This story was updated Oct. 6 at 10:10 a.m. to include new information about the defendant and his legal counsel.

An enlisted airman accused of attacking his fellow service members at a U.S. military outpost in Syria in April will face court-martial next year, the Air Force said Tuesday.

Tech. Sgt. David Dezwaan, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 15 years of service, is charged with three violations of military code: destruction of military property, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault. His trial is slated to run from March 6-16 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

An active duty member of Hill’s 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, Dezwaan is accused of making and detonating bombs at Green Village, a small U.S. military base in northern Syria. He was deployed there as an explosives specialist after serving as his squadron’s noncommissioned officer in charge of EOD equipment.

Four service members who were injured in the blasts — one of whom was Dezwaan — were treated for traumatic brain injuries. They returned to work later in April.

The Air Force has not answered how long Dezwaan had been in Syria at the time of the attack. About 900 U.S. personnel remain in Syria to advise and assist the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting government troops in the country’s civil war.

The airman was placed in pretrial confinement following his arrest in the U.S. on June 16.

Dezwaan faced a preliminary hearing on Aug. 23 at Hill; arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 11. The judge will hear motions in the case in October and February.

Two other charges of failure to protect classified information and unauthorized access of a government computer were dismissed, the Air Force said.

Col. Matthew Stoffel will serve as military judge in the proceedings, according to the Air Force legal docket. Maj. Jasmine Prokscha will prosecute the government’s case as trial counsel, and two airmen will serve as Dezwaan’s defense counsel: Capt. Luke Gilhooly and Capt. Nathan Wiebenga.

The Virginia-based legal firm Cave & Freeburg is representing Dezwaan as civilian counsel.

Dezwaan enlisted in 2007 and has received the Joint Service Achievement Medal as well as multiple service-level awards, according to the Air Force Personnel Center. He earned the Air Force Combat Action Medal for engaging in a firefight with enemy fighters while deployed with the Marine Corps to Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2009.

“As in all military justice cases, the accused is presumed innocent until or unless found otherwise by competent legal authority,” the Air Force said.

Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.

In Other News
Load More