A two-star general who was relieved in May from command of the 19th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas has a hearing this month to determine whether he will face charges of sexual assault, extramarital sexual conduct, dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming, according to the service.
Maj. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart will have an Article 32 hearing — a preliminary hearing similar to a grand jury proceeding for civilians — on whether there’s probable cause that he violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and whether he will be tried by court-martial. Those four preferred charges were brought forth Sept. 21, according to a news release from Air Education and Training Command.
“Due to the impending charges, Stewart is currently serving in a limited capacity at an alternate duty location at JBSA-Randolph,” the command said in the release.
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In May, Air Education and Training Command announced that Stewart was being removed from his role as the commander of the 19th Air Force “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead, related to alleged misconduct which is currently under investigation.”
A redacted preferred charge sheet provided to Military.com by Air Education and Training Command gives some details of the alleged misconduct.
Under the dereliction of duty charge, Article 92, Stewart is accused of failing to refrain from “pursuing an unprofessional relationship” between March 6 and May 9 of this year. Additionally, the charge sheet details that he also “failed to refrain from assuming control of an aircraft after consuming alcohol within 12 hours prior to takeoff.”
Regarding the sexual assault charge, Article 120, Stewart is alleged to have committed a sex act on a person at or near Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma around April 13 and April 14 “without her consent,” according to the charge sheet.
Stewart is alleged to have violated Article 133, conduct unbecoming of an officer, near Denver, Colorado, between March 6 and March 8 of this year. The Air Force claims that, “while on official travel,” he wrongfully invited an individual to “spend the night alone with him in his private hotel room,” the charge sheet adds.
Stewart also faces a violation of Article 134, extramarital sexual conduct, around April 13 or April 14, near or at Altus, when he allegedly had intercourse with someone who was not his spouse.
The charge sheet redacts the names of those involved in the alleged incidents.
The preferred charges will go before an Article 32 hearing, where a judge will review the evidence to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that Stewart committed the charged offenses.
The judge will “make a recommendation as to the official disposition that should be made for the case,” Marilyn Holliday, an Air Education and Training Command spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.
It was not clear whether Stewart was being represented by an attorney, and he could not be immediately reached at numbers listed in public records on Wednesday afternoon.
Stewart was commissioned in 1992 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology, according to his official Air Force biography. He served as an instructor and evaluator pilot in multiple aircraft, and he holds the rating of command pilot with more than 2,600 flying hours. He also has 600 hours of combat time over 168 combat missions.
The 19th Air Force has more than 30,000 personnel and 1,530 aircraft assigned to 17 wings located across the country. In his role, Stewart was responsible for more than 45% of the Air Force’s annual flying hour program, according to his biography.
Prior to his role with the 19th Air Force, he served as the deputy chief of staff for strategic employment at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium.
Maj. Gen. Clark Quinn assumed command of the 19th Air Force on June 5, nearly a month after Stewart’s firing.
— Thomas Novelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
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