STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED TO
© 2006 MilitaryCorruption.com
"This is an absolute public relations disaster," moaned an Air Force PAO and regular source for MilitaryCorruption.com. The officer, whom we obviously are not going to identify and thus expose to retaliation from the brass, predicted "things are only going to get worse as details of this story trickle out."
We're not alone in reporting trouble with Maj. Jill Metzger's bizarre tale of her three day "abduction" in far-away Kyrgyzstan. ABC NEWS confirms their Air Force contacts admit "many inconsistencies" in the female officer's account - a story that rivals "the dog ate my homework."
And now the Department of Justice - the FBI - have entered the case. They've launched a "criminal investigation." We've even heard rumbles that Russian counter-intelligence agents may have crossed paths with the missing major during her disappearance from her job as chief personnel officer at Manas AFB.
LOCAL MEDIA SAY "ABDUCTION" REALLY SEEKING AN ABORTION
But reports from local media in Kyrgyzstan saying Metzger was really seeking an abortion have been broadcast. For what it's worth, this is what a television station there claims happened:
A taxi-driver said he took Metzger to the Issyk Ata District Medical Clinic in Kant (near where the major turned up after allegedly "escaping" to a Kyrgyzs citizen's home), claiming she had fled from captors after "overpowering" a guard. The facility is located at the junction of Togolok-Moldo and Kievskaya Streets.
In a weird twist, Metzger's hair was chopped short and dyed brown. Was that to disguise her unusual light hair in the Central Asian Republic, perhaps? Dye was found on the officer's hands. The 90-pound, petite major told investigators she'd escaped her "captors" when she subdued a guard - no mention if he was armed - when he brought her food.
MARATHON RUNNER, AIR FORCE POSTER GIRL, A NEWLYWED
Metzger, 33, married her 26 year-old husband, the handsome Capt. Josh Mayo, on April 8, 2006. But the hard-charging and very slender marathon-runner had little time to be with her hubby - it was the first marriage for both - prior to shipping out for a four-month deployment overseas.
Initial reports said Metzger was just three days from rotating back to the States, where we are told, she and her newlywed husband - they met when she practiced with the men's soccer team at Ramstein AFB Germany - were going to celebrate their "honeymoon" in Jamacia. Now those plans are obviously up in the air.
An Air Force spokesman, Capt. Dunstan Hart, told STARS & STRIPES in late September "Maj. Metzger is on leave with her family and plans to be back on duty sometime in early October. We don't have an exact time yet."
Don't look for the major to return to service anytime soon, and count on this. The Air Force (as well as the Feds) want to keep their onetime poster girl from being quizzed by pesky reporters. In a cryptic statement issued when Metzger was reunited with her parents at Moody AFB in Georgia, the officer asked for her "privacy" to be respected, but uttered no relief at her return to freedom. Why is that?
FATHER, RETIRED USAF LTC, SAYS DAUGHTER "BEATEN UP, ABDUCTED"
Her dad, retired Air Force Lt. Col. John Metzger, says his daughter was "definitely kidnapped and abducted." He labeled any other speculation as "just a bunch of bogus junk." The colonel reported his daughter was "tortured to some degree" and "beaten up."
Metzger told AIR FORCE TIMES "(Jill) had a rope put around her neck, her face was black and blue." The colonel reported his daughter ran for seven hours through the countryside - "some 30 to 40 miles" before "arriving at a farmhouse in the town of Kant." It was from there, that the local cops were alerted and Maj. Metzger returned to Air Force control.
But as we reported earlier, Kemilbek Kiyazov, chief of the Shuysic Region Police Dept. said Metzger's story "just doesn't add up."
He said many "contradictions" and bizarre claims made by the young major caused him to doubt the abduction story from the start. For example, Kiyazov said Metzger claimed she'd been robbed of a necklace by her kidnappers but failed to explain why they hadn't touched the expensive wedding ring she was still wearing on her finger.
The investigator also told us security cameras in the large department store in Bishkek showed Metzger calmly walking alone from the building at around 4:18 p.m. Tuesday, September 5. There wasn't any "sign or indication she was in any trouble," the cop said.
Informed sources tell MilitaryCorruption.com there was no "ransom note" issued after the major disappeared, highly unusual if we are to believe the female officer was really "grabbed up" by three men and a female and taken to a hiding place.
"DON'T TALK TO THE MEDIA," MANAS AFB PERSONNEL WARNED
What does the Air Force personnel at Manas AFB think of this fiasco? They've been ordered to stay on base, keep their mouths shut, and by all means, NOT to contact the media. For example, e-mailing MilitaryCorruption.com from Manas AFB could result in "very serious consequences."
Fortunately, there are other ways to find out the truth. We will say, for the benefit of those at Manas and elsewhere, we have not solicited or received intel from anyone "on base." Technically speaking. The Internet and e-mail does extend into Kyrgyzstan. And we, of course, have regular readers there. There is a fairly sizeable "ex-pat" population off post.
So the FBI won't demand our hard-drive, we voluntarily state that no communications, repeat, none that could possibly be a violation of "national security" have been made. MCC will not accept any communication that could be deemed as such. We support our country and will do nothing that weakens our defenses.
FRIEND AND FOE OF METZGER WEIGH IN ON CONTROVERSY
Despite the tight lid, word does get out from certain quarters. For example, Maj. Metzger was well-known at Ramstein AFB in Germany. One writer says: "I have met Jill Metzger more than a few times, since she was working with my husband in Germany. She was engaged at the time and happy as she could be. Jill is a sweetheart. We're all happy she is alive!"
But Helen Shepard, who wishes to use her name, has a different view: "I had the displeasure of knowing Jill Metzger while stationed in Ramstein, Germany. . . I knew her as ruthless and unsympathetic to those with a personal life. I could hardly believe it when I heard what happened to her, and I could only think to myself 'what goes around, comes around.' Jill, if you are reading this - you know exactly what I am talking about."
What you are about to read next, was posted on the Internet by someone purporting to be an Air Force field grade officer. It's comments are very harsh, and may be inaccurate or "dead on." We don't know. But we reproduce them here as a protest against "political correctness" and an example of our willingness to present all sides of an issue.
"I've been stationed (at) Manas Air Base and have been to the Tsum Market (from where Maj. Metzger was allegedly abducted) countless times. The Kyrgyzs people are a decent people and conditions are safe. We have a huge American Ex-Pat community there.
"Ok, here's what happened. Our good major had a fling behind her husband's back while assigned to Manas and got knocked up. She wanted to have an abortion before she returned home. She sought the help of a Manas Air Base Third Country National (TCN) employee, thinking she could undergo a same-day outpatient abortion. It didn't happen as planned. She experienced complications. The doctor wouldn't release her. She panicked and faked her abduction once she realized she wouldn't make Col. Reese's stupidly imposed 2200 hours curfew. That's what happened. Period.
"She's embarrassed her nation and in the process, she has strained relations with the American Embassy in Bishkek and the Kyrgyzs Ministry of the Interior. Next time I go to Kyrgyzstan, I'll be scorned by the local population and the Ministry officials and businessmen with whom I must interact.
"Thanks, Jill Metzger. If the Air Force has any sense of integrity and honor, they'll throw the UCMJ book at her. Adultery, conduct unbecoming, unauthorized absence. Her career is over. What a dumb ass. No wonder the Air Force made her a personnel officer. She might be a champion marathoner, but she can't run away from this idiotic episode."
NO UPSIDE TO ANY OF THIS
What has happened is a tragedy for Jill Metzger, her newlywed husband, and of course, her loving parents and family members.
Unless the Air Force, FBI or both are willing to spin an even more fantastic tale than the story we've been given to date, Maj. Metzger's military career is over.
She was the classic, intensively competitive, driven super-achiever, fast-track promoted, workaholic, who, according to her husband, Capt. Mayo: "worked 12-14 hour days, seven days a week." It was inevitable that something was going to give sooner or later. And it did.
No one wins in a situation like this.
But the Air Force needs to overhaul it's PAO policies when it comes to sticky cases such as this one. It is always better to get "out in front" of a story early-on with the painful truth, than have your credibility destroyed by a clumsy cover-up.
Has "political correctness" played a role in this incident? Of course. Do you think for one moment, removing the possible "abortion" angle, that an officer or enlisted man, disappearing from duty for three days, then turning up with a story so full of holes almost no one could believe it, would be quickly "whisked away," out of Kyrgyzstan by the Air Force and handled with kid gloves? Not hardly. Any male member of the Air Force would have been confined and face court-martial.
Women have fought hard for equality in the military. Many of them have served our country valiantly - like our nurses today in Iraq and Afghanistan. We salute them all. But when there is a case of a "double-standard," like this one appears to be, those gains are eroded. That's not just our view. Female veterans and present-day women military members have communicated as much to us in the past few weeks.
MilitaryCorruption.com offers sympathy to Maj. Metzger and her family, but we ask that when the Air Force quietly retires this officer, she not go out on a 100% "disability" pension for PTSD. That would be a slap in the face to many combat veterans who genuinely deserve their benefits for wounds of both the physical and psychological kind.
We sincerely hope when this is all over, Jill Metzger will be able to "pick up the pieces" and survive what is probably the worst period of her life.
REALLY HAPPENED TO MAJ METZGER