GENERAL IN CHARGE OF CONNECTICUT
NATIONAL GUARD ASKS TO “RETIRE”
AFTER DOD INVESTIGATION REVEALS
“IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP” WITH
FEMALE NCO – WILLIAM CUGNO SAID
TO HAVE GIVEN “PREFERENTIAL
TREATMENT” TO M/SGT KRISTINE SHAW
WILL GENERAL’S ALLEGED “GAL PAL”
ESCAPE DISCIPLINARY ACTION?

So what else is new? The top general in a state national guard has been accused of having an affair with a female enlisted person under his command.

We thought this was one of the “perks” of the job, as so many adjutant generals regularly “exercise” their perquisite to enjoy a girlfriend or two on the side, knowing full well, in most cases they will get away with it.

But a “sexy e-mail” sent Maj. Gen. William Cugno, one-time “boss” of the Connecticut National Guard, by his alleged “gal pal” led to his undoing, informed sources say.

RETIREMENT WITHOUT LOSS OF RANK OR PENSION?

Cugno has asked Gov. Jodi Rell to allow him to retire in the wake of a DOD investigative report that nailed the brass hat for “improperly giving preferential treatment to a female subordinate; improperly engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate,” and using “government resources” in violation of regulations.

The probe was launched after complaints from within the Command that Master Sgt. Kristine Shaw was getting a bit too cozy with her top boss. In fact, some in the Conn. Guard were alleging she was a lot more than just “close friends” with the flag officer.

Shaw got in a jam when a sexy e-mail she wrote to Cugno surfaced. But in the tradition of the school boy who told the teacher his dog “ate the homework,” Shaw maintained the erotic message was innocent – just a trick the sarge was using to “smoke out” people whom she indignantly maintained were tampering with her correspondence and privacy.

The 38 year-old personnel administrator at Air National Guard headquarters in the Nutmeg State did acknowledge to investigators she did some chores for Cugno “beyond her duties,” such as travelling with the general and assisting him in a myriad of ways.

Morale was so badly affected by the perceived “relationship” that it was only a matter of time before the scandal leaked to the news media and Guard authorities.

IT’S UP TO THE GOVERNOR, NOW

Now observers are watching closely to see what position Gov. Rell takes in this matter. Will she do what most governors do and “look the other way” when a top Guard general gets in trouble, or will she bite the bullet and fire Cugno?

The court-martial of a flag officer would be strong tonic to the troops if Cugno’s pension and rank were placed at risk. Frankly, the spooks don’t have enough on him to get him busted to that extent, so probably the general will soon be seen on the golf links, enjoying a premature retirement.

Oh well, it sure beats a cell at Leavenworth. And no general has gone there, or is about to in the near future. Generals get to send enlisted people and junior officers to jail, not the other way around!

Another ranking officer caught up in the mess is Brig. Gen. Ireneusz J. Zembruski, Cugno’s top deputy, who’d like to “retire” come October. The investigative report revealed the one-star “failed to take appropriate action” despite knowledge of the Cugno-Shaw “relationship.”

That’s a long time to stay “on the payroll” after you’ve been fingered for wrongdoing, so let’s watch to see if the old axiom “different spanks for different ranks” applies in this case. As it has in so many others.