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July 2022
Tim Bilecki

Case Result: Air Force Captain Against Assault

Allegations: Aggravated Assault, Violation of a Lawful Order.
Osan Air Force Base, Korea
Air Force Captain (F-16 Pilot),O-3
All Charges Dismissed after Article 32 Hearing Based on Self Defense.

Officers are routinely held accountable for the actions of their enlisted personnel. It’s called leadership and accountability. It’s not always fair for the officer as enlisted personnel do some stupid shit over which the officer truly has no control, but that’s the way it is. Look, if the military didn’t presuppose some level of debauchery among its enlisted personnel they wouldn’t be giving out medals just for good conduct.

However, for one Air Force Captain who was out for drinks with his fellow pilots in the Songtan Entertainment District (SED) of Korea, a drunk enlisted Airman almost cost him everything. In this case, it wasn’t an issue of command. The Captain was drinking with his pilot buddies and doing whatever pilots do in bars, singing Great Balls of Fire we suppose, when the drunk enlisted Airmen attacked him out of nowhere.

Remarkably, the Captain kept his composure and simply pushed the attacker away from him rather than escalate the fight. Unfortunately, the attacker fell backward and sustained a serious head injury on the pavement. One would presume this would be covered under self-defense, but command had other priorities. Command wanted to make an example out of the incident to scare other Airmen into compliance and that required them to go after the Captain anyway.

Making matters worse, the pilot was then grounded from flying the F-16 that he loved and his entire life was falling apart around him because of this drunk enlisted Airman’s actions. Realizing the gravity of the situation before him, he flew in heavy hitting court martial defense attorney Tim Bilecki.

South Korea has become a home away from home for Bilecki as his reputation has led to service members routinely flying him in to fight their cases. Bilecki is more than happy to do so as he knows what service members stationed thousands of miles from home are up against when they are tangling with the military justice system.

Fully familiar with the SED, Bilecki flew in immediately to conduct an on the ground investigation.  He knew the bar in question and set out to talk to the owner and secure crucial CCTV footage of the incident. The footage was key as it made it clear as day that the Captain was acting in complete self-defense.

What the footage couldn’t pick up was an architectural design of the bar floor that resulted in a large step down that likely exacerbated drunken service members’ fall. Sure, OSI visited that same bar, but they were looking for evidence of guilt rather than the cold hard objective truth. The discernible truth is that the enlisted Airman’s high level of intoxication combined with the large step down in the bar were the reasons for the service member’s injury. It was not the fault of the Captain.

Armed with this new evidence, Bilecki came to the Article 32 hearing with all guns blazing. He presented the new facts along with the CCTV footage and painted such a clear picture that the Preliminary Hearing Officer (PHO) knew the government had a losing case on their hands. In the strongest terms possible, he recommended the dismissal of charges based on the principle of self-defense. The Captain was cleared and within weeks he was back in the skies in the cockpit of his beloved F-16.

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