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Air Force Officer Court-Martialed For Being Six Minutes Late

Mario Manago, 33, has dedicated the last 12-years of his life to being an officer in the US Air Force. For that committed dedication, he’s been court-martialed, dismissed from the military, and is now a federally convicted felon as well. Manago’s predicament started after he complained to his superiors about the way a mission was being executed and the way he was treated.

Manago was terminated from the Air Force because he showed up SIX minutes late to a meeting he had requested with his commander. He wanted to discuss his concerns about the way he was being unfairly treated by his supervisors at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

When the military judge handed down his decision, Manago said, “When he said I was guilty, it didn’t hit me until after I sat down and thought about it: I am a felon for being six minutes late to a meeting I requested, that was about wrongdoing. Something is wrong.

Even without being court-martialed, Manago would’ve still been dismissed from the Air Force because his commander had demoted him and under Air Force rules, he was above the age to be a senior airman. He will receive an honorable discharged from the Air Force but now bears the stigma of being a convicted felon.

According to Manago’s attorney, Douglas Cody, “It was not about punctuality. It was about this commander sending a message to Mario and punishing him for complaining.” Manago had also sought to get protection under the federal whistleblower’s law but his complaint was dismissed by the base’s Inspector General.

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The base’s spokesman, Shaun Eagan, said Manago’s claims of being treated vindictively were fully investigated and found to be unsubstantiated. He did however confirmed that Manago was convicted for being six minutes late to the meeting.

Manago was late to the meeting because he was unable to abandon his post elsewhere on the base. While being optimistic and saying he doesn’t believe race played a major role in him being court-martialed, Manago did note that there was a recent study done by Protect Our Defenders that showed Blacks in the Air Force were 71% more likely to face military charges.

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4 comments

Chris June 23, 2017 at 11:46 am

A couple things here. First off, he’s not an officer. He was a Staff Sergeant (E-5) that recieved a reduction in grade to Senior Airman (E-4) for non-judicial punishment. After twelve years in service, being an E-4 is automatic means for separation under high-year tenure. As such he is receiving a $36,000 severence, VA benefits and the Post 911 GI Bill.

Second, I know and work with many people that have worked with him previously. His paper trail is staggering and he is known to be confrontational and unprofessional. His supervision is also comprised of mostly minorities. So there’s that as well.

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Curtis January 15, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Chris, do you know what your talking about because you’re wrong from the first sentence? He is a non commissioned officer(nco). A co is commissioned and a nco is not. I was in the. military.

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Tshomba Harrison July 8, 2019 at 11:27 am

As a former military man reading the comments from Chris, if these comments are based on facts then to a large degree the military acted appropriately, but a court martial seems a bit overwhelming, that’s like using a cannon to kill a mosquito. Once he was demoted he was going to be discharged anyway. His status as a felon will prove to be a big hurdle in life. He gave 12 years of his life to the Air Force that’s a considerable investment and it didn’t work out, and that’s the case for a lot of people. He should be able to move on with his life unencumbered with such a heavy burden.

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Melinda Franklin October 3, 2019 at 7:27 am

Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t he have first been given the opportunity to sign an article 15 or face a court martial. Is it possible he thought he could beat it by facing a court martial rather than accepting the article 15?

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