USAF Pilot's Career in Limbo After Speaking Out About F-22

Back in May of 2012, you may remember that "60 Minutes" had a report on oxygen problems with the USAF's newest fighter, the F-22 Raptor. That report featured two pilots, Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Joshua Wilson, both F-22 pilots in the Virginia Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Squadron sharing their personal experiences with oxygen deprivation in-flight.

According to the story over at Stripes.com after the November 2010 crash of an F-22 in Alaska due to oxygen problems, and Capt. Wilson's own experience with lack of oxygen during flight, the F-22 was grounded in May of 2011.

When the aircraft was allowed to fly again four months later, many pilots discovered that the charcoal filter that had been added caused cough, sore throat, and other respiratory problems. However, any pilots trying to fly without the filter would face disciplinary action.

Capt. Wilson was one of the pilots negatively affected by the new filters, and attempted to find out how widespread the respiratory problems were. He also had an Air Force flight doctor and pulmonologist advise that continued use of the filter would damage his lungs.

By the end of April 2012, the Air Force had decided to remove the new filtration canisters due to the reported breathing problems, but by this time Capt. Wilson had had an expected promotion suspended, a letter of reprimand, the loss of his pilot's wings, and the loss of his position at Air Combat Command. No mention of the doctor's recommendation appears in any of the disciplinary action, and despite the acknowledged problems with the filters, Capt. Wilson's career remains in limbo.

The Department of Defense Inspector General is investigating Capt. Wilson's case, but hasn't announced when it will conclude the investigation.