NCO who once enjoyed 'stellar' reputation gets six months in jail
June 15, 2006
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — A senior Air Force sergeant with a “stellar” reputation pleaded guilty to sex-related and other charges Tuesday and was sentenced to six months in jail.
Master Sgt. Michael W. Wilson of the 51st Security Forces Squadron also was sentenced to reduction from pay grade E-7 to E-4, and to forfeiture of $1,000 pay per month for six months.
Wilson, a 20-year Air Force veteran, pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, indecent acts and adultery in a court-martial before Air Force Col. Steven A. Hatfield, chief military judge for the Pacific Circuit, out of Yokota Air Base, Japan.
The offenses occurred in November 2005 at and near Osan Air Base, where Wilson was chief of the 51st Security Forces Squadron’s Bravo Flight, according to the prosecution.
The prosecution said Wilson maintained an unprofessional relationship with subordinates, socializing with them in the downtown bar district outside base, and on Nov. 30 provided alcohol to two underage female subordinates. Those actions led to the dereliction of duty charge.
Wilson, who is married, had sex with one female subordinate on multiple occasions, according to the prosecution, and had sex with a second female subordinate once.
In addition, the prosecution said, the night of Nov. 30, Wilson and the two females got into the same bed in his dorm and had sex, leading to the indecent acts charge.
His squadron’s senior leaders were taken aback when they learned of the allegations, largely because Wilson had been widely regarded as an exceptional leader with an unblemished record of above-standard performance throughout his Air Force career, according to witness testimony.
He was slated to compete for a prestigious Senior NCO of the Year Award within his squadron, according to testimony from Lt. Col. Randall Richert, 51st Security Forces Squadron commander.
When Richert learned of the allegations “I just sat back in my chair and just said, ‘You gotta be kiddin’ me,’” he testified.
A succession of witnesses testified variously that Wilson was “stellar” and “incredible” and a person of “great talents.”
In an unsworn statement before sentencing, a tearful Wilson stood at a lectern and faced Hatfield.
“Your honor, I know that my action was not acceptable conduct for a senior NCO.” He asked that Hatfield nevertheless weigh his entire 20 years of service.
“I respectfully request that you do not sentence me to a bad-conduct discharge,” Wilson said.
Prosecutor Capt. Marla J. Gillman asked Hatfield to sentence Wilson to from 12 to 14 months in prison, reduction to pay grade E-1, total forfeiture of pay and a bad-conduct discharge.
Defense lawyer Capt. Gloria Downey told Hatfield that the best argument in Wilson’s defense was “his 20 years of service” which included combat service, “numerous, numerous awards,” and amounted to a career that, except for the events of November 2005, had been “exemplary.”
When Hatfield pronounced sentence, Downey hugged a shaken-looking Wilson, who then sat in his chair and bent forward, covering his face.