Airman scheduled for special court-martial
Released: 3 Feb 1999
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Bettendorf, who has exercised his right to object to his summary court-martial, will face a special court-martial for refusing a lawful order to receive the anthrax vaccine. No date has been set for the court-martial.
The special court-martial convening authority, Brig. Gen. Steven A. Roser, decided to proceed with a special court-martial after reviewing the charge and the facts of the case and consulting with the Travis legal office.
Bettendorf is charged with violating the lawful orders of his commander by refusing to submit to the anthrax vaccination series. This is his second violation of a lawful order to begin the series. In the first instance, in early December, he accepted an Article 15 (nonjudicial punishment) for his offense. He was demoted one grade, given 45 days extra duty and reprimanded. He was given a second order to begin the series in late December, and he again refused to comply.
His squadron commander decided a measured response was needed to gain compliance with his order and he charged Bettendorf with violating Article 90 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In doing so he recommended the charge be handled by a summary court-martial, the least severe form of court-martial. Bettendorf objected to the summary court Jan. 31, leading to the case being referred to a special court-martial.
Bettendorf is a member of the 815th Air Mobility Squadron, a unit that deploys quickly into high threat areas. In the current world threat environment it is prudent for the Air Force to include biological warfare defense in all its force protection planning, said Air Force officials. This includes defense against the use of anthrax, accomplished in part though the use of the anthrax vaccine. Anthrax is fatal to those not properly protected.