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Air Force officers charged over ‘inappropriate’ call sign

Two senior Air Force officers have been charged for allegedly failing to stop a group of fighter pilots from giving another member an inappropriate nickname in June.

Collar. Colin Marks and Lt.-Col. Corey Mask is facing charges for failing to carry out his responsibilities effectively and will face disciplinary hearings, according to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Specifically, the military police accused the two officers of failing to enforce military orders to prevent and deal with sexual misconduct.

Neither Marks nor Mask responded to requests for comment on Monday.

Air Force spokesman Maj. Trevor Reid said in a statement Monday that the two officers were charged last month.

The charges are not criminal in nature and Reid said their hearings will be conducted by other officers in Cold Lake.

A summary hearing is scheduled for Mask on December 5 and will be heard by the Commandant of Military Cadets, Brigadier General. Jamie Speiser-Blanchet.

Marks’ hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12 and will be conducted by Col. Robert McBride, commander of 3rd Canadian Division Support Base Edmonton.

Neither hearing will be open to the public, Reid said.

“The Royal Canadian Air Force believes in a just culture, centered on victim support and well-being,” Reid said in a written statement.

“We also believe in our members and their ability and commitment to learn from their mistakes and to always strive to be better. The results of the summary hearings will be released after their conclusion.”

A third, more junior officer was also charged with affronting discipline or morale “for participating in the assignment of an inappropriate call sign,” Reid said.

“Following a review of the evidence, a summary hearing for this officer was deemed inappropriate; instead, the chain of command applied separate administrative measures as a disciplinary response.”

The name of the third officer has not been released.

Administrative measures, which usually involve warnings and reprimands, were also imposed on a number of other officers ranging from second lieutenant to major, Reid added.

The charges and disciplinary action stem from an informal meeting known as a “Call Sign Review Board” on June 22 at one of Canada’s two major fighter bases, 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta.

Despite their formal-sounding names, former fighter pilots have described these review boards as informal meetings after major exercises or training operations in which pilots assign nicknames or call signs to newcomers. members over a drink.

According to the Air Force, during the June meeting, several fighter pilots proposed, discussed, and assigned an “inappropriate” call sign to another pilot.

Commander of the Air Force, Lt. Gen. Eric Kenny first revealed an investigation into the June 22 meeting when he announced in August that a ceremony to install Marks as commander of Canada’s other fighter base, 3 Wing in Bagotville, Quebec was delayed.

The revelation shed light on a longstanding tradition in the Canadian military of assigning call signs at a time when the military is still grappling with the fallout from a series of inappropriate behaviors – and in some cases criminals – senior officers.

Retired Lt. Col. Rory Fowler, who is now a military lawyer, questioned the decision to conduct the Marks and Mask hearings behind closed doors.

“Although an officer conducting a summary hearing has the discretion to close part or all of a hearing, it is expected that such a breach of transparency will only occur in exceptional circumstances,” Fowler said in an email.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 28, 2022.

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