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ALASKA AIR GUARD OFFICER SUFFERS RETALIATION FOR TELLING THE TRUTH

Lt. Col. Frederick D. "Dutch" Overly
Alaska
Jan. 28, 2004

In 1996, I had to make one of the most important decisions in my military career. Was I going to go along with what was transpiring in the Alaska Air National Guard, or do the right thing, and stay true to my oath as an officer in the United States Air Force?

I tried to go through the chain-of-command first, but found myself up against a deeply entrenched and corrupt system. So I became a "whistleblower." I went to the OSI (Air Force Office of Special Investigations) and reported the unprofessional and adulterous behavior of Col. Dan P. Nice, the Alaska Guard's 176th Wing Commander.

A COVER-UP AND RETALIATION

The senior leadership in the Guard quickly tried to engineer a "cover-up," and obstruct the investigation. However, there was so much evidence of wrongdoing, they found it impossible to conceal it all! The Inspector General for the Secretary of the Air Force and Department of Defense substantiated, I repeat, substantiated my complaint, along with finding several additional improprieties committed by Col. Nice. But before this report was published, the senior leadership in the Alaska Air National Guard started a campaign to discredit me and force me to leave the service. They transferred me into a position I was not trained for. They tried to "railroad" me with "unfavorable" performance reports.

When the IG report came out, the Guard's senior commander piously claimed he was the one who had requested the investigation in the first place! He declared he would not "tolerate" such behavior as adultery and fraternization, and removed Col. Nice from his command. The colonel is now retired.

But I was to experience swift retaliation for telling the truth. Mandatory "briefings" were held for all Alaska Air National Guard officers, during which, I was portrayed as an individual of unethical, immoral and unprofessional behavior.

UNLAWFUL ACTS BY NEW WING COMMANDER

The new wing commander, Col. Van P. Williams, dictated I go before a "Withdrawal of Federal Recognition Board" on the above charges. They wanted to throw me out of the Guard! Williams also had my top secret security clearance removed because he claimed I was "a threat to national security." Absolutely ludicrous, but they tried anything they could think of to hurt me!

The colonel harassed me further by writing unfavorable "officer performance reports" and an equally unfavorable "promotion recommendation file." Williams tried everything he could think of to "break" me and my spirit. But I knew I had done the right thing, and I refused to buckle under.

When I went before the Board in November 1997, fate finally smiled on me.

CAUGHT IN THE ACT

Several of the senior leaders in the Guard who were out to get me, got caught giving "false" testimony, and their own lawyer was discovered to have attempted jury tampering.

The result was, the Board did not recommend my removal. All I got was a verbal reprimand for my "supposed insubordination." Most Boards end with removal of the "targeted officer," so the top leadership in the Alaska Air Guard was furious when I unexpectedly survived!

As a form of retaliation, the Guard sent me away on duty for both Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. My family was still trying to heal from the trauma of my enduring the Board process, and the stress on them was almost unbearable.

ACCUSATIONS ARE "SUBSTANTIATED"

In January 1998, the Department of Defense Inspector General Office released the first of several "substantiated" reports, which found in fact, that all these actions taken against me by the Guard leadership were "reprisal" and violated the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The senior officers seeking to destroy me claimed the report was not a "through investigation" and vowed to appeal it. But they never did.

Why?

Because in April of that year, another Inspector General report found further unlawful retaliation against me!

KNOWLES FAILS TO SUPPORT WHISTLEBLOWER

Despite all of this, the then-governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles, who thinks he's going to be the next U.S. Senator from our state, claimed the crimes committed against me were a federal matter. He maintained that he "as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard" and his political appointees, were all "protected" from lawsuits by the Feres Doctrine.

We've all read of how the Communists in Russia for many years have tossed dissidents into mental hospitals to discredit what they have to say. The so-called "leadership" of the Alaska Air National Guard did the same.

TRUTH TELLER LABELED "MENTAL"

They attempted to have me medically discharged for a "mental disorder," and claimed I was "suicidal." I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by a "hostile working environment." Fortunately, the Air Force Formal Physical Evaluation Board ruled that I was "fit for duty," and that the "hostile work environment" was causing my stress.The vendetta continued. I had angered many powerful people who couldn't understand why I didn't just "go away," like so many other victims over the years.

The National Guard Bureau overruled the Secretary of the Air Force and put me on a physical "profile" to be "re-evaluated in one year's time. This happened, and the psychologist could not believe I was back to see him! He told me there was no reason for me to go before another Medical Evaluation Board again!

STILL WAITING FOR JUSTICE

To date, nothing has been done to resolve the injustice I have suffered.

In fact, the senior leadership has used me as an "example" to others in the Alaska Guard who might dare to blow the whistle on wrongdoing. I just heard from a senior NCO that a certain colonel, who had been involved in my harassment, has been relieved of command for "racial comments" made against Alaskan natives, specifically the Adjutant General. I was told this colonel liked to "brag" about how easily he could "manipulate" Sen. Ted Stevens by giving misleading information and outright lying.

For now, the Air Force Board for the Correction of Military Records has directed that I be assigned to the Air Force Reserves here in Alaska to protect me from the state national guard leadership. This is because former Gov. Knowles, a real phoney, had refused to hold any of my tormentors accountable for their actions.


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