In the first court-martial of an Air Force General Officer in its 75 year history, Major General William Cooley has been convicted of a charge of forcible kissing, but acquitted of two charges of forcible touching.
Cooley will be sentenced on Monday.
He faces dismissal, up to 7 years in prison and forfeiture of all pay and benefits, including the potential loss of all retirement pay.
If he is not dismissed (which is equivalent to a felony conviction) he would likely be immediately administratively retired. As an officer he cannot be reduced in rank, but his retirement pay could be reduced by one or more grades.
It will be interesting to see if they drop the hammer of dismissal.
Officers cannot be reduced in rank? That’s a new one. But when I made regular, it was an act of congress so …maybe true.
It looks like this rule is somewhat peculiar to 2 star generals as 3 and 4 star generals are temporary ranks.
occurs often in the U.S. military, to three- or four-star general or flag officers, who can be reduced in rank to no lower than their permanent rank of two-stars, as all ranks above two-stars are temporary, and are linked to their position’s office.
I knew a reserve-on-active-duty officer though that was given a choice in an infamous PRE-DOPMA rif in the late 60s or early 70s: Serve out the remainder as an NCO and retire as a captain or leave the air force.
But I don’t think we even have ‘regular’ officers anymore so… I know nuttin.
BTW… I read a bit elsewhere. It was his brother’s wife that he was hitting on. And if her story is correct… he’s an idiot… bad judgement. Needs to retire. But loss of retirement benefits? That is ■■■■■■ up.
I think something is wrong here. She and her husband (cooleys brother) and cooley even went to counciling. She wasn’t going to report him but her husband got mad and…
For regular officers from Second Lieutenant up to Major General, rank is permanent and when an officer is promoted, technically he resigns from his previous rank. Because each rank is held via a Presidential appointment, it is not possible for a court martial to reduce rank or for any service to administratively reduce an officer in rank.
For Lieutenant General and General, the rank is held via a temporary appointment, with the officer retaining his permanent rank of Major General. When the temporary appointment ends, the officer reverts to Major General.
When an officer retires, however, the service can administratively adjust his retirement downwards, if they feel he has poorly performed in his current or prior grade.
If Cooley is not dismissed, I could see him being administratively reduced to Brigadier General or Colonel for retirement pay…
He must forfeit $54,550 in pay and be publicly reprimanded.
No jail time.
He will be administratively retired.
The only thing likely to really hurt is how far down they adjust his retirement. Unlikely he will be retired on Major General’s pay. More likely he will be retired as a Brigadier General or Colonel. A drop of one grade will hurt him plenty over retirement, at drop of two grades would be a massive hurt.
The fact that he was acquitted on the two worst charges likely was the cause of the lenient sentence.
Interestingly, the prosecution was still pushing for dismissal.