Saturday, July 7, 2007

Major Jill Metzger-if no leave-what about Medical Retirement?

Apparently USAF Major Jill Metzger is not going on an 18-month leave as the Associated Press reported on June 13, 2007. Although The Stars and Stripes quickly reported on July 5, 2007 that she is not going on an 18-month leave of absence or any other 18 months of leave, there is a complete absence of disclosure of the possibility or probability of medical separation, medical retirement, or other administrative separation. Lack of this discloser hopefully results from understanding a Board of Inquiry must determine her missing status (10USC1501-Missing Person Act) and another Board of Inquiry must make line of duty determination for any disability that was incurred during her unauthorized absence (10USC1207--Sec. 1207. Disability from intentional misconduct or willful neglect: separation).

It is beyond any question and doubt Major Metzger whereabouts and duty status was not known for three days. It is also certainly true investigators have coworkers, immediate supervisors and leadership, and the military member’s who were in the store shopping at the time Major Jill Metzger mysteriously vanished. The only person’s not known, identified or even subject to question are the persons Major Jill Metzger claims abducted her and held her captive.

If the Board of Inquiry into her missing status determines she was captured and escaped as claimed then a Board of Inquiry for making a line of duty termination into the causes of her disabling medical conditions and injuries is unnecessary.

However, if the unauthorized absence is determined to have resulted from misadventure and misconduct the Air Force will have to confront a serious predicament.

The United States Air Force is committed to maintaining a fit and healthy force because the health of the Air Force community is crucial to force readiness. Specifically, all military noncommissioned and commissioned officer ranks in leadership positions have a duty responsibility to identify, assess and refer those persons that may be deemed imminently dangerous to themselves, others, or have an unexpected change in behavior having negative impact in the doing of military duties before suicide or other misconduct results from loss of mental or emotional fitness.

AFI 44-154 SUICIDE AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION EDUCATION AND TRAINING implements the training requirements so military leaders have the understanding to do these risk management duties as expected. AFI 44-154 directs training in advanced identification, assessment, referral and personnel management approached be included in all formal professional military education programs (Squadron Commander’s Courses, First Sergeant Academy, Airman Leadership School, NCO Academy, Senior NCO Academy, Air and Space Basic Course, Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College). More importantly AFI 44-54 directs “Unit commanders will ensure all personnel complete, during the 15-month Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) training cycle, a mandatory suicide prevention and violence awareness education program. Completion of program training will be documented and a tracking mechanism developed to ensure training is accomplished.

The serious predicament pertinent to the misadventures of Major Jill Metzger becomes if the primary disability causing a 30% or higher disability rating is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other psychiatric condition, the question becomes did the loss of mental or emotion fitness happen before or after she left the store on an unauthorized absence of misadventure. If the loss of mental or emotional fitness occurred before she began her unauthorized absence of misadventure what where the stressors causing the loss of mental and emotional fitness? Why wasn’t her immediate supervisors and leadership doing their duty to refer her to the appropriate mental health care before social or environmental circumstances triggered her into such an acute stress disorder or mental and emotional distraught that she was unable to adapt and deal with being there doing her military duties as expected?

AFI 44-154 SUICIDE AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Training will include advanced identification, assessment, referral, and personnel management approaches that can benefit all persons and particularly those that may be deemed imminently dangerous. AFI 44-109, Mental Health, Confidentiality, and Military Law, DoDD 6490.1, Mental Health Evaluations of Members of the Armed Forces, and DoDI 6490.4 Requirements for Mental Health Evaluations of Members of the Armed Forces, will guide discussion of both emergency and routine referral procedures to mental health. Emphasis on the leader’s responsibility to ensure the airmen understand: (1) that seeking help is encouraged and not a statement that they are somehow incompetent; and (2) that negative career impact for seeking counseling is unlikely when airmen seek help on their own and when it occurs before any misconduct.

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