “an individual throwing a frog into a running F-16 engine intake,” Davis said.
“Subsequent investigations revealed Airman Wilkerson was involved in the incident,” Davis said. “Because of the nature of the incident, Airman Wilkerson was removed from any duties that required him to perform aircraft maintenance.”
“There’s still an ongoing investigation,” he said. “So more details about the event are not something we can talk about right now.”
He could only add that an investigation into “the actions of others involved in the incident is continuing.” He was unable to provide further details.
Wilkerson pleaded guilty to two counts of dereliction of duty.
He was tried by summary court-martial Friday before Maj. Timothy Kodama, summary court officer.
In the larceny case, Airman 1st Class Brent Schneider, of the 8th Maintenance Squadron, was sentenced to reduction from E-3 to E-1; forfeiture of $1,000 per month for six months, and six months in jail.
Col. Steven A. Hatfield, chief military judge for the Pacific Circuit, imposed the sentence Monday after Schneider pleaded guilty to larceny and housebreaking. Schneider was tried under the rules for special court-martial.
He unlawfully entered the dorm room of another airman and stole a computer and other belongings, Davis said.
OSI agents searched Schneider’s dorm room and “discovered the computer and the other belongings that didn’t belong to him,” Davis said.