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Getting too personal: Givens, Wooton, Uhrich

Jun. 23, 2014 - 12:22PM   |  
Brig. Gen. Robert Givens, Brig. Gen. Kevin Wooton and Brig. Gen. David Uhrich
Brig. Gen. Robert Givens, Brig. Gen. Kevin Wooton and Brig. Gen. David Uhrich (Air Force)
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While serving as inspector general of Air Combat Command, Brig. Gen. Robert Givens traded explicit private Facebook messages with a fellow officer’s wife for more than a year, the Air Force inspector general found.

“I’ve considered Gen. Givens a friend and a colleague for … almost 19 years,” the woman’s husband told the IG investigator after discovering the messages. “He is in a position where he will have to investigate or may investigate other potential actions like this by other people. The hypocrisy of that flies right in the face of everything that our core values stand for in the United States Air Force.”

Givens was one of three general officers cited by the IG for inappropriate relationships, according to reports concluded between September 2012 and October 2013.

Only Givens is no longer in the Air Force.

Brig. Gen. Kevin Wooton had an affair of an “enduring nature” with a woman who worked for a computer desktop services contractor for the Air Force while he was serving as commander of the 67th Network Warfare Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. He was issued a letter of reprimand and went on to serve as director of communications and information for Air Force Space Command.

Brig. Gen. David Uhrich had a romantic relationship with a waitress while married and serving as the president of the 2013 senior master sergeant promotion board. He was verbally counseled and now works as director of communications for Air Combat Command.

Givens received a letter of reprimand for having an inappropriate relationship with the fellow officer’s wife while he himself was married. He retired as a colonel in September, two years after pinning on his first star.

Givens and Wooton tried to conceal their ongoing relationships with the women, the IG found. Both men set up email accounts using a combination of initials and middle names or birth dates.

The officer’s wife with whom Givens was involved checked her email at the local library to avoid detection, and the two arranged phone calls for times their spouses would be out.

The officer’s wife asked her husband for a divorce a few months after she and Givens began exchanging messages in September 2010, although they never legally separated, the IG said.

The officer’s wife and Givens continued “an increasingly explicit and intimate exchange regarding their plans for when they see each other, indicating an impending sexual encounter” the following January, according to the report. The IG concluded the relationship never turned physical, however.

Their correspondence spanned nearly two years, ending in July 2012 after the officer discovered the private Facebook messages.

When questioned by the IG, Givens did not deny the long-term email exchange with the officer’s wife. He said the correspondence had begun during a stressful time in his life. The attention she showed him flattered and excited him, Givens told the investigator. When they finally met in person, he said, Givens told the woman he “needed us to take a step back.”

Givens told the IG he was “not proud of the things we wrote to each other over the internet” and was “ashamed of the email contact and the level to which I let it get.”

Involvement with contractor

The IG got wind of Wooton’s affair through an anonymous complainant who stated “the only goal for filing this IG complaint is to stop the relationship,” according to the report.

Wooton met the woman — an employee for a major Air Force contractor for computer desktop services — while commanding the 67th Network Warfare Wing from July 2010 to July 2012. They met once or twice a month to discuss business, the investigator said.

As the Air Force approval authority for systems connecting to the Air Force network, Wooton’s relationship with the woman “brings into question the motivation for the decisions he makes,” the IG said.

The investigation “discovered no evidence of any contractual improprieties on the part of Brig. Gen. Wooton due to his relationship,” the report concluded.

“Given his rank, stature, marital status, official duty position, and the length of the relationship he maintained … Brig. Gen. Wooton’s conduct disgraced him personally and seriously compromised his standing as an officer,” the IG wrote in substantiating an allegation of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.

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