Is one night of fun worth this?
By Airman Basic Amber Chaffey, Air Combat Command/Regional Supply Squadron
/ Published June 26, 2001
Langley Air Force Base -- I'm writing this article to inform and warn people firsthand what happened to me.
My name is Amber Chaffey, and, until recently, I was an airman 1st class. I came to Langley Air Force Base from technical school. When I first got here I made some really bad decisions.
The first weekend I was here I took ecstasy with an airman living in the dorm; the next weekend I smoked marijuana with the same airman. I knew it was wrong before, during and after I did it, but I just did it without thinking of the consequences and what it would put me through for the next six months.
The day after I smoked marijuana, I knew I should have thought before I acted, so I quit and never looked at drugs again. I didn't want my Air Force career to start like this. Three weeks later the Office of Special Investigations took me in and questioned me and I confessed. I knew my Air Force career was going down the drain, and it had just started.
Even though I knew I was getting kicked out of the service, I still ironed my uniform and shined my boots every day. I went to work with a positive attitude. Most of the people I worked with didn't know my situation until I told them months down the road.
I was always on time and learned my job to the best of my ability, regardless of not being able to start on my career development course.
Noncommissioned officers soon put more responsibilities on me, for instance, training new airmen. I trained about 10 airmen.
In court, the prosecutors argued that you're expected to do an excellent job at work. It's a known fact in the world that 80 percent of the people do 20 percent of the work and the remaining 20 percent do 80 percent of the work. This also appears in the Air Force.
Sure, you're expected to do an awesome job, but I didn't have to do all of what I did in the office. I just wanted this career so bad. I didn't care if I was getting kicked out. I still wanted to do an awesome job.
Six anguishing months passed, while I wondered what was going to happen to me. Often I cried to my fiance. I knew the career that my parents and I were so proud of was over. I didn't even tell my parents until a week before the court-martial because I felt so ashamed of myself, and I didn't want to disappoint them.
They accepted it and stood behind me.
The court-martial was Feb. 8. My dad flew in from California to testify and support me. Over the past few months, I got together 26 letters from people I worked with and had three NCOs testify for me. The court-martial was a long and grueling 12 hours. Luckily, I had the support of my fiance, dad and just about my entire office.
The jury finally decided. I was going to jail for 30 days and getting a bad conduct discharge. I went straight to the courthouse with my first sergeant and I was off to jail.
I'm writing this to ask people one question: Is one night of fun worth destroying your career and following you for the rest of your life? It's not worth it.
Jail isn't easy and trying to find a job after spending time there isn't going to be easy with a bad conduct discharge on my record.
It's just not worth it.