JA offers a variety of services

  • Published
  • By Maj. Pete Myers
  • Chief, Adverse Actions Division
A lot of times, as I walk through the halls here at the Air Reserve Personnel Center or step into a meeting, I hear someone say jokingly, "Uh-oh, look out, here comes the JAG." The joke is that if the JAG is coming to see you it's because something is wrong or you're in some sort of trouble. 

What a lot of people don't realize is that there is a lot that the JAG can do to help you out. 

The legal office at ARPC is unlike most legal offices. First, we are small with a staff of only five people -- four attorneys and one paralegal. Small numbers don't mean small experience, though. 

Collectively, our attorneys have more than 95 years of experience practicing law, an average of more than 23 years each -- nearly double the experience level of each of the other base legal offices on the Front Range. 

Col. Mark Teskey, our Staff Judge Advocate, is in his fourth tour as an SJA. 

Lt. Col. Brian Bourne, the deputy Staff Judge Advocate has been a JAG for 22 years. As chief circuit trial counsel for the Pacific, he has tried more than 75 cases. 

I spent eight years litigating in private practice before joining the Air Force. 

Mr. Gary Brown, our civilian attorney, is a former federal magistrate and a retired lieutenant colonel who spent eight years as the SJA of the Colorado Army National Guard. 

Tech. Sgt. Lee Feldhausen was a heavy equipment operator, or a "dirt boy" as he likes to phrase it, before cross-training to become a paralegal in 2001. 

As for the services we provide, we're proud to say that we can do anything that a civilian lawyer can do, except actually appear on your behalf in a local court. 

Last year, our legal assistance services saved ARPC more than $27,400 in legal fees. If you're deploying and need a will or just want to update your will, we can do it for you. 

If the first sergeant reminds you that you need to update your family care plan and you need a power of attorney for someone to look after your kids, we can do it for you. For that matter, if you need any powers of attorney, stop by. In 2007, ARPC Airmen saved $6,670 in the cost of powers of attorney and notarizations alone! 

Earlier this year, 60 Airmen took advantage of the tax program that the legal office provides. Those Airmen collected almost $93,000 in refunds, and more importantly saved $12,600 in commercial tax preparation fees! 

If you're having trouble with a landlord or with a creditor, we may be able to help out. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to fix the problem. 

If you've recently come onto active duty and have debts that you brought with you, give us a call and make an appointment. You may be able to use the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act's interest cap provision to lower your rates. 

There are some basic criteria to be entitled to use our legal assistance service, though. Active duty, retirees and their family members are eligible for legal assistance. 

Unfortunately, we are prevented by our Air Force Instruction from providing legal assistance to purely civilian employees. 

Whether its adoption, a troublesome contractor, taxes, a car accident, child custody or child support or any other legal issue, do what our directorate's initials -- JA -- stand for, just ask.