May 18, 1997 in Nation/World

Female B-52 Pilot Will Ask To Resign She May Avoid Court-Martial, Receive Honorable Discharge

From Wire Reports
 

The nation’s first female B-52 pilot will ask to resign with an honorable discharge rather than face a court-martial on charges of adultery, her lawyer said Saturday.

First Lt. Kelly Flinn, 26 and single, was set 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.

Flinn’s lawyer, Frank Spinner, said the pilot consulted with her family and attorneys and said it was a difficult decision for her.

“She is a human being and she has feelings,” he said in a telephone interview from the base. “She sees her dreams coming to an end. She is not smiling, happy. But she’s at peace with herself.”

Spinner said he would submit Flinn’s request to resign with an honorable discharge early this week. It must pass through several chains of command before it reaches Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall.

Widnall has indicated that she would be willing to consider accepting Flinn’s resignation with an honorable discharge. But under Air Force rules she cannot make a direct offer or even give any informal assurances.

Flinn has admitted some of the charges, but has questioned whether the offenses warrant court-martial.

She made a mistake, she said in a recent interview, but it was a crime of the heart: she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome soccer coach married to a base airman. He told her his marriage was in shambles and promised to marry her after his divorce.

Instead, he physically and verbally abused her and betrayed her by collaborating with investigators, she said.


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