By Scott Prater
Commanders, first sergeants and supervisors here got a chance to meet the 50th Space Wing Judge Advocate staff Feb. 22, to learn a ton of important details concerning legal and disciplinary actions.
During the Military Justice Workshop, legal office staff members took participants through a myriad of topics in a how-to format.
To say the Uniform Code of Military Justice is long and complicated would be an understatement. The document, which details the body of laws and legal procedures of the U.S. armed forces, covers an immense variety of subjects, from apprehension and restraint to courts martial, trial procedure, punitive articles and military appeals. It’s roughly 15,000 words long and includes 146 articles.
Deciphering the rules can be a daunting process. That’s where the legal office staff can help.
“Each member of our staff spoke about the areas they work specifically,” said Capt. Lorraine Sult, chief of military justice. “We really try to focus the workshop toward commanders, first sergeants and supervisors.”
Attendees learned step-by-step instructions for navigating the writing process for a Letter of Reprimand, a Letter of Counseling, Article 15s and many other discipline-oriented procedures.
“We’re teaching participants what the difference between giving someone a LOR and an Article 15 is and the reasoning behind them,” Sult said. “Basically we set up the workshop so that leadership and people in supervisory positions will know how to handle discipline situations better, what their options are and how the process works.”
Capt. Sam Jordan, 50 SW assistant staff judge advocate, said the legal office typically hosts the workshop twice a year.
“One primary motivation behind the workshop is to maintain a working relationship with commanders, first sergeants and supervisors,” he said. “We put it on regularly enough to where it’s a refresher for some of the folks who have been here a while, but it’s new for the new supervisors on base. And, we do more than just talk about the processes. We show attendees the mechanics of LORs and Article 15 paperwork, what must be in a file and what has to be signed.”
This workshop reaches beyond LORs and Article 15s, however.
“We go into rights advisements, deal with search and seizure issues, the courts martial and administrative discharge process,” Jordan said. “We talk about the physical fitness program and we bring in Air Force Office of Special Investigation representatives who talk about the investigative process and how they function.”
Master Sgt. William Thomas, 50th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, attended in an effort to stay informed about current Air Force issues.
“I’m involved with these types of scenarios on a near daily basis,” he said. “I did learn some new things that I can take back to my unit and implement to make sure everything is fair and equitable. I think this workshop would be beneficial for all Airmen to attend, especially first-line supervisors.”