Dr. John Pitchford
Dr. John Pitchford's military career took him from private to colonel. He is a Vietnam era veteran, having served as an enlisted soldier in Germany. Following his overseas tour, he used the G.I. Bill to finish college and dental school. He returned to active-duty in the Army Dental Corps and retired as a colonel in 1997. Dr. Pitchford is no stranger to injustice. At age 5 he discovered the Holocaust in his grandfather's attic in Mannheim, Germany. His grandfather was a post-World War II war crimes prosecutor at Dachau concentration camp. In his attic was a large steamer trunk filled with documents, mementos and thousands of photographs. This experience profoundly affected his life and still has many of the original documents.
Furthermore, like Never Alone Advocacy's Colonel Wes Martin, Colonel Pitchford is a protégé of U.S. military icon Colonel David (Hack) Hackworth. A lifelong fighter for justice, Hack lived and emphasized Patton's philosophy of "Never stop until you reach either the top or the grave."
While serving in the Army Dental Corps, he put an end to the practice of senior leaders helping themselves to dental equipment and supplies to open their post-retirement practices.
1994, four civilian dental assistants came to him to report the dental unit's commanding officer had ordered them to fill boxes of dental materials and load them into his car. As the dental activities supply officer, he refused to turn a blind eye to the theft $50,000 worth of equipment and supplies.
As is all too often the case, those who report abuse of power and authority are the ones who end up in trouble. In 1995, he was required to give up a promotion to colonel or be court-martialed on false charges and was forced to take an early retirement at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Following a congressionally ordered DoD IG investigation, he was cleared of all charges and was promoted to and retired at the rank of colonel in 1997.
In 1998, he was called again to fight the abuse of power and authority in the U.S. Army. After writing a letter to the editor of USA Today concerning the court-martial of Sgt. Major of the Army Gene McKinney, he received a phone call concerning the misconduct of former Maj. Gen. David Hale (Deputy Inspector General of the Army). Hale was a serial sexual predator and when he was exposed, he was allowed to retire over a weekend.
“Promising justice for Hale's victims, Colonel Pitchford worked over a thousand hours which resulted in Hale being recalled to active duty and formally charged for his crimes.”
Before Hale, no general officer had been court-martialed in half a century and no general officer had ever been recalled from retirement to active-duty to face any form of accountability. In 1999, Hale pled guilty to the charges against him. In the past two decades dozens of general officers have found United States military will no longer so eagerly turn a blind eye to senior leader misconduct. Now retired after 20 years in private practice, Colonel Pitchford vows victory in what is truly this nation's longest war and has re-joined the fight against sexual predators and the abuse of authority in America's Armed Forces. He is proud to serve again.