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Area Defense Counsel: They’ve got your back

Tech. Sgt. Breyon Davis, 582nd Operations Support Squadron NCO in charge of current operations, and Staff Sgt. Joshua Belanger, Air Force defense paralegal, stand together in front of the Area Defense Counsel building at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Aug. 18, 2017.

Tech. Sgt. Breyon Davis, 582nd Operations Support Squadron NCO in charge of current operations, and Staff Sgt. Joshua Belanger, Air Force defense paralegal, stand together in front of the Area Defense Counsel building at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Aug. 18, 2017. Davis shared the benefits of using the ADC while going through military justice procedures. The ADC’s responsibilities include ensuring Airmen have representation, explaining how various legal actions can affect their career and assisting Airmen in creating a response or rebuttal to adverse military actions. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Nikita Thorpe)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

When Airmen find themselves in a position or circumstance likely to result in adverse military actions, emotions can run rampant. Feelings of isolation can manifest and many may feel lost in how to respond or proceed. The Area Defense Counsel is here to help Airmen navigate through all of those emotions and more.

 

Tech. Sgt. Breyon Davis, 582nd Operations Support Squadron NCO in charge of current operations, shared the benefits of having an ADC available during a difficult time in her life and career.

 

"I could not have made it through the military justice process without the ADC," said Davis. "Whether it was to assist me with paperwork or emotional support, my ADC was always a phone call away. I never felt like I was alone."

 

Staff Sgt. Joshua Belanger, Air Force defense paralegal explained the ADC's purpose is to support Airmen facing adverse military actions in the Air Force. Their responsibilities include ensuring Airmen have representation, explaining how various legal actions can affect their career and assisting Airmen in creating a response or rebuttal to their leadership's unfavorable decisions.

 

Assistance in military justice procedures and paperwork is a benefit that mitigates unnecessary stress and allows Airmen to communicate effectively to their leadership.

 

"When you are going through a struggle, you speak and write with your feelings," said Davis. "My ADC was able to remove that from my rebuttal, make it reader-friendly and ensure it only listed the facts."

 

The ADC acts as a support system when assistance is needed outside of an Airman's chain of command, and Air Force leadership encourages its use.

 

"Airmen are looking at their commander, chief and first sergeant as that leadership triad," said Master Sgt. Christopher Stokes, 90th Missile Wing Staff first sergeant. "Unfortunately, once they are in the hot seat, they see us as the enemy.  As a first sergeant, the ADC is an extra tool I can use to support our Airmen. I want to make sure they have someone they trust and can talk to, relieving the stress of their situation."

 

Trust can be found in the level of confidentiality the ADC has under the attorney-client privilege.

 

"When Airmen come and speak to us, the confidentiality level is second in the Air Force," said Belanger. "Only the Chaplain is more confidential, because the ADC has to report an intent to hurt yourself or a threat to national security."

 

Whether it is explaining the consequences of one's actions or defending accused Airmen, the ADC is an entity here to guide Airmen through a difficult time and represent them as best they can.

 

"Don't be scared of the ADC; they are here to help you, not hurt you," said Davis. "They keep you aware of the punitive possibilities, but no matter the outcome, they are there with you and for you."

 

For more information on the Area Defense Counsel, call 307-773-3248.