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Fighter Pilot ‘Steals’ an F-16 to Go on a Date. Now He’s Not a Fighter Pilot

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A report alleges that Col. Thomas Jackman, a fighter pilot, was removed from command after he used an F-16 to visit a girlfriend, leaving the state with the aircraft during a storm. Jackman reportedly exchanged flirtatious emails with a female Army colonel, who was not identified, and disguised the tryst as a work trip.

The incident took place in January 2015, according to a report by the Air Force Times, though was only recently reported by VTDigger in an investigative series focused on allegations regarding male Vermont Air Guard officials and the mistreatment of women, abuse of alcohol, and receiving preferential treatment.

Jackman was the head of the Vermont Air National Guard at the time and took an F-16 under false pretenses to visit his girlfriend in Washington DC.

He hid the rendezvous by claiming it was a work trip, using his authority as the commander of the 158th Fighter Wing as a means of securing the F-16 for the journey. Jackman flew to a base near the Pentagon, potentially Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, taking off as a snowstorm barreled down on Burlington, Vermont and most of the East Coast.

Leadership at the National Guard caught wind of Jackman’s joyride. They ordered that he return on a commercial flight.

He was quietly removed from his position and forced into retirement, receiving full benefits and being allowed to retain his security clearance.

Jackman later claimed that he was not involved with the female Army officer, though declined to comment on whether the trip in the F-16 lead to his retirement.

Vermont National Guard spokesman Army 1st Lt. Mike Arcovitch also declined to comment, stating that the Guard is unable to speak regarding personnel matters.