Justice in the Balance: A Retired Sergeant's Courtroom Clash over Air Force Procedures
Written by: Sam Orlando
ALEXANDRIA, VA – A captivating legal battle has arisen in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, involving a retired Air Force Technical Sergeant, Daniel L. Clark, and the Secretary of the Air Force, Mr. Frank Kendall.
A Tale of Two Investigations
In 2016, Sergeant Clark was investigated by Air Force Security Forces over allegations of an unprofessional relationship. This initial inquiry led to administrative actions, including his decertification from Special Duty Catalog (SPECAT) and the removal of his Campaign Hat. Later, a Command Directed Investigation (CDI) upheld the findings.
However, in a subsequent twist, a second CDI was initiated, which overturned the earlier substantiated claims, labeling them as unsubstantiated. As a result, punitive actions against Clark were reversed, including the rescinding of his Letter of Reprimand.
The Enlisted Performance Report (EPR) Saga
Central to this lawsuit is the issue of Clark's Enlisted Performance Report (EPR) for December 2015 to November 2016. This EPR was first intentionally left blank in certain sections, a departure from usual practice. After the second CDI's findings, a new EPR was issued.
However, new evidence reveals that this revised EPR was crafted with negative intentions.
In an explosive twist, Major Matthew Piper, who played a role in drafting the EPR, admitted in 2021 to being professionally pressured. His goal? To ensure Clark wouldn't be considered for promotion. He confessed to being swayed by the first (and now discredited) CDI.
The Fight for Reconsideration
After unsuccessful attempts to seek redress through the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records (AFBCMR) – even after presenting the revelatory memo from Major Piper – Clark has taken his fight to court. He argues that the AFBCMR's refusal to reconsider his promotion and the removal of the contentious EPR was arbitrary, capricious, and not in line with the law or Air Force regulations.
Seeking Rightful Recognition
Clark's lawsuit is not just about rectifying his record. It also calls for a reconsideration for his promotion and for the court to award attorney’s fees.
As the courtroom drama gets ready to unfold, it promises to shine a light on the complexities and possible injustices within the military’s administrative procedures. Will justice prevail for the retired Technical Sergeant, or will bureaucratic procedures overshadow individual rights?
Stay tuned as we closely follow the developments of this riveting case from the Eastern District of Virginia.