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Investigation Finds Persian Gulf Hero at Fault in Promotions Case

December 14, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Air Force Lt. Gen. Buster Glosson, an architect of the Persian Gulf air war, accused a fellow officer of lying to the Air Force chief of staff in an effort to block the officer’s promotion, an internal investigation revealed.

Glosson also told three members of a promotion board that Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak opposed the promotion, a charge that McPeak denied, the Air Force Office of the Inspector General said.

The report, released Monday more than a week after Glosson was officially reprimanded, makes clear that McPeak was not involved in any attempt to stop the officer’s promotion to major general.

It said there was no evidence McPeak, Glosson’s boss, ″either directed or suggested improper communications or any other actions to undermine″ the promotion.

Glosson was censured by Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall for improperly interfering with the promotion process. The former fighter pilot and rising Air Force star was allowed to keep his three-star rank, but the reprimand is considered a career-ending stain.

The report cites testimony from three generals on a promotion board who say Glosson approached them and claimed that the officer on the promotion list had lied to McPeak and that McPeak did not want him promoted. The Air Force did not identify the candidate for promotion.

McPeak, in his testimony to the inspector general, described Glosson as ″kind of family″ and a man he completely trusts. He speculated that the investigation may have stemmed from some ″enormous miscommunication.″

But McPeak also denied having any knowledge that the officer lied to him or anyone else and said he never told anyone, including Glosson, that the officer should not be promoted.

He suggested that Glosson held a grudge against the officer because of run- ins between the two when Glosson’s career was going through a ″shaky period″ and that Glosson held the man in ″rather low regard.″

Glosson, in his testimony, said McPeak never stated that the officer lied to him, nor did he suggest that Glosson take any action regarding the promotion. But he said his conversations with McPeak had left him with the impression that the officer had been untruthful.

In a rebuttal prepared by his lawyer, Glosson said the inspector general report was ″infected with bias, replete with conclusions contrary to the evidence and demonstrably inadequate to support conclusions which, if accepted by the secretary, might terminate the career of a superior Air Force officer.″

The report said that in the two weeks before the Oct. 14 selection board meeting, Glosson contacted three generals named to the board and made clear that the candidate in question should not be promoted. It said Glosson’s claims that he did not know the three were on the board were ″improbable.″

After the conversations, the three followed Air Force procedure for selection board members who are approached with incriminating material about a candidate, and stepped down from the board.

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