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Maj. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart, who was relieved from his command of the 19th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, due to charges of sexual assault and other offenses, is now seeking to retire instead of facing a court-martial.

Jeffrey Addicott’s attorney confirmed that a retirement request was submitted earlier this week. The decision to approve or deny this request falls under the authority of Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. This process includes a grade determination board to ascertain the rank at which Stewart would retire if permitted.

19th Air Force Change Of Command

Stewart’s situation is notable as it marks only the second instance in U.S. Air Force history where a general has been formally charged with a sexual crime. The charges emerged following his removal from command in May due to alleged misconduct, leading to an Article 32 hearing in October. Despite the judge’s recommendation to drop the sexual assault charges and handle the other charges administratively, Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson, head of Air Education and Training Command, referred the charges to a court-martial.

The Department of the Air Force’s Office of Special Trial Counsel, operational since December 28, oversees investigation and prosecution of offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including sex-related crimes. Had Stewart’s charges been brought this year, this office would have been responsible for recommending court-martial proceedings.

The charges against Stewart, as detailed in a redacted charge sheet, include dereliction of duty, sexual assault, conduct unbecoming an officer, and extramarital sexual conduct. The specifics of the charges span incidents at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma and near Denver, Colorado, involving unprofessional relationships, alcohol consumption before flight, and non-consensual sexual acts.

More on Stewart:
Stewart’s military career, spanning over three decades since 1992, included roles as an instructor and evaluator pilot in multiple aircraft. He holds a command pilot rating with significant flying hours and combat missions. Before his assignment to the 19th Air Force, he served in strategic employment at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium.

The 19th Air Force, under his command, comprised a substantial portion of the Air Force’s flying-hour program. Following his removal, Maj. Gen. Clark Quinn took command of the 19th Air Force in June.


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