A member of a McChord Air Fore Base crew that was disciplined for allegedly misusing government aircraft to attend Seattle SuperSonics games is taking his defense onto the court of public opinion.
Maj. Alan C. Kifer of Enumclaw placed an ad in The News Tribune of Tacoma on Saturday, seeking support for an Air Force investigation into the treatment of him and his crew. It was the first in a $10,000 series of ads he plans to place in newspapers across the nation.
Kifer has also been telling his story to media outlets. He is pressing for a congressional hearing on his case.
“When you don’t do anything wrong, then I have nothing to hide,” Kifer told KIRO Television in Seattle. “I’d step up and do it again, and I would.”
Kifer says it was a coincidence that the McChord crew’s overnight stays in Charlotte, N.C., and Indiana coincided with the Seattle basketball team’s road trip.
The stops were part of a routine training mission Nov. 17-19 that was “approved at all command levels,” Kifer’s ad reads.
“During our off-duty time and at our own expense, we attended NBA Sonics basketball games.”
Critics charged the crew went out of its way to plan a “basketball mission” so they could watch the Sonics.
After a two-month investigation, nine C-141 crew members and the two highest-ranking officers in the reserve unit were given administrative punishments for misusing government equipment.
Officials at McChord said the Air Force stands by its investigation, and that Kifer is being disciplined primarily for making a low-level training flight during the November mission.
Kifer said Saturday he’s spending his own money to pay for the ads, which ask for petitions to Congress “to investigate and hold an Open Hearing on the unjust treatment of these Reservists.”