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Special operations pilot charged with raping senior airman while deployed

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A lieutenant colonel with the 919th Special Operations Group at Duke Field, Florida, has been accused of raping a senior airman while deployed to Uganda and will face a court-martial in May.

Lt. Col. Michael B. Black, a C-145A instructor pilot and combat aviation adviser with the Air Force Reserve, has been charged with three specifications of violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which forbids sexual assault.

Lt. Col. James Wilson, a spokesman for the 919th Special Operations Wing, said Black declined to comment. The general court-martial will be held at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida beginning May 6.

“Any allegations of sexual assault are taken seriously by leaders at all level[s] in our unit,” according to a statement from the wing, provided by Wilson. “As with any case that is pending trial, the member is considered innocent until proven guilty.”

According to the charge sheet in the case, provided by Eglin at Air Force Times’ request, Black allegedly raped the senior airman once on or around April 28 or 29, 2017, and again sometime between May 1 and May 3, 2017. Another specification alleges Black digitally penetrated the senior airman without her consent on or around April 28 or 29, 2017.

Andy Bourland, a spokesman for the 96th Test Wing at Eglin, said Black was deployed to Entebbe, Uganda, in support of U.S. Africa Command at the time.

Black has been a member of the 919th Special Operations Wing since May 2000, the wing said.

A combat aviation adviser works with ground-based special operations force advisers to conduct special operations activities “by, with and through” foreign aviation forces, the 919th SOW said in a statement.

Black “is performing duties in support of the 919 SOW’s global mission and will continue to do so until his trial begins,” the 919th said.

A 2016 story posted on the 919th SOW’s website said Black was an enlisted loadmaster before earning his commission and becoming a C-145A pilot.

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