Air Force two-star general charged with sexual misconduct, flying after drinking

The former commander of all Air Force flight training is accused of assaulting a woman in a hotel room in April and flying within 12 hours of drinking.
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Air Force 19th Air Force Maj. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart
Maj. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A two-star Air Force general is facing charges of sexual assault and flying an aircraft within 12 hours of drinking alcohol.

According to charging documents provided to Task & Purpose, Maj. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart faces two counts of “commit[ing] a sexual act” on an unnamed woman without her consent in an Oklahoma hotel room on April 13 and 14 while on a business trip to Altus Air Force Base.

Stewart is charged with “assuming control” of an Air Force plane on April 14 within 12 hours of drinking alcohol, the mandatory waiting period before a flight under Air Force flight rules.

Stewart also faces four additional charges of unprofessional behavior and relationships, including a charge of engaging in extramarital sex during the same April trip to Oklahoma. The charging documents did not specify if the “extramarital conduct” involved the same woman that he is accused of assaulting.

Stewart also, the documents allege, “failed to refrain from pursuing an unprofessional relationship” between March and May and invited a companion “to spend the night alone with him in his private hotel room” during a second business trip to Denver in March.

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The documents do not specify if any of the charges involve the same woman.

Stewart will face an Article 32 hearing on Oct. 24 at JBSA-Randolph, according to an Air Force release. An Article 32 hearing is a preliminary hearing equivalent to a civilian grand jury proceeding where a presiding officer will determine if Stewart should face a court-martial.

Courts-martial for generals are exceedingly rare in the Air Force. Maj. Gen. William Cooley was the first Air Force general to face a court-martial in the branch’s history when he was tried in 2022 for unwanted sexual advances by kissing and touching his brother’s wife. A military judge found Cooley guilty of abusive sexual contact for forcing a kiss on the woman in a car in August 2018 and Cooley was forced to retire as a Colonel.

Stewart was the commander of the 19th Air Force until he was fired on May 9. The 19th Air Force, based at JBSA-Randolph, oversees all Air Force flight training across 17 training wings and 23 types of aircraft. Stewart began his career as an F-15 pilot in the 1990s and eventually flew eight different types of planes, including the U-2 spy plane, according to his official biography.

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