Reversing the Schwalier Injustice:

The Air Force, in a major action, has officially reversed the 1997 DOD “verdict” against Terryl J. Schwalier, restoring his contested second star after a 10-year struggle. USAF today confirmed the action. According to independent sources, an Air Force Review Board recently reached the decision, noting that Schwalier had suffered “an injustice.” Further, said the sources, the Air Force soon afterward issued an official order implementing the review board’s decision. It is, in a sense, an exoneration of Schwalier, a USAF brigadier who had been scapegoated by the Clinton Administration and some members of Congress for alleged command failures in the 1996 terrorist bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. The blast killed 19 airmen and wounded hundreds more. Though the Senate had confirmed Schwalier’s promotion to major general before the attack, and though critics produced no credible evidence of fault on the part of Schwalier, Secretary of Defense William Cohen in July 1997 stripped him of the second star, alleging the he “could have and should have done more” to defend the Khobar complex. Cohen’s action was widely viewed as an attempt to mollify political critics on Capitol Hill. Schwalier suffered another reverse in 2005, when Pentagon lawyers thwarted an earlier board reversal. AFA has long viewed Cohen’s 1997 action as an injustice, and has issued a statement about the matter. The service has already changed the general’s official biography to reflect the new situation, giving his new grade, promotion date, and retirement date.