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How to lose your career in one day

Posted 8/25/2011   Updated 8/25/2011 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Joel B. Lofgren
11thWing Judeg Advocate Office

8/25/2011 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md.  -- What are the consequences of drinking and driving? If you are an Airman, the consequences can be serious. In addition to losing base driving privileges, you may even be brought before a court-martial. This is the position Tech. Sgt. Michael E. Blackburn, 317th Recruiting Squadron, found himself in after drinking and driving on Joint Base Andrews on May 21.

After consuming multiple mixed drinks that night, the sergeant made the extremely unwise decision of attempting to drive himself home. However, he never made it back to his driveway and instead crashed his vehicle into an unoccupied house in base housing. The vehicle was totaled, but thankfully, no one was injured. At the time of the accident, Blackburn's blood alcohol content was 0.222 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. The legal limit in the state of Maryland and Joint Base Andrews is 0.08.

As a result of this incident, the 11th Wing Commander convened a special court-martial at Joint Base Andrews on Aug. 4. A military judge, the honorable Lt. Col. Christopher Santoro, presided over the court and accepted Blackburn's pleas of guilty to drunk driving, driving recklessly, and causing more than $500 in damage to non-government property all offenses were under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Based on these pleas, the military judge sentenced Blackburn to be reduced two grades reduction to senior airman, to serve four months in confinement and forfeit $750 pay per month for four months. Blackburn is currently serving his time in the Naval Brig in Charleston, S.C. and will remain in confinement until December 2011. This federal conviction will remain on his record for the rest of his life.

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