HAMPTON--Two F-22 Raptor pilots who undoubtedly saved lives by speaking up are being punished, according to Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia).
Warner and Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger have sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel saying what has happened "cannot stand."
At issue, the oxygen generation system problem aboard the Raptor which caused the fighter jet to be grounded in 2012. Captain Joshua Wilson and Major Jeremy Gordon of the Virginia Air Guard suffered hypoxia-like symptoms. They took their complaints first to superiors, and eventually to "60 Minutes."
In their letter, Warner and Kinzinger says the pilots were placed in desk jobs, lost their flight pay, and were served letters of reprimand, negative evaluations and career-ending flight evaluation boards.
Warner and Kinzinger ask the Department of Defense to complete an investigation into claims of violations of the Military Whistleblower Act by Pentagon officials.
"So we want to see the inspector general's report finished, and if it proves and shows that these servicemen were reprized, we want to make sure their records are cleared," Warner said Thursday in a telephone conference call with reporters.
In response, Virginia National Guard public affairs officer A.A. "Cotton" Puryear sent this statement to 13News Now:
"We welcome the efforts of Sen. Mark R. Warner and Rep. Adam Kinzinger as they asked the Department of Defense to complete the Inspector General investigation.
It is not appropriate to discuss the details of an ongoing Inspector General investigation or speculate about its outcome. Once the investigation is complete, Virginia National Guard leadership will take into account the recommendations from the IG report and take appropriate action to resolve any outstanding issues.
Maj. Jeremy Gordon requested to transition to the T-38 adversary air mission in the summer of 2012. He is currently flying the T-38. There are not, and never were, any personnel actions initiated regarding Maj. Gordon.
Capt. Joshua Wilson is assigned to the 149th Fighter Squadron, and any pending personnel actions for him are on hold pending the conclusion of the DoD IG investigation."