The Innocent Suffer

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Wisconsin –-(  In the winter of 1985 the Air Force held a major training exercise in Germany. Literally thousands of Airmen from around the world came to Germany for the exercise to include Air Force “cops” from every major command.

I was asleep in my off-base hotel room where many of the Airmen were staying, when an OSI (Office of Special Investigation) Agent knock on my door.

I was advised that a senior female Air Force civilian (we will call her Miss Jones) who was in Germany for the exercise was in the hotel bar telling everyone who would listen what a horrible person I was. She was verbalizing that I had filed some kind of official complaint on her that had been investigated to her embarrassment. I got up, got dressed, went down to the bar to find Miss Jones and told her I did not know what she was talking about. I had never even verbally, let alone in any official written status complained about her. She did not believe me and every “cop” in the bar was watching me.

My name was mud in the then Security Police career field. We were there for months and she continued to defame my name. I approached a couple of OSI Agents seeking their advice. I had done nothing wrong and still did not know what the situation was all about. They suggested I apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of the complaint. Once I had a copy in hand I could take it to Miss Jones and show her that my name did not appear anywhere in the complaint.

I then went to Miss Jones again apologizing for her discomfort but telling her I was ready, along with her to officially apply for a copy of the complaint. So, she could see for herself I was in no way involved. This suggestion and the fact that I told her I was going to do this under advisement from some OSI Agents got her attention. Within a week she pulled me aside where no one could hear and told me she now believed me when I said I was not involved.

I was a very junior Captain and extremely happy this senior person was now going to let me off the hook, for something I had not done anyway. Stupid me, what I had failed to do was understand she had spent over six months blaming me (to anyone who would listen) for the official complaint. She however did not spend the next six months tracking down all the senior “cops” she had passed on to, her unhappiness with me and of course not advising them I was innocent of all her alleged charges. There were senior “cop” officers the rest of my career who thought I was a back stabbing, little tattle-tail who was not to be trusted.

Of course it latter came out that Miss Jones was having an alleged affair with a married senior “cop” and perhaps this was what started the complaint in the first place. Senior officers in the military have been drinking and cheating on their spouses since before Roman Army days.

When some Colonel or General is singled out for discipline and perhaps forced to retire early because he was sleeping with the young Airmen or naive Second Lieutenant, the public thinks that is the end of the problem. How many junior personnel suffered in direct relationship to the demonstrated bad behavior of a senior military officer who decides to abuse his power and sleep around?

The Colonel that Miss Jones allegedly had the affair with, divorced one of his many future ex-wives with the intent to (as rumor had it) married Miss Jones. However, in the process the good Colonel found yet another junior Airman to bestow his affections on. Miss Jones did not get her Colonel.

Again nobody goes back and tries to repair the damage the senior military person does to all the junior underlings he or she harms in the pursuit of their love affairs. The civilian world does not truly understand the power and control senior officers have over the lives of their subordinates and I am not talking about in combat.

How many troops did General Petraeus damage in his pursuit of love in all the wrong places? I have been one of those innocent troops unsuspectingly standing in harm’s way of an alleged senior officer’s love affair. Sometimes you do not recover from the evil and bedroom practices of senior leadership.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret
[email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret. , is a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. Now retired, these days he enjoys camping, traveling, volunteering with the Girl Scouts and writing. [email protected]

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Based on your depiction of the situation, I fail to see your surmised connection between a colonel's affair and the accusations against you by his paramour. The common thread was Miss Jones. What was it that caused her to implicate you? Was there proof or just suspicion? If her accusations were continuing to have an adverse affect on your career, why did you not obtain a copy of the complaint against Miss Jones and show the world you were innocent? Based on the result you claim, you had nothing to lose. Finally, what is your purpose now in publicizing your… Read more »



silly boy…Gays are a protected class, don't you know!


If I'm not mistaken General Patraeus didn't fool around with Broadwell until he became DCIA which is civilian status. I'm not condoning cheating on your wife no matter what grade you are and now how do gays fit in the mix?