The Royal Canadian Air Force says two military officers received reprimands and minor pay suspensions for failing to enforce military orders on preventing and combating sexual misconduct.
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.
Former fighter pilots have described these review boards as informal meetings after major training exercises or operations in which pilots assign nicknames or call signs to new members over drinks.
The Air Force says that during the June meeting, several fighter pilots proposed, discussed and assigned an “inappropriate” call sign to another pilot.
Colonel Colin Marks is deprived of eight days pay after his guilty verdict at a summary hearing, and Lt. Col. Corey Mask loses five days of pay.
The Air Force said in a statement that the decisions did not mark the end of the matter, as a broader cultural shift is underway.
The message shared by Air Force spokesman Maj. Trevor Reid described the summary hearings, which took place before 50 4 Wing members, as a “non-criminal, non-criminal process used to fairly deal with breaches of military discipline in a unit”. level.”
The statement, sent to Air Force members, says she must learn from the incident “to further evolve our culture toward one of absolute respect, where each of us can bring our best to operation and organization every day”.
He added that the Air Force is “taking steps to formalize the tradition of call sign review boards to provide proper oversight and to ensure they are conducted in a manner consistent with the values of the Air Force”.
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, 3rd Wing in Bagotville, Quebec was delayed.
The two officers were charged in October, but news of the charges and summary trials only came to light late last month.
The charges were not criminal in nature and their hearings were conducted by other officers from Cold Lake, Alta., who the Air Force said were sufficiently distant to “ensure impartiality in the decisions rendered.” Neither hearing was open to the public.
A third, more junior officer was also accused of undermining discipline or morale for what the Air Force said participated in the assignment of an “inappropriate call sign”.
The charge against the officer, whose name has not been released, was later dropped and the officer instead received what the military calls administrative action.
Administrative measures, which usually involve warnings and reprimands, have also been imposed on other officers ranging from second lieutenant to major, Reid said.
The case against Marks and Mask has 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 criminal cases – senior officers.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 12, 2022.
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