CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Theft. Violence. Harassment. The 369th Sustainment Brigade legal section has a long list of cases that they have seen pertaining to service members making decisions that get them in to trouble.
To help prevent Soldiers from getting into trouble, the brigade’s legal section publishes Hellfighter Justice, a monthly publication of what not to do.
The publication was created in 2016 during the 369th SB’s first deployment to Kuwait by Maj. Ellen Petrillo, the brigade’s judge advocate at the time, said Staff Sgt. Skyler Long.
A paralegal sergeant with the brigade’s legal section, Long noted that while some of the cases included in Hellfighter Justice are almost comical from an outsider’s perspective—given their egregious absurdity—the effects of service member misconduct can have a severely negative effect on unit morale. While engaging, the publication is focused on deterring harmful behavior.
Soldier misconduct impacts cohesion and in some cases impacts the safety, motivation, performance and mental health of fellow service members.
Mental health is critical to mission readiness, according to the Air Force.
Depression and other mental health disorders impact mission readiness, according to the Army.
Justice can help bring relief to victims of Soldier misconduct, said Long.
“Soldiers often feel that no one’s doing anything to bring consequences to those who imposed harm on them,” Long said. “Hellfighter Justice really shows Soldiers what's actually happening: the investigation of both the claims of the accuser and the actions of the accused, no matter what their rank is —a process typically behind closed doors—and I think it's important for soldiers to see that when there is an injustice, especially in cases where individuals are harmed by the actions of another like with sexual harassment, that justice does occur.”
Under new leadership, the publication continues. The first issue of Hellfighter Justice for the 369th SB’s current deployment was released in December 2022.
Capt. Carl Rosenkranz, the brigade’s judge advocate, functions as the publisher of Hellfighter Justice.
In the current issue, Rosenkranz added an “Ask the JAG” section and answered a question about fraternization. In the first issue, the mugshots of Charlie Sheen and Lindsey Lohan, known celebrities that have had legal troubles, help draw parallels to the reality of service member misconduct with cases involving drug abuse, deception and hostile work environments.
For Rosenkranz, the style and format of the publication serves a distinct purpose.
“A lot of times people get information in a format that doesn't grab their attention,” Rosenkranz said. “Hellfighter Justice is intended to provide information both about the consequences of misconduct and insight on the legal section in a dynamic way that actually engages people.”
Rosenkranz made clear that his editor-in-chief, Sgt. Yolanda Pinckney, a paralegal sergeant with the 369th SB, is the backbone of the publication.
Pinckney went through a vast amount of completed cases from previous units that exist in a multimodal historical archive to find the most interesting, and educational, cases and investigations.
She identified patterns and investigations reflective of misconduct in theater. Each case noted in the publication is given a brief description, followed by the violation associated with it and concluded by the punishment. In the investigation section, the total investigation process—from witness suspicion to substantiation or no substantiation of claims—is explored.
The investigation section, in particular, reflects the thoroughness of investigation, said Pinckney.
“Hopefully, when Soldiers read that justice is being served it will help those that feel wronged speak up and encourage others to realize that they will get in trouble if they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing,” Pinckney said.
The second, and current issue of Hellfighter Justice released in late January 2023.