Sponsored by:
Monday, April 20, 2009

Maxwell JAG working in Iraq

Caught this story on Air Force Link about a Maxwell airman in Iraq:

by Staff Sgt. Tim Beckham
U.S. Air Forces Central, Baghdad Media Outreach Team

4/20/2009 - CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- At home stations many Air Force attorneys spend their days providing legal counsel and preparing legal documents, but for one Air Force captain being deployed means serving in a unique legal position.

Capt. Sophia Crawford, Multi-National Force-Iraq Office of the Staff Judge Advocate; Detention, Judicial and Legal Policy attorney, provides a service that she would normally never get to do outside the country of Iraq, as she is the U.S. legal representative that provides feedback on how the Iraq detention facilities perform with regard to legal issues.

"I specifically work in detention operations, so everything that has to with a detainee or anything potentially relating to a detainee is what I do," said Captain Crawford, who is deployed from Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala. "This could range from detainee deaths to detainee imagery. We also deal with interrogation procedures and provide legal reviews and advice to the MNF-I commanding general."

Captain Crawford said working in the Area of Responsibility is unique because she has to work from three different sides of the law.

"Just learning all the law has been a challenge, I mean we must have the appropriate authority to detain someone and authority to question someone, which has changed dramatically since the implementation of the Security Agreement post 1 Jan 09. It's a big realm of law, not only do we use United States law, but we use international law and abide by Iraqi law," said the Dallas native. "We have to coordinate and make sure we operate within all three, it's a lot of coordination with Iraq."

Air Force attorneys are compelled to view cases objectively and doing what is in the best interest of the United States.

"I am a JAG who represents the United States and it's my job to advocate for the commander. I'm also a prosecutor and it's my responsibility to make sure people are operating within the law," she said. "No matter who you are, you have to realize that detainees have rights."

The 30-person MNF-I legal team is a total force concept with Reserve and active-duty attorneys ranging from O-3s to O-6s in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and even the Australian army colonel is represented here.

"Air Force captains usually don't get to practice law in the AOR, it is a great opportunity to learn the different terms and practices they (co-workers) use," said Captain Crawford. "I have just learned so much, I am the junior ranking officer, so everyone is a mentor to me. It has been a great experience from the officer standpoint as well as a JAG."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

My Photo

I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 

As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]