Officer hands down guilty verdict for inappropriate ‘call sign’

Ottawa –

The Royal Canadian Air Force said two officers were reprimanded and lightly suspended for failing to carry out military orders to prevent and address sexual misconduct.

The charges and disciplinary action stemmed from an informal meeting on June 22 at 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta, one of Canada’s two main jet fighter bases, known as the “Callsign Review Board.”

Former fighter pilots describe such review boards as informal meetings after major training exercises or operations, where pilots assign nicknames or call signs to new members and drink as they go.

During the June meeting, several fighter pilots proposed, discussed and assigned another pilot an “inappropriate” call sign, the Air Force said.

Colonel Colin Marks was stripped of his pay for eight days after being found guilty at a summary hearing, while Lt. Corey Mask lost five days’ pay.

The Air Force said in a statement that the decisions do not mark the end of the matter, as a broader cultural shift is underway.

The information shared by Air Force spokesman Maj. Trevor Reed described the brief hearing before 50 members of the 4th Wing as a “non-criminal and non-criminal process for fairly dealing with unit violations of military discipline.” “

The statement, sent to members of the Air Force, said it must learn from the incident “in order to further develop our culture into a culture of absolute respect in which each of us contributes to action and Organizations bring out the best in themselves.”

It added that the Air Force “is taking steps to formalize the tradition of call sign review boards to provide appropriate oversight and ensure they are conducted in a manner consistent with Air Force values.”

Commander of the Air Force Lt.-Gen. When Eric Kenny announced in August that the appointment of Max as commander of another Canadian fighter base, the 3rd Wing in Baggettville, Quebec, had been postponed, he first revealed his concern for the 6 Survey of the 22nd meeting.

Both officers were charged in October, but news of the charges and summary trial was only revealed late last month.

The charges are not criminal in nature, and their hearings were presided over by other officers in Cold Lake, Alberta, which the Air Force said were far enough apart to “ensure the impartiality of the decisions made.” Both hearings are closed to the public.

A third, more junior officer was also charged with disrupting discipline or morale for what the Air Force said was part of an “inappropriate call sign” assignment.

Charges against the officer, whose name has not been released, were later dropped and replaced by what the military called an administrative measure.

The administrative measures, which typically include warnings and reprimands, also apply to other officers, from second lieutenants to majors, Reid said.

The case against Marks and Mask highlights the Canadian military’s long tradition of assigning call signs at a time when the military is still dealing with the aftermath of a string of misconduct, and in some cases criminal conduct, by senior officers.

The Canadian Press report was first published on December 12, 2022.

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