Marine Fighter Pilot Charged with Stealing $440K

In the initial stages of both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US used (and often still uses today) large quantities of cash for a variety of purposes, from paying for reconstruction to compensating local nationals.

A Marine F-5 fighter pilot now stands accused of stealing $440,000 of reconstruction funds while he was a project purchasing officer with a civil affairs group in Iraq.  For a point of reference, a Major in the US military makes approximately $70,000 per year in base pay before taxes.

Regardless of the outcome of this particular case, it stands as a stark reminder that there are many ethical temptations in the US military; many of those temptations are unimaginable by many when they first join the military.  In this example, how many people expect to have millions of dollars in cash literally flow through their fingers while deployed in a war zone?

As noted here often, there are sometimes challenges to upholding ethics in the US military.  The difficulties, however, do not excuse the decision to make an unethical choice.