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Gurney says he was in ‘cycle of sin’

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — William C. Gurney, who once advocated for the welfare of enlisted personnel across the Air Force Materiel Command, has been reduced to the lowest possible rank and is to spend 20 months in military prison.

Gurney’s five-day court-martial ended Friday with his sentencing. His punishment included a dishonorable discharge and reduction to the rank of airman basic for his convictions on sex-related offenses involving 10 female airmen. He had held the rank of chief master sergeant.

The 27-year Air Force veteran and former AFMC command chief appeared stunned as Col. Robert Keirstead, president of the jury of six Air Force officers, read the verdict. There was a gasp from his wife, Tracie, seated in the front row.

Earlier Friday, Gurney had made a tearful, 20-minute apology to the jury, saying he regretted the embarrassment he caused the Air Force and the pain he caused his wife and two daughters, 15 and 11, who were in the courtroom.

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5 thoughts on “Gurney says he was in ‘cycle of sin’”

  1. I find it personally depressing, as a military retiree and someone who has given his entire adult life (proudly) to service in the US Army, that the national press is very “selective” in who it vilifies in its newspapers. Air Force Chief Master Sgt William Gurney deserves what he got as punishment no doubt. Then take disbarred lawyer US Army ex-Major Daniel Woolverton who recently pleaded guilty in VA court to forcible sodomy with an infant – now in prison for 37 years. This is in addition to his previous guilty plea in federal court last year where he was sentenced to 27 years in prison for filming himself raping an infant and then sharing the video with an undercover FBI agent. Google Daniel Woolverton and read everything from the FBI press release to his court conviction in Arlington County. Not only did this NOT MAKE ONE national newspaper but NOT ONE WORD was mentioned in the military-oriented and historical Stars and Stripes – plus the Army Times did its best to squelch the story until it was “shamed” into printing a diluted version. This was probably due to the fact that General Dana Chipman, the Army’s top lawyer, was allegedly personally grooming Woolverton for Army General Officer as Woolverton was fast-tracked to Lieutenant Colonel shortly before he was arrested. Moreover, Chipman also “protected” – and even promoted – Captain Matthew Fitzgerald who flagrantly lied to his Oregon State Bar after he grossly violated Army regulations for his own calculated personal gain. These stories about lawyer wrongdoing will never be printed – but then find some service member with maybe three or so combat tours who clearly gave it all for our country and who then steps out of line – and whammo, we put his picture in every major newspaper and make him a household name!

  2. Jeffrey — The story you recount is a horror. So is this one. I’m not sure if you’re mad that this one got reported (you seem to imply it with your “steps out of line” remark) or if you’re angry that the other story did not. If it is the former, then please understand that this belief that sexual crimes against women can be considered just “stepping out of line” is the problem. These are honorable soldiers who are being attacked by their own brothers-in-arms. It isn’t just stepping out of line. It is the sort of dishonor that, were it done to you, would feel very news-worthy precisely because it is such an unthinkable violation… but you may have trouble picturing yourself in that situation because you are a man. Most men do.

    The story about the rape of an infant should be reported more widely, but don’t place more value on the life of an infant than you do on the life of an adult woman. Human beings are human beings.

  3. Dear “Anonymous Dissenter” – I was not intending to downplay the story whatsoever because I know that sexual abuse (against female soldiers) is basically rampant in the current military and hardly reported. Sorry for not being able to express myself better in print. It is a criminal act what Gurney did and 100%. Behavior such as this against a woman (and maybe against a man in the future after DADT) is wrong, illegal, and should never be condoned.

  4. I can appreciate what both, J Ziegler and AD have to say but that isn’t the story. The story is CMSGT Gurney. For those that didn’t know him, he seemed clean cut and just got caught up in a seedy part of life. I’ve known this person to physically threaten those with less rank with harm when he couldn’t get his way… The airman was going by the book. Then when reported, lying like there was no such thing as the truth. Underneath, Gurney was rotted out, the rot just finally reached the surface. Had his wife not been a part of it, I’d feel bad for her. Who I do feel for is his children. This is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. And Jeffrey, I’m with you on this. I gave nearly 22 years of my life proudly serving this nation and repesenting the uniform I chose in the enlisted ranks. To highlight the failures of the enlisted and downplay those of officers is depressing. Highlights what an officer told me once: “Enlisted have a job… Officers have a career.” It takes the same dedication and commitment, no matter the rank. Subjection to the same failures is the same also. We are all human. I can’t say that is the train of thought that guides the difference in reporting but I certainly hope it isn’t. I also hope that train of thought isn’t what is prevalent among the services corp of officers.

  5. I knew Gurney when he was a back-stabbing, political, looking-out-for #1, commander-brown-nosing, E-7.

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

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