Allegations of “lewd behavior and debauchery” among a squadron of American pilots deployed to patrol the no-fly zone in Bosnia has led to the disclosure that several top-ranking Air Force generals were members of a secretive and rowdy drinking organization known informally as the “Barstoolers.”
In response to an investigation of the Bosnia incident, Gen. John G. Lorber, commander of all Pacific Air Force bases, issued a memorandum ordering officers under his command to hold meetings to discuss and reflect on codes of conduct and ethics in the Air Force.
Lorber’s sternly worded Oct. 2 order, however, did not acknowledge that Lorber himself was once a member of the “Command Barstool Association.”
Barstoolers publish a newsletter, “the Drink Booze News,” use an upturned middle finger as their club salute and have as their motto, “We Stand for Nothing.”
A copy of the newsletter was introduced at a court-martial at Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force Base in September. Among other things, the newsletter praises a new member to the barstoolers, saying he “not only has a strong affection for drinking libations with an octane rating of Formula One racing fuel, but he is renowned for charming the pants off any bimbo wandering into the bar.
“In fact, his balancing act on the bar is second only to his balancing act on the aforementioned bimbos,” the newsletter stated, “and to the best of our knowledge, he has never fallen off either one.”
A spokeswoman for Lorber said the general had been a member of the Barstoolers “very early in his career” more than 10 years ago, but is not active now and has formally requested in the past two weeks that his name be removed from any membership list.
Lorber’s memorandum, entitled “Standards of Conduct,” stemmed from reports of wild drinking parties in a northern Italian town among members of the squadron sent to patrol the no-fly zone in Bosnia, said Maj. Robin Crumm, public affairs officer for Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where Lorber is headquartered.
In his memorandum, which went to all officers at the eight Air Force bases under his command, Lorber said several of the squadron members “conducted themselves as though they were in a wild fraternity, totally out of control with no mature supervision.
“If lewd behavior and debauchery in an Air Force squadron shock you, then you are part of the team,” he said. “If it doesn’t, then it’s time you look for another profession. Our Air Force today does not tolerate such behavior, nor should it.”
The reports of wild behavior surfaced during the court-martial at Elmendorf of Lt. Col. Shelley Rogers, commander of the 90th fighter wing. Rogers was originally accused of adultery with a 25-year-old first lieutenant. However, the adultery charge was dismissed, and Rogers eventually was convicted of “conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman” and disorderly conduct, and relieved of his command. The female lieutenant has not been charged with any misconduct.