Video of unruly Mildenhall airman on Web
Stars and Stripes March 6, 2008
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Base officials have identified an airman shown in a controversial Internet video snorting a line of white powder.
The four-minute video clip, labeled “USAF Mildenhall Military Drink and Drug problem,” was posted by a British man on YouTube last week. The video also shows an alleged airman riding in a car off base with an open beer bottle, another airman slicing the air with a sword, and others drinking and dancing at a dorm.
The name or unit of the airman snorting the unknown powdery substance was not released as part of an ongoing investigation into the video, according to base spokeswoman Capt. Tisha Wright.
On Wednesday, base officials issued a news release saying that the video allegedly displays “illegal drug activity” and such action is not tolerated in the Air Force.
Stars and Stripes contacted the person who posted the video via e-mail, and the man later called the newspaper. A Mildenhall landlord — who asked to be anonymous since he rents out properties to airmen — said he posted the video to highlight social problems of troops stationed at nearby U.S. bases.
“I’d like people to see what’s going on … to expose the failings of the U.S. military,” he said. “They need to take a proactive stance in dealing with these airmen.”
The man said he had additional incriminating videos that he planned to post at a later time.
A DVD with the video and others was given to him by a former tenant who has since left the country. The former tenant worked for the Mildenhall-based 100th Security Forces Squadron, he said.
Before putting the video on the Web, the man said he approached base officials with the DVD but his concerns seemed to go unnoticed.
“They didn’t express any interest in it,” he said. “They said they were already aware of their problems.”
Base spokesman Master Sgt. Charles Tubbs said Wednesday he did not know if the man had indeed contacted the Air Force.
Since the video — posted Feb. 28 by “MilitaryClassified” — the man said he has received a number of e-mails from other worried local residents. He believes the video has hampered community relations with the Air Force.
“I think it’s very damaging,” he said.
Even if pretending to use drugs, troops may be punished under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The article addresses general conduct that discredits the U.S. military.
“If it’s determined that there’s defamation of the Air Force, then that’s an option,” Wright said.
In the past three years here, there have only been two convictions of active-duty members stationed at RAF Mildenhall for illegal drugs use. Its “robust drug detection program through random urinalysis” is one of the reasons for the low numbers, the release said.
“The urinalysis program is a strong deterrent, as any potential drug user never knows when they may be ordered to provide a sample,” Lt. Col. Mark Allison, Staff Judge Advocate for Mildenhall’s 100th Air Refueling Wing, said in the release.
Web users have been giving their feedback on the recent video.
“What a disgrace they are to the Air Force. they sure do not go by the Air Force core values? How is getting drunk and snorting a line ... having [integrity]?” said one comment.
Another used a more sarcastic approach.
“I see members of the American armed forces partying and having fun in this video. How dare they enjoy themselves under the guise of protecting our country!”