BGen Jeffrey Magram: National Guard top commander fired for ordering troops to do his personal chores
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA: A National Guard top commander in California was relieved from his duty after officials received reports that he used his troops to carry out his personal tasks. Brig Gen Jeffrey Magram used subordinates to take his mother grocery shopping and complete mandatory online cybersecurity training. According to multiple reports, the general also put an F-15C fighter jet on standby that some said could be used to scare civilian protesters in a way.
According to National Guard spokesman Lt Col Brandon Hill, Magram is set to be "involuntarily transferred" to the US Air Force retired reserve which is considered "parallel" to a firing. National Guard officials came to know that a guard of Magram drove him 120 miles roundtrip for a dentist appointment when they looked into the allegations against the general. The serviceman who complained is cited in a document, claiming, "My job is to take care of the airmen in the state of California and not be a chauffeur for a general."
Officials also received complaints that Magram readied a fighter plane for a "possible domestic mission" in 2020. The group said they feared his order would be considered 'buzzing' and an attempt to scatter crowd members during the George Floyd protests.
After a report on the incident was shared by the Los Angeles Times, Maj Gen David Baldwin suspended Magram with pay in 2021. Baldwin denied at the time that the jet had been prepared to fly and said the suspension had nothing to do with the LA Times report. The guard who took Magram's mother to the grocery store spoke to the officials and detailed the trip.
"She was particular. When I say particular, it had to be at Whole Foods. … It just took her a long time to decide what she wanted, a lot of comparison shopping amongst products," the unnamed Guard member stated, according to Daily Mail. The report stated that Magram agreed to the claims instead of denying them. He said that he believed the trips fell under the Air Force's "wingman concept," about looking out for fellow servicemen and women.
"I want to reiterate that had I ever heard of any ethics issues like this from subordinates, peers or commanders, or perceptions of such, I would have corrected or addressed it on the spot," Magram said in a statement to an inspector general. Magram also apparently failed to take his annual cybersecurity training according to an internal inquiry done by the National Guard. As per the report, the general reportedly had lower-ranking Guard members each day request to be given temporary access to get into his computer. A lower Guard member eventually did the training for him after two weeks.
Magram said it was his "tremendously busy operational tempo" that did not allow him to complete the training in a statement. A Guard memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times stated the man "let a subordinate click through the training questions and obtain a certificate of completion for" him. The now-fired general was counseled in 2017 for similar behavior. "Your conduct has caused me to lose faith, trust, and confidence in your ability to continue serving," Maj Gen Matthew Beevers, the Guard's acting adjutant general, wrote in a memorandum to Magram.
Who is Brig Gen Jeffrey Magram?
According to the National Guard's website, Magram is the Assistant Adjutant General, Air, California Air National Guard, Sacramento, California. He is responsible for the administration and support of more than 4,900 Airmen statewide. General Magram enlisted in the California Air National Guard in 1985 as a musician in the 561st Air Force Band. In 1988, after completing his bachelor's degree at the University of California at Berkeley, he was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science in 1989 into the 129th Rescue Wing and attended undergraduate helicopter training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He was named the Homeland Security and Plans Officer for the California Air National Guard in 2001. In 2008, General Magram was selected as the director of State Personnel Programs for the California Military Department.