Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Major Jill Metzger is to be put on Temporary Retirement

Father says Metzger is to be put on temporary retirement
By Nancy Montgomery, Stars and StripesMideast edition, Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Maj. Jill Metzger, the Air Force officer who went missing for three days in September in Kyrgyzstan, then said she’d been kidnapped, is to be temporarily retired from the Air Force after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, her father said Tuesday.
Metzger is to be on the “temporary disability retired list” starting this month, her father, retired Air Force Lt. Col John Metzger, said in a telephone interview Tuesday from his home in North Carolina.

He said his daughter had been diagnosed with PTSD this spring at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and that two medical doctors and a personnel officer had made the decision to allow her to temporarily retire.

Metzger said his daughter, a former Air Force marathon champion, had gone on leave after her diagnosis and was currently living with her husband, Capt. Joshua Mayo, who’s stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. He said she was still running competitively and was working on a master’s degree.

Neither Mayo nor Jill could be reached for comment.

Metzger’s father said she would be drawing retirement pay, and that she’d be re-evaluated in 18 months to see whether she’d be returned to active duty.

“There’s no reason she wouldn’t be fit to go back into the Air Force,” he said. Air Force spokesman Dewey Mitchell said he could not confirm John Metzger’s account. But he said Air Force regulations do provide for temporary disability retirement.

Metzger said that his daughter’s status was something the family had hoped for in the light of what he believes was the horrific experience she underwent in Kyrgyzstan while serving with the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing.

“It’s what we wanted all along,” John Metzger said. “It gives her a chance to gather her thoughts, recoup a little bit and just get away from the Air Force.”

Metzger disappeared from a Bishkek department store Sept. 5. On Sept. 8, Kyrgyz police were called to a home in a nearby town, where Metzger was found distressed and claiming to have escaped from kidnappers. Her long, blonde hair had been cut short and dyed brown and her hands were stained with dye.

Metzger told authorities that someone had put an object in her pocket in the department store, along with a note saying it was a bomb, and that she had been abducted by three men and a woman after following the note’s instructions. She claimed to escape by striking one of her captors and running miles to safety.

Kyrgyz authorities were skeptical, saying store video and witness accounts conflicted with her statements.

The Air Force and the FBI have been investigating the matter, and Metzger testified before a grand jury last fall. But no arrests have been announced, no conclusions publicly released. Mitchell said the investigation was ongoing.The Air Force has been criticized for releasing no information on the case.

John Metzger said the family, as well, wanted the Air Force to make a statement.

1 comment:

johca said...

Major who claimed abduction temporarily retired

By Patrick Winn - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jul 11, 2007 18:51:53 EDT

Maj. Jill Metzger, the Air Force officer whose claims that she was abducted and tortured in Kyrgyzstan are still under investigation, is temporarily retired for post-traumatic stress disorder, her father said Tuesday.

Two physicians and a personnel officer, at an evaluation at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, placed Metzger on “Temporary Duty Retired” status, said retired Air Force Col. John Metzger. Though Jill Metzger is still classified as active duty, her semiretired status will kick in after she finishes using her annual leave days, he said.

“We thought it was best to get Jill out of the Air Force for a while, clear the cobwebs and help her get on with her life,” John Metzger said.

Under Air Force guidelines, temporarily retired personnel face re-examination at least every 18 months, although the exam typically takes place after 16 months have passed.

Jill Metzger is now with her husband, Capt. Joshua Mayo, an officer stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation are still investigating her claims that Kyrgyz nationals abducted her from a shopping center near Manas Air Base in September. Metzger, who says she struck one of her captors and escaped, was found after a three-day disappearance with her blond hair dyed brown.

Kyrgyz authorities have cast doubt on her account and many blogs, message boards and political Web sites have suggested that Jill Metzger faked the abduction and later relied on her father to manipulate the investigation to her liking. John Metzger laughed that assumption off, saying his contacts faded about 10 years into his 20-year retirement.

The Air Force has not revealed any elements of its investigation and Jill Metzger has not spoken to the media, though she may talk once the investigation is complete, her father said.

“We hope she’ll tell her story some day so the world will know the truth,” he said.