Cause and Effect: The story of my court-martial

  • Published
  • By Airman Basic Jarrel Morris
  • 23rd Wing
This is a true tale of cause and effect, a spectacle of personal suffering and emotional decisions. I recently received a court-martial Dec. 29, 2010, after pleading guilty to the use of cocaine.

I am Airman Basic Jarrel Morris and was formerly a senior airman until I pled guilty under Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for the use of a controlled substance.

Hopefully, by sharing my story, I can help fellow Airmen make the right decision instead of taking an easy route.

I came to Moody Air Force Base Aug. 3, 2009, from Eglin AFB. Eglin was my first base and I was there for 18 months. The 33rd Maintenance Group was drawing down for the arrival of the F-35 Lightening II joint strike fighter. Almost all personnel were to be displaced to another Air Combat Command base. A friend and I received orders to Moody.

Moody was a totally different base than Eglin. Here, we were responsible for becoming efficient on three different aircraft the HC-130, HH-60 Pave Hawk and A-10 Thunderbolt II. At Eglin I could be thoroughly engrossed with learning the F-15 Eagle.

Although I was flustered in the beginning, I became proficient on all three airframes through hard work and dedication. In January 2010, I was tasked to be deployed to the Horn of Africa with the C-130s. Following my deployment, I received the usual two weeks of rest and recuperation and then took leave for 29 days. During my last few days of leave is when I made the reckless decision to use cocaine.

The former paragraph has background information for the tumultuous months that led to my final days in the Air Force. Even before entering the Air Force, I knew I had personal issues that would hinder my natural progression as a person, but I believed I would be able to focus on my job and serving.

At Eglin, everything was fine as I loved my shop, working with the F-15 and had a core group of friends who knew of my personal issues and did not care. I had people to talk to when needed and I could also go home on leave where I could talk to people I had known my entire life. They could always remind me to keep my eye on the ball and to lift my spirits until my next time visiting.

Coming to Moody, I did not have the same support system that I had built for myself at Eglin. I had kept to myself and kept fellow coworkers at a distance. I did not entrust my life to anyone and only my fellow coworker from Eglin knew of my personal issues.

My deployment was fine, but coming back I knew that everything was not right. Instead of trying to talk to someone, I kept to myself as usual and went on leave to Pennsylvania. While on leave, I caught up with my friends, who I had not seen or spoken to before I had left for Africa.

I had a good time, but I still did not deal with my feelings of loneliness. I went to a party the night before I left. During this party, I was offered cocaine and ended up using it by the end of the night. I had hoped it would take my mind off of what I was going through, but it just made everything worse, immediately and in the long term.

On my return from leave, I was ordered for a urinalysis, which came back positive as I knew it would. From there I spoke to the Office of Special Investigations and gave a statement and a special court-martial was ordered.

I received my court-martial on Dec. 29, 2010. My punishment was 60 days confinement, reduction of rank to airman basic, and two-thirds forfeiture of my base pay.

As of this time of writing, I am currently anticipating orders for a less than honorable administrative discharge.

Nothing is worth one's Air Force career. We all have personal issues that we have or are dealing with. I decided to be stubborn, which led me to an irrational emotional response. It is definitely not worth it. My decisions led to my downfall. The court-martial for drug use is my scarlet letter that I have to wear for the rest of my life.