In yet another incident of unprofessional conduct in U.S. special operations forces, a senior Air Force officer is facing charges for the alleged repeated rape of a senior airman while on deployment in Africa.
Specifically, Lieutenant Colonel Michael B. Black, an Air Force Reserves C-145A Skytruck instructor pilot and combat aviation adviser (AAC) with the 919th Special Operations Wing (919th SOW), has been accused of three violations of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
According to exclusive evidence obtained by the Air Force Times, Lt. Col. Black allegedly assaulted and raped a senior female airman on two occasions (April 28 or 29, 2017 and May 1 or 3, 2017) while they were deployed in Uganda. Furthermore, the spec ops pilot allegedly digitally penetrated the senior non-commissioned officer without her consent on April 28 or 29, 2017.
Lieutenant Colonel James Wilson, a public affairs officer from the 919th SOW, said that “any allegations of sexual assault are taken seriously by leaders at all level [sic] in our unit. As with any case that is pending trial, the member is considered innocent until proven guilty.”
As an AAC, Lt. Col. Black would be attached to SOF units on the ground to provide expertise in close air support and training to partner forces. Training and advising allied or partner African nations make up a significant portion of the deployments of most American SOF units in sub-Saharan Africa.
Lt. Col. Black began his career as an enlisted airman with a loadmaster military occupation specialty. He later earned his commission through the Air Force’s Officer Candidate School and retrained as a C-145A pilot.
Lt. Col. Black refused to comment on the accusations. The court-martial is scheduled to take place on May 6 at Elgin Air Force Base, Florida.
Designed and manufactured in Poland, the C-145A Skytruck is a twin-engine aircraft capable of short take off and landing. Consequently, it is an ideal platform for special operations. Although its actual role within the Air Force Special Operations Command is classified, it is safe to assume that C-145A Skytrucks are outfitted with top-shelf equipment to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations.
Alongside the C-145A Skytruck, the 919th SOW operates the U-28, another small aircraft capable of ISR missions; the C-146A Wolfhound, a turboprop aircraft capable of carrying up to 30 operators or 6,000 pounds of cargo; and the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle. All of these aircraft fulfill a non-standard aviation role, meaning they are often painted in civilian colors and carry civilian markings so as to not attract attention.