The 56th Fighter Wing Staff Judge Advocate office at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., plays a vital role in the 56th FW vision, to build the future of airpower.
JA is the legal force for Luke in military justice and civil law.
“Military justice is anything in the criminal realm, anytime a commander has a question as to discipline they come here,” said Capt. Ashley King, 56th Fighter Wing Staff Judge Advocate office chief of military justice. “We advise on all disciplinary actions which covers any type from paper work, demotions, and dischargers. And punishments such as non-judicial punishment.”
JA has a unique working environment that allows officers and enlisted personnel work side by side.
“One of the ways enlisted personnel and officer’s work together is during courts-martial,” said King. “During court, both the case paralegal (enlisted) and the trial counsel (officers) prepare the case by interviewing witnesses and preparing documents to offer to the court as evidence. During the trial, the trial counsel sits at the Government’s table and prosecutes the case. The case paralegal sits in the gallery and makes sure that witnesses are ready to go.”
Military justice is an important aspect of all military affairs to make sure troops are upholding the laws stated in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Air Force not only has to follow the UCMJ but also must comply with civil law. Civil law includes matters regarding administration and operations within the Air Force.
“Civil law in the legal office can range from bake sales and fundraisers to securing contracts or the spending of appropriated funds,” King said. “We want to make sure whatever the base wants to do is legal and they’re not violating the law in any way.”
Luke AFB has its own unique challenges in the JA office.
“The F-35A Lightning II, has brought some unique situations as far as civil matters go,” said King. “Contracts with the F-35 and support agreements are unique to Luke with that of the newer aircraft.”
JA also offers legal counseling from the attorneys that are available. Attorneys can provide counsel on but are not limited to; marriage, divorce, adoption, insurance, wills, etc. If JA is unable to help they will provide advice on where to go or the best way to move forward.
“When in doubt call us,” said King. “We want to help our Airmen out as much as possible.”
JA is open to appointments and walk-ins. Walk-in hours are 9-11 a.m. on Tuesdays, and 2-3 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 623-856-6901.