Col. Mark Sojourner was removed from his command at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California two days ago after an investigation into an alleged affair with a female reservist. Authorities say he sent “inappropriate” pictures to his paramour, Alice Conner, who is also being investigated by the military.
U-T San Diego Watchdog is said to have uncovered dozens of incriminating emails and photographs of Col. Sojourner and Marine Reservist Conner who was a former subordinate to Sojourner when he was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany.
The affair between Sojourner and Conner goes back as far as 2012, and from obtained correspondence, seems to have lasted until the early part of 2014. It is unclear how the publication in San Diego was able to obtain the emails and naked pictures of the two military lovers.
Fraternization between enlisted personnel and officers is forbidden by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is the foundation of military law. Adultery is listed as conduct unbecoming an officer. Affairs inevitably compromise the integrity of the command structure; officers should never be in a compromised position.
Col. Sojourner is married and currently lives in Oceanside, California. No rank, marital status or home state has been indicated for Ms. Conner.
Until his removal from office, Col. Sojourner was one of the top officials in charge of finding and quashing misconduct by enlistees and officers at Miramar. U-T Watchdog writes, “The military source said allegations of adultery or fraternization typically are investigated at the local Inspector General’s level but that is not possible in this case.” It is not known if Col. Sojourner’s case will go as far as the Pentagon.
The investigation could take weeks or months depending on several factors including cooperation, or lack of, by Alice Conner. If the investigation should lead to a court martial, Col. Sojourner could face reduction in rank and discharge from the Marines.
Sojourner is the former commander of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 and previously worked for U.S. Africa Command.
The news about military officers being caught with their pants down seems to come in waves. Marine Col. Mark Sojourner is just the latest casualty of widespread military sexual misconduct. He committed a career-ending indiscretion; he wasn’t the first, he won’t be the last, and the next one will be just around the corner.
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