Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Lawmakers to DoD: Finish investigation of whistleblowers

May. 1, 2014 - 07:49PM   |  
Two lawmakers are urging the Defense Department to finish the two-year investigation of two Virginia Air National Guard pilots who publicly blew the whistle on oxygen problems that were plaguing the F-22.
Two lawmakers are urging the Defense Department to finish the two-year investigation of two Virginia Air National Guard pilots who publicly blew the whistle on oxygen problems that were plaguing the F-22. (Air Force)
  • Filed Under

Two lawmakers are urging the Defense Department to finish the two-year investigation of two Virginia Air National Guard pilots who publicly blew the whistle on oxygen problems that were plaguing the F-22.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., sent the letter May 1 to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reminding the department that Capt. Joshua Wilson and Maj. Jeremy Gordon are under the protection of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The two pilots appeared on “60 Minutes” on May 6, 2012, and said they were not comfortable flying the jet at the time. Since then, the pilots have been assigned to desk jobs, lost their flight pay, and served with letters of reprimand, negative evaluations and career-ending flight evaluation boards, the letter states. The Defense Department’s investigation is still not complete.

“This drawn-out process sends a chilling message throughout the Air Force, and in all service branches, that if you come forward as a whistleblower to report wrongdoing, there is a high likelihood that your career will be derailed, you may lose pay and benefits, and you and your family will suffer retaliation,” the letter states. “This cannot stand. We must provide an accountable system where people who come forward can feel free to do so without fear of retaliation.”

In 2012, the Air Force told Congress that the pilots would receive whistleblower protection.

“My understanding is that the chief and secretary have issued direction that these individuals are protected,” Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, head of Air Force Materiel Command, told the Senate Armed Services committee in May 2012.

The Air Force grounded the F-22 from May 2011 to September 2011 because of pilots’ complaints of hypoxia-like symptoms during flight. Since the grounding, 11 pilots and five maintainers complained of the symptoms.

In July 2012, the Air Force said it identified the root cause of the problem: a malfunctioning valve on the pilot’s Combat Edge life support vest, which was improperly tightening and constricting breathing. The problem has been fixed, and the Air Force is also on track to install an automatic backup oxygen system by April 2015.■

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Best federal contractors
The companies hiring the most veterans now

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook