THE chief-of-staff of the US Air
Force branded Kelly Flinn, the B-52
bomber pilot accused of adultery, a "liar"
at a Senate hearing yesterday.
This burst of anger from Gen Ronald Fogleman came as a
senator ridiculed him for wasting public money pursuing a
"showgirl" flying ace for having an affair with
a married man.
The general, a highly decorated Vietnam War fighter
pilot, snapped back that "the adultery thing"
was not the issue. The force was being made to "look
ridiculous" because Americans were not being given
He said: "What we are doing in the air force is
not trying to regulate the sexual mores of America. In
the end this is not an issue of adultery. This is an
issue about an officer, entrusted to fly nuclear weapons,
who disobeyed an order, who lied."
Flinn faces five years in prison for deceiving her
superiors by swearing that the relationship was platonic.
She is accused of ignoring a colonel's command to end the
affair, an offence punishable by a six-month sentence.
The charge of adultery and conduct unbecoming an officer
could land her in jail for a year, although the usual
rule in the air force is to hand out a hefty fine.
The general's outburst indicated that the top brass is
willing to risk further embarrassment by pushing ahead
with a court martial, rather than throw her out of the
service. A trial would be messy for the Pentagon as
Flinn's lover, Marc Zigo, a civilian she says is a
"rotter" who fooled her with gifts of rings and
claims that "I was the love of his life", is
threatening to give evidence that tells all about their
He has already given lurid details to military
investigators about Flinn's sex life, including
descriptions of the frequency and style of her
love-making as well as her method of birth control. He
has drawn a floor plan of his house to show where they
In addition, the betrayed wife, Gayla Zigo, a fellow
airwoman, is ready to offer testimony. She has urged the
Pentagon to show the woman no mercy. In a bitter letter
to the Air Force Secretary, Sheila Widnall, she accused
Flinn of being a calculating sexual predator at the
remote air base in Minot, North Dakota.
In interviews, Flinn has portrayed herself as a lonely
woman, resented by wives, who fell madly in love. The
wife called her a brazen husband-stealer. "Less than
a week after we arrived at the base, Lt Flinn was in bed
with my husband having sex." She was "always in
her flight suit flaunting the fact that she was an
Academy graduate and the first female bomber pilot".
Mrs Zigo said: "How could I compete with her? She
had power . . . She also had special status as the first
female B-52 pilot. She told me that she wanted to settle
down with someone. I didn't know that somebody was my
The wife told the air force of her plight after
discovering love letters written by the pilot to her
husband. "Lt Flinn did not care about my
feelings," she said. "She was just out for
herself. I am tired of her acting as if she is the
victim, when she is the one who committed the
May 1997: Prosecution over woman pilot's affair 'is