Sunday, 3 February 2013
Daryl Jones, Who Was Prevented -- Just -- From Becoming Secretary Of The Air Force

Two Articles On Daryl Jones, Whom Bill Clinton Nominated In 1998 To Be Secretary Of The Air Force, But Who Was Rejected By The Republicans


Air Force Nominee Defends Self Critics Say Clinton's Pick For The Secretary's Job Lied. Backers Praised Him.


WASHINGTON — Florida State Sen. Daryl Jones, President Clinton's nominee for secretary of the Air Force, fought to defend his reputation yesterday as former aviator colleagues testified that he had repeatedly lied to Congress during his first confirmation hearing.

Jones' former superior at Homestead Air Force Base told senators he had ordered Jones to stop flying; Jones said he stopped voluntarily. Another airman asserted that Jones had improperly used his rank to peddle Amway products, and a third contended that he so distrusted Jones, he retired from the Air Force once he learned of the nomination.

Jones, 43, remained calm, sitting erect and impassive during the hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, as one panel of Air Force colleagues branded him a liar and a second group praised him as uniquely qualified to become the first African American to lead the Air Force.

He denied that he had sought to mislead senators or had broken Air Force rules.

``It takes years and years to build a reputation, and just a moment to tear it apart,'' said Jones, nominated in October to succeed Sheila Widnall, who resigned. ``If a reputation is something one can possess, then my most prized possession is my reputation.''

Sen. John W. Warner (R., Va.) a leading voice on defense issues, countered that the hearing was not a trial. But Warner confessed he was so troubled by discrepancies in Jones' accounts that he had ``taken this case to heart as seriously as anything I have ever done in the Senate.''

Sen. James M. Inhofe (R., Okla.) was more blunt. ``Mr. Jones has an insatiable appetite to say things that are not true,'' he said.

Despite the acrimony, the odds appeared slightly in Jones' favor as the committee chairman, Sen. Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.), reiterated his support for the nominee, apparently creating a 10-8 majority if all Democrats back Jones. No confirmation vote has been scheduled.

Moreover, a number of prominent Air Force leaders spoke enthusiastically of Jones. His onetime superior in the Air Force Reserve, retired Brig. Gen. James Turner, praised Jones' efforts in the state Senate to keep the Homestead base open after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Another colleague at the base, Lt. Col. Thomas Sawner, said Jones so consistently won the award as best instructor from recruits that officers considered retiring the prize.

Both friends and critics portrayed Jones as an ambitious man who had been overextended with as many as four jobs at once: Air Force Reserve pilot, private attorney, investment banker and state senator. But while his backers said Jones managed the load brilliantly in the name of public service, his critics questioned whether he had taken shortcuts and been careless with the truth.

Critics homed in on several points:

* Did Jones lie when he told the committee in June that he had decided to stop flying fighter jets in 1991 voluntarily?

Jones' immediate superior at the time, Col. Thomas Dyches, said that he stripped Jones of his flying status on Aug. 6, 1991, and that Jones had vowed to fight the decision. Dyches said he made the call after Jones failed to train sufficiently and had been involved in two ``tail-scrapings'' the same day, poor landings that caused thousands of dollars in damage to an F-16.

``Sadly, I must tell you he misrepresented the facts to you and to the American people,'' Dyches testified.

Maj. Allan Estis, who flew with Jones on many sorties, said Jones was an erratic flier. Estis said he retired from the Reserve when he learned of Jones' nomination.

Jones countered that Dyches had given him time to make the decision for himself. Three days later, Jones announced to the squadron that he would no longer be a pilot.

* Jones overstated the number of hours he had flown, telling the Senate he had logged at least 2,000 hours. The actual number was either 1,184, as Inhofe asserted, or 1,399, as Jones contended yesterday.

* Jones denied again yesterday that he had ever tried to sell Amway products to subordinates in the Air Force, a breach of regulations. Maj. Thomas Massey, a fellow reservist, said that he witnessed Jones doing just that, and that an enlisted man ``asked if we could `get Captain Jones off our backs.' ''



Panel Rejects Clinton's Pick For Air Force A 9-9 Vote Sank The Nomination. Republicans Said Daryl Jones Failed To Answer Concerns On His Record.

July 23, 1998|By Carol Rosenberg, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU 

WASHINGTON — In an embarrassing defeat for President Clinton, the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday rejected the nomination of Daryl Jones as Air Force secretary amid accusations that Jones had lied about his flight record and pressured subordinates into buying household products.

Clinton made eleventh-hour calls to try to save his candidate, but the nomination died on a 9-9 vote.

Clinton said he was ``deeply disappointed'' by the Senate committee's action and defended Jones as ``a good, decent, able man.''

``He was an outstanding candidate for this position, and he deserved the opportunity to be considered by the full Senate,'' Clinton said. ``I thank Mr. Jones for his willingness to serve his country. I am confident that he will continue to make vital contributions to Florida and to our nation.''

Jones, who would have become the first black Air Force secretary, had denied the allegations. After the meeting, he said: ``I hope what I've gone through doesn't keep high-quality people from wanting to hold appointive office. . . . It's an honor to serve.''

Chairman Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.) was the only one of the Armed Services Committee's 10 Republicans to support Jones. ``I do not believe that anyone has been able to prove that Mr. Jones knowingly sought to misrepresent his credentials, to defraud the government, or to mislead this committee,'' Thurmond said.

All eight Democrats and Thurmond voted for the motion; the remaining nine Republicans opposed it.

It was a motion by Robert C. Byrd (D., W.Va.) to send the nomination to the Senate floor without a recommendation - and to let the full Senate thrash it out - that produced the 9-9 vote. A majority was needed for passage of the motion.

Controversy surrounded Jones almost from the moment Clinton chose him in October, hailing the lawyer-politician as a former F-16 pilot with intimate knowledge of the Air Force.

On paper, Jones, 43, had impressive credentials: an Air Force Academy graduate, a fighter pilot, a successful lawyer and businessman, and a state lawmaker.

But former pilots complained about Jones' service record. They said he did not take criticism well and misrepresented his career.

At a nine-hour hearing last week, airmen testified that as an Air Force Reserve pilot, Jones flew the wrong way while coming in for a landing and damaged his aircraft by scraping the plane's tail on four occasions.

Posted on 02/03/2013 9:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
No comments yet.