First female bomber pilot to request honorable discharge
MINOT, N.D. (AP) _ Air Force pilot 1st Lt. Kelly Flinn, the nation’s first female B-52 pilot who is charged with adultery, will ask to resign with an honorable discharge instead of a court-martial, her lawyer said Saturday.
Flinn, 26 and single, was due to be court-martialed Tuesday at Minot Air Force Base on charges of adultery and fraternization in connection with two affairs the Air Force says she had over the past year.
One was with an enlisted man who is single, the other with a married civilian. She also is charged with lying to investigators and disobeying an order to stay away from the married man.
Her lawyer, Frank Spinner, said he would submit Flinn’s request to resign with an honorable discharge in lieu of a court-martial early next week. If convicted on all charges, Flinn could face dismissal and up to 9 1/2 years in prison.
``Her honorable discharge will spare both her and the Air Force, which she truly loves, from further embarrassment over this incident,″ Spinner said in a statement.
``If granted an honorable discharge, Lt. Flinn hopes to continue to serve her country through participation in the Air Force Reserves or National Guard, if subsequent approval is given by the Air Force,″ the statement said.
The Air Force had no immediate comment and was working on a response, spokesman Ron Lovis said from Virginia.
Capt. Mark Phillips, a spokesman at the Minot Air Force Base, said the judge in charge of the court-martial, Col. Dennis Kansala, had received Flinn’s request for a continuance on her case until June 2. Kansala hadn’t acted on it yet, Phillips said.
Flinn made the decision after ``lengthy and careful consultation″ with Spinner, her military lawyers and her family, Spinner’s statement said.
On Friday, an Air Force judge denied her request for the court-martial be moved to an Illinois base and that it be delayed until June 2.
Spinner said he and Flinn wanted the court-martial delayed because she wanted more time to consider resigning and he needed more time to prepare.
Flinn has said in interviews that Marc Zigo, the married man she was involved with, lied when he told her he was legally separated from his wife and had filed for divorce. Flinn has also said she initially lied to the Air Force about her affair, fearing an admission would destroy her career.