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February 2023
Tim Bilecki

Case Result: Defense Victory CW2 UCMJ Trouble

Allegations: Missing Movement, Violation of a Lawful Order.
Torii Station, Okinawa
GOMOR Locally Filed

Chief Warrant Officers can be notoriously hard to find as some say they’ve perfected the art of getting through the military ranks with ease. They are where they have to be lest additional duties come their way. Should you actually come across the unicorn that is a CW5 in the wild, then count your lucky stars. However, for one CW2 stationed out of Torii Station, Okinawa, the question over his whereabouts landed him in big trouble with the UCMJ.

Our client was part of a massive military exercise taking place in Papua New Guinea and the CW2’s duties during this exercise were quite substantial. The conditions during the exercise were quite grueling and to make matters worse, the CW2 was fighting through an illness the entire time. Tasked with planning movement control, CW2 pressed on through the illness and the output of his assigned work was beyond repute.

The problem came when the CW2 was noticeably absent from an event that was unrelated to his assigned tasks. Again, Chief Warrant Officers are usually where they have to be and nowhere else. The issue was a complete misunderstanding, but when rumors of intoxication began to circle his command assumed the worst and began the crusade to tear this proven and decorated Chief Warrant Officer down. Thankfully, the CW2 retained UCMJ defense lawyer Tim Bilecki to take the fight right to the heart of that command.

The CW2 was accused of missing movement and violation of a lawful order. Upon hearing the CW2’s version of events, Bilecki immediately began to conduct his own investigation. Bilecki engaged with the AR 15-6 investigating officer and it became apparent that he couldn’t rely on the command’s investigation to uncover the truth. Bilecki interviewed multiple witnesses who were present during the mission and examined the broad scope of work product produced by the CW2 during the exercise.

It was clear that the CW2 was the consummate professional during the exercise and at the end of the day, he just wasn’t where someone else thought he should be. Perhaps it was the command’s long lost dream to prosecute the ever elusive Chief Warrant Officer, because apart from that, there was no reason this case should have made it this far.

Yet, the command would not be deterred, facts be damned. The case was eventually directed to a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR). Here, Bilecki was able to execute a strategy with well-crafted rebuttal materials that showed the CW2’s work and professionalism. There were additional mitigating factors that led to the CW2’s absence which were not originally considered by the command and explained the miscommunication.

Yet, again, the command would not be deterred, facts be damned. The command proceeded to file the GOMOR more out of spite than anything. However, Bilecki’s defense forced the command to only file the GOMOR locally, which would in essence save the CW2’s long and storied career. We say it time and time again that you may very well love the military, but you cannot coexist with a military justice system that is out to destroy you. You have to fight back to secure for yourself the best possible outcome, because the truth itself is not enough to clear your good name. You have to fight and you have to get expert help on your side if you hope to fight back against fickle and unjust commands.

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