What the Area Defense Counsel can do for you
By 2nd Lt. Matthew Stott, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 15, 2019
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Out of all the services offered on base, you may not have heard of the Area Defense Counsel. In short, the ADC provides legal assistance to Airmen who may be in legal trouble.
Where the ADC is unique is that they are a separate chain of command and therefore confidential, so they don’t report anything to your local commander. Their sole interest is to advocate for the client, regardless of what they may have done or what they’ve been accused of. At Goodfellow Air Force Base, the ADC is Maj. David Melear.
During her time on casual status, 2nd Lt. Alexis Shaw worked under Melear as the acting defense paralegal. Assigned to Goodfellow as an Intelligence student, Shaw also had a passion for law, so getting to work with the ADC was the perfect casual job for her.
Shaw became interested in law back in high school when she had the opportunity to participate in Teen Court, a program for juveniles who don’t have a prior record and who only commit minor offenses.
“That forever piqued my interest,” Shaw said about the Teen Court program. “I knew then that I wanted to be in a courtroom. It felt natural and comfortable and became something I looked forward to week after week.”
Clients who go to the ADC will receive confidentiality, representation and assistance with writing any responses. They can assist with a variety of adverse actions, including letters of counseling, letters of reprimand, Article 15s, court martials, investigations and administrative discharges.
“I love that our office motto is to attempt to help everyone who walks through our door,” said Shaw. “Even if it is not directly in our purview, we’ll try researching something or giving overall advice.”
Shaw wants to remind Airmen of their Article 31 rights under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which afford you the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, the right to terminate an interrogation at any time and the right against self-incrimination. Shaw encourages everyone, regardless of rank, to contact the ADC if they have questions or feel they may need an attorney to represent them. There will be no judgment, and they’ll do their very best to assist in any way they can.
The ADC on Goodfellow is located in Building 504 and can be reached at 325-654-5070.