Airman throws frog in F-16 engine

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Staff Sergeant
Apr 15, 2005
Texas :: Airman sentenced for throwing frog in F-16 engine

March 3, 2007 (by Erik Slavin) - A staff sergeant who watched as one airman attempted and another threw a small frog into a running F-16 jet engine received three months in jail and a bad conduct discharge in a Kunsan Air Base courtroom Friday night.

Staff Sgt. Aaron F. Wilson, of the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, also received a reduction in rank to E-1 on three specifications of dereliction of duty.

Military Judge Lt. Col. Eric Dillow sentenced Wilson to four months in jail, but the sentence was reduced due to a pretrial plea agreement.

The incident was filmed using Wilson's camera and posted on his public Web site, where it remained for nine days.

The grainy video displayed the 8th Fighter Wing's "Wolf Pack" tail markings.

Kunsan's fleet of 41 jets was grounded so every engine could be checked for potential problems following the frog toss, said wing vice commander Col. Preston Thompson, a former F-16 pilot instructor who testified Friday.

Thompson "got calls from all over the Air Force (asking) "What's wrong with the Wolf Pack?'" following the grounding, he said.

More than 400 maintainers worked over the weekend to check the engines and dispel the possibility that other engines were similarly mistreated, Thompson said.

"I cannot fathom someone intentionally putting something down the intake of an aircraft," Thompson added.

The single-engine F-16 was being checked on June 26, 2006, inside a "hush house," where maintenance work is performed when noisy engines are cranked up at high capacity.

One of the first things maintenance airmen are taught is not to bring any foreign objects into the hush house, including cameras or debris, several non-commissioned officers testified.

During testimony, prosecutor Maj. Jennifer Kramme showed Master Sgt. William Beasley II a foreign object no bigger than a pebble and asked if one of them was dangerous.

"To smaller (engine) blades, this could be catastrophic," Beasley replied.

Defense attorney Jonathan Wasden countered during closing arguments that according to General Electric, the F-16 engine could withstand a hit from a four-pound bird moving at 750 feet per second.

However, others testified that the smallest objects could cause cracks and other problems that could grow over time.

Last month, Sr. Airman Welland Wilkerson was sentenced to 30 days in jail and reduction in rank to E-1 for throwing the frog at the engine, although he missed. Wilkerson's sentence was commuted to reduction in rank to E-2 by the wing commander, legal officials said.

A trial date has not yet been set for Staff Sgt. Herman Elizee, who ultimately tossed the frog in the engine.

:shock: :shock: :shock:
They did it to make a video and post it on myspace. Red the artical in the Stars and Stripes a few days ago. Some heads are going to role.

I hate idiots like this. It is the gusy that dont do the flying that do the stupid ****. Whenever there were non flying personel around my aircraft I was allways in the area watching.
The Airforce should put it in their safety training curriculum to reinforce how all actions have consequences.

A bad conduct discharge stays on your record and carries the equivalent of a federal felony conviction. Obviously people don't realize that you can kill people by doing such stupid crap.

I know a former Marine pilot that crashed an F-4. He was a FCF pilot, and the maintenance officer had falsified records... he didn't go into great detail but said, "At least it only hurts really bad when you first hit."

The maintenance officer and chief were canned. I hope they received courts martial.
We had a guy that falsified maintenace records. Got his ass fried. I would have thrown him in jail with the dishonorable that he got.
I don't really understand how the whole 20 year pension military thing works, but unless that Staff Sgt had his 20 years, why reduce him in rank to a E-1 first, then boot him out? I'm thinking if he could draw a pension, that would GREATLY reduce the amount he could get. Right?
You reduce them in rank to E-1 first and normally forfiet of all pay and allowances if they are in jail. If he recieves a dishonorable discharge he will not recieve a pention even if he has 20 years. You have retire under honorable conditions to recieve retirement pension. Even if you let him retire you make him retire as a E-1 and then he does not recieve that much money.
I don't really understand how the whole 20 year pension military thing works, but unless that Staff Sgt had his 20 years, why reduce him in rank to a E-1 first, then boot him out? I'm thinking if he could draw a pension, that would GREATLY reduce the amount he could get. Right?

Adler's right. You can retire at 20 years. The way it works is after 20 years you retire with 50% of your base pay (averaged from your last 3 years base pay). For every year after that, you accrue an additional 2.5%, capping out at 75% for 30 years.

Anyway, getting reduced in rank not only hits your pocketbook, but going from a Staff NCO to an E-1 is a tremendous slap in the face. Any sense of pride that you had in your career is likely gone, just like your career! It all depends upon the nature of the offense.
...all over a silly prank. I've seen people throw away careers from watching computer porn. But endangering live(s) takes the cake.

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