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Vandenberg JA hosts legal workshop

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg Judge Advocate staff hosted a three and a half hour legal guided discussion style workshop Nov. 7 for more than a dozen base commanders, senior noncommissioned officers, and first sergeants.

"The purpose of the military justice workshop is to provide commanders and first sergeants with an in-depth understanding of the array of rehabilitative and punitive tools available to help them maintain good order and discipline in their units," said Lt. Col. Sheri Jones, 30th Space Wing Staff Judge Advocate.

The workshop covered topics such as Miranda Rights, Article 31, courts-martials, command directed investigations, Article 15, and other scenario-based discussions.

"I actually found the Article 31 topic to be both the most interesting and the most helpful," said Lt. Col. Katrina Terry, 30th Space Communications Squadron commander. "I also found the subject on courts-martials, commander directed investigations, and lawful orders to be extremely helpful. The information presented provided additional information on the do's and don'ts regarding these subjects and ensured we knew the proper way to use these tools to avoid legal difficulties at a future date."

Not only was the information helpful for the commanders who could be at a decision making level, the information was also helpful for the senior noncommissioned officers involved in the information-gathering and advisement for both the commander and suspected Airman.

"These workshops are critical to have to refresh and remind leadership on good sound and legal methods to ensure good order and disciple is carried out in the most effective manner within their units," said Master Sgt. Matt Morganfield, 533rd Training Squadron first sergeant. "Commanders and first sergeants discipline decisions can be the determining factor that could end an Airman's career in the Air Force. These workshops give the tools for action and recommendations that first sergeants are required to give to their commanders that sure in the best interest for the offender and the Air Force. "

Though most associate military legal actions with a negative connotation, some see the information gained through legal workshops as an opportunity for growth.

"I am a firm believer that knowledge is power," Terry said. "While most situations involving the legal community are often uncomfortable situations, I certainly feel more comfortable when I am faced with a situation where I have some knowledge of the issue being discussed than I do when I have no knowledge of the subject. The legal workshop provided leaders with that knowledge. Additionally, as a commander, I am charged to teach my Airmen and help them with their professional growth. I will share the knowledge I gained from the workshop with my Airmen which will be a step in helping me achieve that goal."

For legal questions and to find out when the next legal workshop will be held, call 605-6200.