Your advocate in times of need

  • Published
  • By Capt. Michael Boyer and Tech. Sgt. Tara White
  • 36th Wing Judge Advocate Office
You may have seen posters around base saying, "Defending Those Defending Freedom," and wondered to yourself what the Area Defense Counsel office does, and what we can do for you. If this has happened over the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed that there is a new defense paralegal here, Tech. Sgt. Tara White, who recently came over from the base legal office. Therefore, I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce our team, and let you know what services we can provide.

As you might have guessed, the ADC office on Andersen is composed of one active duty attorney and one active duty paralegal. Together, we represent active duty Air Force members in actions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice at courts-martial and nonjudicial punishment actions. Additionally, we represent clients in a variety of other actions, including administrative discharges, referral performance reports, administrative demotion actions, and letters of reprimand/counseling.

We are unique from our counterparts over at the base legal office in that we represent you and not the command. In fact, when established in 1976, the ADC was taken out of the base legal office to ensure independent defense services were made available to Air Force members. As a result, we are free to advocate for you as our client, without fear of any negative repercussions from the command.

In 1983, Major General Thomas Bruton, then The Judge Advocate General of the Air Force, put it this way, "It is not the job of the defense counsel to assist or make it easy for the Government to establish or present its case. To the contrary, the independent defense structure pioneered by the Air Force was in part established to enable defense counsel to freely make those many difficult and sometimes challenging decisions without fear of command interference or reprisal."

If questioned, remember that under military law an Air Force member suspected of committing a criminal offense has the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a military lawyer free of charge prior to making any statement. If you choose to exercise either of these two rights, we are here to help you. Further, we can assist you even before any action is taken against you and while the command is still investigating your case.

If you find yourself in need of our services or have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to drop by our office or give us a call. We are located in Building 23028 (Mission Support Group Headquarters Building) on Andersen AFB, Guam and our contact number is DSN: 366-2281.