CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico --
The 27th Special Operations Wing legal office’s responsibilities encompass a wide variety of legal issues ensuring the rights of every Airman are upheld.
Comprised of both enlisted paralegals and judge advocate officers, the legal office handles matters as small as overcharges from the cable company or as big as sexual assault litigation.
“You got people [in civilian practice] who do divorces, you got people who do contracts, people who do real estate – our attorneys do everything,” said Tech Sgt. Morgan Carter, 27th Special Operations Wing NCO in charge of general law. “That includes notaries, powers of attorney, wills, divorce, custody issues, adoptions, child support, automotive problems, immigration, credit card fraud, tax questions, civil non-criminal matters and more.”
Personal matters, like Airmen appointing another person to pay bills while they’re deployed, can be a possible distraction from fully preparing for their mission. It is situations like these where a military lawyer can provide the extra hand of help to organize an Airman’s matters.
“A lot of times, people call us in times of crisis and simply want to know that they have someone on their side, and that they can come away with peace of mind in dealing with any given issue,” Carter said.
As long as that issue doesn’t conflict with Air Force laws, the legal office can assist Airmen in navigating the mountain of confusing local, state and federal laws. All the base attorneys hold law degrees and carry valid legal credentials, just as a civilian lawyer has, while providing their service to Airmen with zero fees.
According to the official Air Force website, the legal office will offer important legal counsel every step of the way from trial preparation to post-trial actions. During that entire period and beyond, the attorneys are bound by their confidentiality agreement.
“Sometimes the base population has misconceptions about the right to privacy when divulging information to attorneys at the legal office,” Carter explained. “There’s 100% confidentiality between the attorneys. Ethically, they can be disbarred for discussing private matters, and could also get kicked out of the military.”
Having that trust when dealing with personal matters ensures Air Commandos can truly be ready ‘Any time, Any place, Anywhere.’ The services they provide are put in place to aid service members as well their families, with most all matters of the law, big or small.
For more on Base Legal affairs, Airmen should visit their base legal office.