Clemency Letter Reveals Much About Pentagon’s Eagerness to Convict Military Men on False Sexual Assault Allegations

Michael Silva wrote a letter recently, and it’s being delivered Monday to Brig. Gen. Robert D. LaBrutta, commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio who served as the convening authority in the court-martial during which Silva was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The content of the letter offers much insight into the lengths to which military prosecutors will go to get a conviction.

Silva: General has less than 30 days

Background: According to one news account, Silva’s case was the oldest yet in a scandal at Lackland AFB, Texas, that saw 35 basic training instructors investigated for misconduct with 68 recruits and technical training students over a four-year period. And it pitted the senior noncommissioned officer against victims who had remained silent for years.

Silva’s letter is seven single-spaced pages, contains nearly 4,000 words and stands as a key part of the clemency packet he hopes will convince the general to grant him full clemency for the sexual assault conviction he received Jan. 30 so that he can retire with the rank, pay and benefits of an Air Force senior master sergeant — the rank he earned Feb. 28, 2013, but was never allowed to wear.

Though General Labrutta has 30 days to decide whether or not he’ll grant Silva any form of relief, full or partial, I’m sharing details of the letter so that you can weigh the facts of the case as we wait for an official decision.

Because of the nature of Silva’s letter and some of the names mentioned in it, I’m unable to share it word for word. Instead, I’ll paraphrase on occasion and edit as best I can without clouding the content too much. In addition, I’ll decipher some military lingo and add links and boldface type as I see fit.

Finally, I must emphasize these are Silva’s beliefs and allegations, not mine. And so I begin.

Silva begins the letter by sharing a few details about his current circumstances:

My name is Michael Silva. At the age of 20, I proudly followed in my father’s footsteps by joining the military; in which I honorably served our country for over 24 years. As you can clearly see from my record, my goal was not just to accomplish the status quo; I chose to stay in past 20 years because I lived and breathed the Air Force Core Values. I was not done mentoring our Airmen; there was so much more I wanted to do. On 28 February 2013, I was selected and received my line number for senior master sergeant and aspired to make even more of a difference as a chief master sergeant someday. My plans were cut short by false allegations against me. Now, I sit in a prison cell hoping and praying that, although the military justice system that I once believed in and preached about failed me, the eyes of the blinded will be open and the truth shall set me free.

In the second paragraph of the letter, the 44 year old offers a few details about how he was accused of sexual assault as part of a larger scandal that made the national news (those accused of such things or facing criminal charges may want to make finding a criminal lawyer a priority):

Before I provide you with a brief synopsis of my military career, I would like to make a statement about my court martial and why the military justice system failed me. I feel that my court martial guilty verdict was decided prior to it even beginning. The fact that I had previously been a Military Training Instructor, resulted in my immediate connection to the current Basic Military Training sexual assault scandal and the political witch hunt began yet again. There were several instances of MTI’s misusing their power and authority to have inappropriate sexual relationships, whether forced or otherwise. This had nothing to do with me and in fact, during my combined 9 years as a MTI both at Lackland BMT and Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, I never once received any negative feedback from either BMT or OTS students or MTIS Leadership, only awards and other accolades. There is so much political pressure to end military sexual assault and prove to Congress that the military is handling these cases. But what they fail to see is there are innocent service members such as myself that are falsely accused and unjustly convicted. I was given a 20-year sentence for crimes I DID NOT COMMIT!

In the third paragraph of the letter, Silva describes his post-conviction state of mind:

For the last 7 months since my conviction, I have sat here in disbelief, waiting to wake up from this horrible nightmare. It is a daily struggle not to lose myself or to be angry at the Air Force and DOD for allowing me to be a statistic, making me a number and throwing me away like a piece of trash. I am just a number now and it’s not my service number or my Social Security Number; I have a prison number that I wear across my chest that replaces the words U.S. Air Force. I was given this number for doing nothing more than serving my country honorably and being the victim of false accusations. Although I have been wronged, I realize I have a choice. I could let this define me by being angry, or I can continue to have faith and believe that God will right this wrong. Even here behind these brick walls, secured doors and barbed wire, I continue to help others who are struggling, by mentoring those who need guidance, physically training those whom need strength, and preaching God’s word to those who are feeling weak. But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t belong here and I should still be mentoring our great Airmen.

In the fourth paragraph of the letter, he recalls how he reacted upon being charged:

In 2013, when the charges were filed against me I took the advice of my lawyers and did not discuss the case because I thought it would hurt me. For nearly 2 years I lived in hell, constantly worried about what other people were saying or thinking. I was so prideful; more worried about my image, and wondered how I would ever recover to get my career back on track, because mind you, even after these allegations I still wanted to be that chief. I laugh about it now; I was simply worried about not getting senior rater endorsement. I was worried about my reputation as a senior noncommissioned officer. It never crossed my mind that I could ever end up here. But I have lost so much more than my image and my chance to be that motivating chief; I have lost my freedom, my family, my career and my line number for senior master sergeant, all while doing nothing to discredit the United States Air Force. Luckily, I have a huge support team rallying behind me who are continuing to gather more evidence to contradict the allegations.

Silva goes on to write about his chief accuser in the next two paragraphs:

I do not feel I received a fair hearing. To this day, I have no recollection of my accuser, supposedly a student in one of my flights (i.e., groups of basic military trainees). Based on her records, I assume she was in my flight for a couple of days, but I had no significant interaction with her that would make her memorable. I certainly never engaged in sexual activity with her. I have no idea why she chose to make up this story or why she chose me, but when you only fulfill a few days in Basic Training your options at choosing a perpetrator are few.

I am requesting for you to look at this with an open mind regardless of any rumors you may have heard. This trainee’s entire life is a lie and she has no integrity as you will see in other documents provided for your review. As you will see both of the alleged victims had much to gain monetarily.

In the seventh paragraph, he shares some — but, by no means all — of the most-interesting aspects of the case, each of which should, by itself, cause General LaBrutta to pause:

• A basic trainee comes forward 17 years after she was medically separated for migraines in 1995. This basic trainee was only in my squadron for the first 3 nights of basic training. Any enlisted person knows that a member of the same gender sleeps (i.e., “oversees”) the flight the first 2 nights. Therefore, a female MTI sleeps the female flights, I had no access to this trainee, nor would I have. I was a single father with much more to lose than my career; I had a 4 year old son who had only me.

• There were 3 MTI’s, including myself, assigned to the flight. There were 20 other trainees of that flight that were interviewed and none of them had anything negative to say, quite the contrary.

• My accuser couldn’t explain any detail about the BMT process, and everything that came out her mouth contradicted the policies and procedures that were in place at BMT to safeguard them, account for and train our Airman.

• Expert BMT witnesses also contradicted her story of BMT processes not just in my squadron, but also in two others and at the Airman’s Chapel and Wilford Hall Medical Center. From dorm guard procedures, entering and exiting the dormitories, being recycled, movement between squadrons and movement for medical treatment, her lies go on.

• She also stated that she was chosen to be an element leader, but this was not true either. Element leaders’ sleep in the first couple of beds by the MTI office, and she stated her bed was further back toward the rear of the bay, which means she wasn’t an element leader.

In the eighth paragraph, Siilva addresses what he calls his chief accuser’s “motive to lie”:

• It wasn’t until after she remarried an Army Veteran living off VA disability that she began making these false claims and then here comes the “Lackland, BMT Sex Scandal.” Now she has an “in” to tell her made up story in order to continue to receive any VA compensation she was claiming and/or get a higher rating or possibly retroactive pay from 1995. Say she got the max 100% disability, with 6 children (although 5 do not live with her) $3,200.00 a month x 12 months x 20 years = $768K. She had been following the story of Ruth Moore whom first made national news around the time my accuser first told her family she was sexually assaulted and started making VA claims. Mrs. Moore was petitioning for the VA to accept victims stories of assault and provide them treatment, Mrs Moore later sued the VA and won her case and was awarded retroactive pay in the amount of $405K in the Spring of 2014.

• In my accuser’s first statement (Fall 2012), she stated she didn’t tell anyone this happened to her – not even her first husband who was with her at medical hold and gave her five children. She told Air Force Office of Special Investigations that she did not tell her mother, or anyone else in her family, most of whom work in law enforcement.

• At trial, her mother testified that her daughter told her when she returned from Basic Training, but that her daughter must not have remembered. So for 17 years she never asked her daughter how she was doing dealing with this rape? This is completely unbelievable.

• My accuser later claimed to investigators that she told one other person, another Trainee she met at the BMT who died in July 2008. This is too convenient of a story.

• My accuser claimed I showed up at the chapel on base in civilian clothes, like I was stalking her, and introduced myself to her uncle whom is a sheriff in the state of Washington. Her uncle stated in a sworn statement to the AFOSI that the incident never happened; he did not meet a drill instructor nor did one introduce himself to him.

• My accuser also changed her story and stated not only did it happen once, but twice.

• My accuser testified on the stand that the only reason she came forward was to prevent this from happening to anyone else. She waited 17 years to make sure it never happened again? She was already seeking compensation for it over 2 years before she made this allegation against me. If it wasn’t about the money, then why did she go after the money first?

He continues to address the matter of his chief accuser’s motive by informing the general about other issues, including her mental health, publicity surrounding the case, financial issues and family history:

• Unfortunately, this woman (self-proclaimed in social media posts) suffers from a mental health disorder. [NOTE: An accuser’s mental health status played a key role in the case of an Army Green Beret convicted of sexual assault in 2009. Details here.]

• She had clear motive to make up this story. She got the attention of both military and political figures that vowed to ensure her case would be handled effectively. By all the attention she received and the publicity of this case, I did not receive a fair trial.

• Significantly, she lived off Social Security benefits prior to age 30. She had a Habitat for Humanity Home built for her, that she left and forfeited in a last ditch effort to force her ex-husband to once again reconcile with her by relocating out of state with their 5 sons. She also owned and operated a psychic website.

• Her father has a history of fraud. Her biological father was an alcoholic and a drug addict and was in and out of prison before her parents divorced. He is currently serving time in an Oklahoma prison for embezzlement.

In the ninth paragraph of his letter, Silva highlights allegations made against him by an ex-wife who also testified against him during his 2015 trial. Without getting into any of the sordid details, I’ll condense Silva’s description of their relationship: After he asked for a divorce, she objected and allegedly told his mother during a phone call, “I’m going to ruin your son’s career” and hung up. [NOTE: “Ruin” is a word readers of my work have seen used before by a sexual assault accuser. Details here.]

The next thing Silva knew, according to the letter, he was under investigation by the AFOSI for an allegation she had made years earlier and then recanted in the form of a sworn statement. Below is the text of the handwritten sworn statement that appeared on an AF IMT 1168 Form (a.k.a., “Witness Statement Form”) dated May 7, 2007, that is not included in Silva’s clemency letter but is included in the clemency packet:

“I do not feel after reading Article 120 that the situation reported to OSI meets the criteria of this allegation. I consented to intimacy with Michael Silva. I only thought it necessary to report since my leadership advised it was the right steps to take. I had no intention of reporting this, I had wanted to put this behind me. Master Sgt. (last name redacted) asked if Mike was forceful or had aggressive behavior in intimacy. I wasn’t aware this was headed toward rape charges. I didn’t know where this fit. I know Mike has an aggressive and controlling personality, but don’t reel that rape depicts our situation.”

[NOTE: Despite the fact she had recanted her allegation seven years earlier and said Silva had not raped her, she appears to have changed her mind again and testified during the 2015 trial that he did. To wit, Silva explains “my story never changed, but hers did in all the statements she made since 2013 and in her sworn testimony.”]

In the 10th paragraph, Silva focuses on what he believes was his ex-wife’s motive to lie:

She admitted on the stand that she has been collecting VA money since she separated from the AF prior to these charges even being filed against me. She was collecting VA money with a recanted statement. She had no choice but to testify against me or she would likely have lost her VA benefit for it. She was getting out of the military, just had a new baby, and her new husband was not working. She needed the money.

In the 11th and 12th paragraphs, he reflects on many of his personal and professional accomplishments. In the interest of saving space, however, I will not include them here. Instead, I’ll skip forward to the next paragraph:

In early 2009, I received a Red Cross message that my father was in a coma following an accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I applied for a humanitarian assignment back to Texas to take care of my father who could not talk, walk, feed himself, bathe, or use the restroom. He could not do anything unassisted. He needed around-the-clock care and assistance. I was his sole caregiver and tended to him every evening after work, leaving his care to a medical aide I hired during the day.

He continues in that paragraph, describing the many responsibilities of his assignment in San Antonio, concluding with this statement:

In early 2013, I found out I had been promoted to senior master sergeant; not long after that, I learned I was being investigated for an alleged sexual assault from 1995 and was removed as the Airman Leadership School commandant.

In the next three paragraphs, Silva reflects on his situation before asking the general for clemency:

If I was guilty of the crimes I was accused of, why would I have not dropped my paperwork to retire? We all knew they were investigating BMT. I did not drop my paperwork, because I knew I was innocent. I loved the Military Training Instructor Corps and what I was able to instill in our Airmen and our Air Force. A lot of them still sought guidance from me over the years. I would never have done anything to discredit myself, my professional appearance, or the United States Air Force.

Any person with the slightest connection to the military can now seek and obtain monetary benefits by merely accusing someone of sexual assault, whether it’s true or not. The military and VA have created incentives to fabricate sexual assault and the result is that innocent people are suffering trials and convictions for crimes they never committed. That is what happened to me. I never raped, struck, nor purposely harmed any woman in my life.

I am respectfully requesting that you grant me full clemency for this wrongful conviction and that I am able to retire with the rank I rightfully earned in the grade of senior master sergeant with all my benefits and pay. I honorably served for 24 years, with “Integrity,” putting “Service Before Self” and “Excellence in All We Do.” I applied these Core Values both on and off duty. The only thing I am guilty of, and regret, is putting the Air Force before my son all these years. I could have managed that aspect better. All I want is a chance to put this behind me and move on with my life. I understand that this is political; I understand that you Sir, would be forced to somewhat put your reputation and career on the line for me. But a trainee with a made up story infiltrated our Air Force, BMT and our way of life. All of this for VA money that our taxpayers are now burdened to assume. If this isn’t stopped it will continue to happen to others. At the very least, please grant me another chance at a fair trial, with an unbiased judge and jury. This is my life. My Freedom has been taken from me and I respectfully request that you help me right this wrong.

Silva ended his letter with a quote from Thomas Aquinas: “as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.”

If, based upon the details highlighted above and in the previous article, you believe Silva deserves some form of clemency, I encourage you to reach out to Maj. Gen. Mark A. Brown, 2nd Air Force commander, who is the convening authority (a.k.a., “the decision-maker in the case). All three of the men listed below, however, are worth contacting with your concerns:

MAJOR GENERAL MARK A. BROWN <– Update: He is the convening authority!
2nd Air Force
Keesler AFB, MS
Email: mark.brown@us.af.mil

BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT D. LABRUTTA
c/o 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2080 Wilson Road
JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5004
Phone: (210) 671-2907
Email: usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.fsh-public-affairs-office@mail.mil

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DARRYL ROBERSON
Air Education and Training Command
1 F Street, Suite 1
JBSA Randolph TX 78150-4324
Phone: (210) 652-5224
Email: darryl.roberson@us.af.mil

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19 thoughts on “Clemency Letter Reveals Much About Pentagon’s Eagerness to Convict Military Men on False Sexual Assault Allegations

  1. Jason Backer

    SrA Silva at the time (1995) was my basic training instructor for half my time during BMT. I am not sure why he was removed but all I know is he always seemed shady. Our whole flight thought this. A few years later he was my wife’s TI as well and when I told her about this story she didn’t flinch. Was as if she suspected it. I am not saying I offer any evidence to whether or not Mr. Silva is guilty or innocent but too many sexual predators go free because of the good ol’ boy network these days. Have seen it a few times. I know our military justice system is far from perfect but be careful who you advocate for. Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    1. Link

      What do you mean by “seemed shady”? Like how? Examples please…also, same with your wife, if she knows something or has some additional insight feel free to let us know what it is? and I’m quite sure that OSI would be interested as well. I’m guessing that there were female trainees interested (ie, had a crush or was infatuated)in him and talked about him with other trainees, especially if they knew he was a single parent, alot of women find that somewhat charming and heartbreaking. But sending someone to federal prison for 20 years on the bases of “seemed shady” or otherwise with absolutely zero proof is a travesty. And if you know of “sexual predators” that are using the “good ole boy” network to continue to get away with it nowadays (assuming you have proof of these predators), you have a duty to continue to report it up your chain of command until resolution. If you fail to report you are just as guilty as those that have done these kinds of things. And if you’ve ever had any experience at all with Court Martials, you will see that most of these kinds of cases the defendant has to prove their innocence despite the fact there is no hard evidence and it should be the other way around (innocent until proven guilty). I hope you never run across the shady person that will accuse you of an unthinkable crime and you have to prove your innocence on someone you don’t even remember from 20 years ago. For crying out loud, the alleged victim had her own psychic website and is now (thanks to a conviction) receiving 100% VA monthly compensation ($3700 tax free) after spending 3 days in a basic training flight…gotta love our system!! Mr McCarty is spot on in his support of SMSgt Mike Silva!!

      Reply
    2. catherine

      So after 3 weeks of instruction you have concluded that someone is shady? Your whole flight? Thats quite interesting. I will share this bit of information with you. I have seen all the reports and nothing is in there that states he is guilty. Matter of fact…many that came forwarded offered statements said the complete opposite. He is not free, so Mr. Backer if this were you? Would you not want someone to advocate for you? Have a blessed day.

      Reply
    3. JEFF SCHNEPP

      JASON,

      Last time I checked this should not be based on subjection. Shady, makes me believe you must of had a difficult time during basic training. TIs get moved out of Flights for all sorts of reasons, mostly for coverage. SAY the original TI assigned to that dorm is a Team Chief and he went on leave. THE Section Supervisor might pull another instructor out oF that Training Sections to fill in for a couple of weeks. I would assume if you had to work with then SrA Silva as a permanent party member you would have a way different opinion of him. I find it hard to see someone pass judgment on something like this without knowING all the facts.
      Let me know if you ever MANAGED 60plus people with every one approving of his or her actions.

      Reply
  2. Lisa Chloros

    I came in the AF in 1995 and was in the same sq. He was always stern but professional. That was their job they werent there to make friends, they were there to train Airman. By breaking us down and building us back up.
    In 1997, i began to know Mike on a personal level. His sister Cathy, Mike and I would spend time with our significant others, friends and children. 18 years later he is still the same great person he was. What is so troubling about this is Mike would never hurt a woman, he is the type of person that would take care of any man that was harming a woman or child whether he knew them or not. I can honestly say that Mike is one of the most gentle and caring individuals i have ever met. He would take the shirt off his back and give it to you if you needed it. Mike is an honorable man that merely got caught up in this political witch hunt and its unfortunate he is gone, but we will get him back home.

    Reply
  3. Paul Ramon

    As a veteran it is amazing to read the redacted statements made, the invalidate accusations and fishy time line. It is a shame that someone who, only when money came into play told her “story”.

    I am a disabled veteran and applied numerous times for the same issue but when I was finally granted my disabled status I was paid based on the most recent filing. How is it she was paid for so much time? Our the disabilities of others not as important? Or was it a pay off for her statement? In civilian court based on the evidence, statements, and unsubstantiated testimony this case would have ended differently.

    Reply
  4. Jason Diltz

    When I see articles such as this one, I typically either skim through them or ignore them altogether – not the case here. An injustice has been done to a man who loyally served. With just the few details provided, it is clear that SMsgt Silva was wrongly accused and convicted. In addition to granting him clemency, I would like to see all of those involved in this case to be investigated for their gross negligence in the way in which this case was handled. I would also like to see his accusers put on trial for fraud. SMsgt Silva’s facts are spot-on with regard to his accessibility to his accuser and the fact that her statements were inconsistent. To have the accusers own uncle not support her claim regarding the chapel visit completely destroys her integrity. I find it hard to believe that with all of those years in his position, he would have only done this once? Please free this man and restore him back to the rank that he earned and prosecute those who destroyed his life for their own financial gain. I don’t understand how they can sleep at night. Thank you’

    Reply
  5. Missy

    It’s a shame the lack of support an individual with an impeccable record would receive from the very branch of service he dedicated the past 24 years of his life supporting. And all over a woman who didn’t last 3 days in BMT.
    Id love to hear, Jason Backer, what you refer to as “shady”. Truth is, I had multiple TIs in BMT and everyone of them seemed shady the first several weeks. I didn’t like the way they made me fill my duffle bag with the contents of my locker, strap it on my back and assume the pushup position. I didn’t like the way I was told to maintain military bearing when I walked by him. Who was he to judge the way I walked. I didn’t like the way they assumed I was on the chunky chicken program when I clearly wasn’t. I certainly didn’t like when they got in my face and referred to me as a maggot or ripped up our flight photo because we were worthless. That really hurt my feelings. Boo freaking hoo!
    BMT isn’t supposed to be easy, if it were everyone would make it through. It’s meant to break you down, build you up and weed out the weeds.

    Reply
  6. Tiffany

    Hi Bob,

    First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for shedding light on Mike’s case! I am Lisa Chloro’s sister and I have been the one researching the accuser here in Washington state thorough the Clark county court system. I have never met Mike but I backed him up 100%. Having an untrained eye in researching backgrounds I have found hundreds if not thousands of pages in the court system with her name on them. Many times it shows that the accuser has in the past and continues to have inconsistencies, lies, fabricated stories as well as used and abused the system’s that are in place for people who are truly in need. If only someone would have taken a microscope to her past… She would have been discredited long ago. Oh yeah and to top it off she now claims via Facebook that she is the founder of Equestrian Angel MST/combat PTSD therapy, barrel & cutting. No such business license exists in Washington state. Hmmmm go you think she is using her case to try and get grant money to “open” her new business???

    Reply
  7. Laurel

    The times and places when the “victim” alleges the assaults took place are inconsistent from the procedures in place when I was in BMT in 1992. I’m sure this is not due to drastic changes In policy and priceedure. A female dorm guard was always on duty throughout the night. This ensured only authorized personnel were allowed inside dorm. Any exit by a trainee with the TI would have been an event that went against policies and procedures. In the event that such thing happened, it would have been a memorable event, that even if it were not reported, it would have been subject of much gossip. It would have been an event memorable enough to recall 20 years later and there would be witnesses, well one witness, the dorm guard, and others who heard about it.
    Another issue is with policies and procedures surrounding a female recruit leaving the squadron. Even trips to sick bay and chapel were not allowed to be solo missions. I was always accompanied by at least one female from my squad, as was every other female in y squadron. So where are these accompanying female witnesses in this case?
    Most importantly, the changed stories, names, etcetera are what prove innocence to me. I actually was a victim by another airman, and not at BMT. My story is unimportant. Here is what is important. A victim would have no need to look at a roster to find her perpetrators name. Mine’s full name is etched permanently In memory. Hers would be too, even the rank. Even a diagnosis of PTSD from the event, has not caused the story to change, with the exception if certain details becoming more vivid. The details of such a traumatic event play like a movie, making it impossible to forget. Details from don’t change.
    Finally, the victim tells someone, whether it is someone they trust with what they feel is a shameful secret, or someone they think can stop it from happening to someone else: a significant other, a member of their squad, a friend, a family member, a doctor…someone. A doctor is obligated to report the incident, so is, as I found out, an airman with senior ranking. A parent would be knocking on doors for justice the moment they found out, not waiting for years to come forward.
    Sorry, but to this survivor of sexual assault, the “victim” here is nothing short of a liar. Worse, she blemishes the reputations and experiences of actual victims with her lies.
    Tell me one more thing. How is it that she, who only served 3 days, is entitled to 100% VA disability, when veteran a with serious physical and or mental illness have to fight to get a measly 30% or less, and many have to fight for years?

    Reply
    1. Elsie

      AGREED! I don’t think I could’ve said it any better. Those same policies and procedures were in place when I came through in 2001 and are still seen 15 years later.

      Reply
  8. Tairesa Holland

    I have never made any comments or complaints on anything military related only because I do not want it to be back fired later on. But for Mike’s sake I will today, we are fighting for his life. I met (S)SMSgt Silva in 2010 he was my ALS accommadant at JBSA a damn good one too. He was always professional, he strived to take care of and mentor his instructors under him and every Airmen he encountered that came through ALS during his time there, including me. Immediately meeting (S)SMSGT Silva I knew he would be someone I could look up to as a mentor especially knowing his prior special duty experience as a MTI. I had a few conversations about becoming a MTI myself, I had a few personal/career issues that I was concerned about before applying for MTI duty. At the end of the day MTI duty did not work out for me at that time, but MTL (Military Training Leader) with Technical Training Students did. If it weren’t for him and another mentor of mine as we all know Command Chief, CSMgt Lewis and my supervisor I would have never put in for any special duties. I am the NCO that I am today because of those mentors that were placed in my life. I continue to strive to be the best of the best to take care of our new Airman.

    It’s so unfortunate to see what’s going on with Mike’s case. I hope and pray General Labrutta takes his time, even if it takes the whole 30 days to read every single document from beginning to end throughly and makes his decision, hoping the conviction is overturned.

    Many blessing to Mike, his family and everyone on his side, hoping for the best.

    V/r,
    SSGT Holland

    Reply
  9. Miranda Price

    Mike Silva was my brother flight TI in 1998. He was a SrA at the time and was an impeccable Airman that clearly was devoted to the Air Force, the core values and the trainees. I’ve been in the Air Force for 17 years and I still think he’s got to be one of the most professional Airman I’ve ever met. Yes, he was hard, but that’s a TIs job is to weed out the weak but he was also a great mentor. I remember him bringing his son in a few times when we’d be outside sitting and he was teaching us. He embodies the Air Force so much that he involved his son. I could see how, at the time, Sra Silva could be targeted because he’s an unforgettable person. He was a handsome single father and memorably embodied the type of professional all of us wanted to be. I clearly remember the last day when we were loading he buses to go back over to out process to leave for tech school him asking if everyone had their orders. I had left mine in my parents trunk thinking I gave them my BMT photos. He noticed quickly something wasn’t right with me and pulled me out of the flight to ask me what was wrong. I was so scared that even after graduation I was going to be washed back but I told him I didn’t have my orders. I thought he was going to scream at me but he didn’t. He was actually gentle and told me to go ahead and get on the bus and that my orders would be waiting for me. Through my career I’ve never forgotten what he did for me. I’ve never seen him mistreat another female trainee. He was always mentoring us and it was clear that he genuinely cared about our futures in the Air Force. Throughout the years I’ve seen him at NCOA graduations and so forth. These aren’t mandatory functions by any means but he was always there representing the Air Force that he loves. I truly feel saddened about his situation and believe he doesn’t deserve to be sitting in a cell. I have other SNCO friends that have also been charged with sexual assault and have been found not guilty but their reputations have been tarnished. I do believe folks that actually commit the crime should be punished BUT what is happening to these woman that are falsely accusing? It IS happening and there needs to be more awareness of that at well. I believe it’s time to set (S)MSgt Michael Silva free with all his benefits. This is just ridiculous.
    Sir, (Michael Silva)
    I believe in your innocence and I will continue to pray for your release. I’m saddened by the failure of the justice system and what it has caused you and your family. The truth WILL set you free! Keep your chin up and keep praying!
    Respectfully,
    One of your FEMALE trainees (1998)

    Reply
    1. Lisa

      I read your mssg to him and he says “Thank you and God bless you and your family”
      Thank you for sharing your story & portraying who he really is.

      Reply
  10. Pingback: MSgt Michael Silver, Lackland Instructor, Sentenced to 20 Years for Two Rapes (2015) | MILITARY JUSTICE FOR ALL

  11. Carol Barnes

    I am sure that no one will take this comment seriously, but I am active duty of a different service and I spent the past year with active duty AF and I can NOT believe how the SENIOR ENLISTED group go out of their way to end the careers of junior personnel. I have heard E6-E8 say things (to Jr members at training facilities) like, “I want him/her out of my AF!” or “I can’t wait til he/she comes to my base, I will end his/her fckng career!” or “Fck em….let em finish “A” school, then give em an admin discharge…shit….they’ll get a free edu!” These senior ppl were school LEADERS & were talking about 19-20 year olds who were doing things like rough housing in class, or play fighting…nothing that warranted an admin discharge! They passed this info to the E5s who would have to sum up the courage to lie to the poor immature (smart as heck) lads and tell them that they did not know what was going on. This happened exactly like this and as recently as last week. This is still happening at Keesler. My point, from the beginning leaders are treating juniors that loyalty is NOT important despite what you are taught in boot camp. Juniors help to discharge people who could be great leaders. The only problem that the leaders do NOT take into consideration is that they are building monsters that they will have to deal with (or their children as children often serve). These leaders also do not realize that this is a small military and those same Jr. people will teach this to other Jr ppl and before you know it, no one will have any loyalty, no one will care about anyone’s future & comments like, “he seemed shady” will be said about a man at the worst time ever, without a care for his future, his family or his life. I am sure the rebuttals will come my way, but I am only speaking from experience. I have a txt from an E6 in the AF that reads that a Shirt (whatever that is) is planning to get rid of a great kid (who is a huge benefit to the AF) because he doesn’t want that kid in the AF….the crime….horse play…..where did it happen….in class with the class leaders. If you don’t remember anything I have written, remember this, Karma….that lady….she has everyone’s snail mail address. Be fair to people…so that life can be fair to you all….I wish the best for this man and his family if he is innocent.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Chloros

      Carol,
      Thank you so much for your comment and sharing. I know how hard it is to want to say something and not have the courage or know the right way so I thank you for that. You pointed out some of the things that continue to make it hard for those still serving. Throwing away any Airman that serve while upholding the Air Force Core Values is a shame. We were all young and immature once and I would hope they had more validity to boot the Airman out than what you described, but don’t doubt it has happened. It’s a different AF than it was when I joined, I know when I did MTL duty for SFS from 2002-2005 we didn’t do that then, an Airman had to earn their ticket home. But I have recieved many messages inboxed to me and by other means of people dealing with similiar issues. I have heard stories just like Mikes of people accused not even knowing their accuser but the truth came out, maybe if it wasnt tied to a political Basic Training “Scandal” they (the AF) would have been concerned with the truth before discarding him. Read the blogs and posts, people aren’t happy, people are scared to serve, scared to get vectored into jobs that could seal their fate like Mike’s. Worried if they will be next. Again I really appreciate your choice to post and thank you for your service. I know Mike is innocent, not only from knowing him personally for almost 19 years but I have the OSI Investigation (CID equivalent) and hundreds of other key pieces of the puzzle and evidence. Its only a matter of time but he will come home. Thank you and God bless you and yours!
      Lisa

      Reply
  12. Scott Bayles

    This is a travesty of justice. It’s heartbreaking. All the inconsistencies of the accuser have been well documented so I won’t repeat. Im a SMSGT (Ret), I spent 15 years in BMT holding every position imaginable from Team member all the way up to Training Superintendent. More importantly I know Mike well. I helped train him, pushed flights with him, and we were great friends while at BMT and still are to this day. It is so dissappointing to see the weight of political pressure (certainly not evidence) strip the courage of our so called leadership and cause them to be so blinded to the truth. “Leading” in this case would have been to have the strength to disregard the witch hunt and rule for the truth. Mike is an exemplary Airman and wingman, even from where he sits right now. This verdict needs to be overruled. As we MTIs all remember from BMT, it was always “guilty until proven otherwise” and once we proved the accusations were bullshit, the little darling trainees never got punished for their lies. In this case it’s substantially worse. The liars are getting paid with our tax dollars! General Brown needs to do the right thing and reverse this.

    Reply

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