Victoria Army Reservist dismissed after convicted of extortion, falsifying documents

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

May 31, 2013 at 12:31 a.m.
Updated June 1, 2013 at 1:01 a.m.

A Victoria Army reservist is behind bars after military officials said he falsified documents to obtain a symbolic combat action badge.

Lt. Col. William "Billy" McCaskill Jr., 51, was reprimanded, required to forfeit $4,000 of his pay a month for four months and confined to 45 days in Fort Leavenworth prison.

At the conclusion of the two-day general court-martial before Lt. Col. James Varley on May 9 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, McCaskill was convicted of four counts of extortion and one count of making a false official statement. He was dismissed from the Army, losing all of his benefits just weeks before he was set to retire after a 25-year career, said Phillip Reidinger, the director of communications for Army Medical Department Center and School.

The investigation was started by the commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion at San Antonio Military Medical Center, where McCaskill was most recently assigned.

He was accused of extorting senior ranking officials and making a false statement for signing a Department of Defense 214 form claiming to have been awarded the combat action badge, which he had been previously denied.

But McCaskill had been mired by military troubles before then, Reidinger said.

In 2009, McCaskill received a General Officer Article 15, a reprimand of sorts, for forging bank and rental receipts in order to defraud the government out of more than $8,500 in housing expenses. He threatened to make false misconduct allegations against senior ranking officials if they did not help him remove the Article 15 from his permanent record, Reidinger said.

McCaskill was deployed to Iraq in 2006 for three months and to Qatar for one month in 2005. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, prohibits Reidinger from disclosing whether McCaskill was injured during his deployment, but one does not need to be injured in order to obtain a combat action badge.

"Those are for soldiers who are engaged in direct hostile fire with the enemy. The Army would award that based on certification that this soldier was actually engaged in armed combat with the enemy," Reidinger said.

McCaskill's attorney, Chayah Skye, of San Antonio, could not be reached Friday afternoon for comment.

McCaskill's mother, Jerry McCaskill, of Victoria, meanwhile, said the decision will be appealed, which could be a four-monthslong process.

She declined to talk about the specifics of the case, but she said her son was heavily involved in the Victoria community via organizations like the Jaycees. He received the rank of Eagle Scout and served two terms as the constable of Precinct 4.

"He's worked with Wounded Warriors, bringing burn victims down every year for the fishing tournament," Jerry McCaskill said. "It's just been very mind-boggling to us that this has all come about. He's an outstanding young man in America."



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