Court Denies Schwalier A Second Star

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Terryl Schwalier, who commanded the 4404th Wing (Provisional) at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, at the time of the terrorist attack on Khobar Towers in 1996, cannot challenge the Clinton Administration-era ruling to pass him over for promotion, according to a Jan. 8 ruling from the US Court of Appeals fir the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. Schwalier and his allies have long claimed the decision made him a scapegoat for the attack, and that he had actually improved defenses at the facility prior to the attack. Schwalier was first approved for promotion in 1995, with the Senate confirming the nomination in March 1996. In the aftermath of the June 1996 attack, then Secretary of Defense William Cohen recommended Clinton remove Schwalier’s name from the promotions list—forcing his retirement in 1997. In 2003, Schwalier filed an application to retroactively correct the record, arguing his promotion was a matter of law, and sought to have records corrected. While the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records agreed with his case, the Court argued the retroactive promotion would allow Congress to “compel the President to appoint senior officers of the United States,” and that Presidential approval is required for a promotion to be finalized, not just a Senate vote. See also Air Force Magazine‘s previous reporting on the case. (Appeals court decision.)