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Two airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will serve time in the military’s Mannheim Confinement Facility for their convictions at separate summary courts-martial this week.

Airman 1st Class Rogelio Munoz’s legal troubles began Aug. 6, 2008, when a parachute he packed for a C-130 cargo training airdrop failed to open, according to Capt. John Page, the government’s lead attorney for the case.

Attached to the improperly harnessed parachute were four plastic drums filled with water, used to simulate cargo fuel, Page said. The parachute didn’t open over the drop zone and the cargo hit the ground, prompting the investigation.

"They took all of the parachutes [Munoz] had on the shelf and found most of them had discrepancies," Page said.

Appearing in court Monday, Munoz, 21, pleaded guilty to three charges: dereliction of duty, making a false official statement and destruction of government property. The destroyed cargo was worth $484.

Munoz argued, according to Page, that his shop had taught him certain shortcuts he could take to pack the parachutes. But the government countered that he failed to follow technical orders, which were available to him, and that he had more packing deficiencies than anyone else, Page said. In all, seven parachutes bundled by Munoz were found with problems.

Munoz was sentenced to 23 days’ confinement, forfeiture of $1,000 pay for one month, and reduction to the grade of E-2.

In a court hearing Wednesday, Senior Airman Kyle Chitty, 28, of the 86th Maintenance Squadron, pleaded guilty to one charge of drug use — specifically marijuana.

On Aug. 7, Chitty failed a random base drug screening. As a result, at the end of September the Air Force Office of Special Investigations interviewed him, at which time he admitted to using marijuana on multiple occasions with his wife in the couple’s off-base home, Page said in a phone interview Thursday.

He was sentenced to 30 days’ confinement and reduction to E-1. His wife, who is not active duty, has since gone back to the States, said Page.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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