A US Air Force officer who previously served on a presidential security detail is facing a possible court-martial in Texas after he encouraged service members to send him photos of their genitals.
Goodfellow Air Force Base Second Lieutenant Travis Burch was charged* with conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman earlier this month, a charge related to a social media group involving flashing one’s genitals next to landmarks and objects around the globe.
The prior-enlisted Burch founded the group, known as “Whiskey Delta Tango,” which had 84 people in its ranks, including 58 active military and 10 veterans among the civilians.
According to investigation reports, the group was founded in 2012 and “was comprised of members who when going someplace deemed ‘cool’ or coming up with a ‘funny’ idea would take a picture of their penis with something related to the location or object in the picture.”
According to the Associated Press, Burch’s defense lawyer, Jeremiah J. Sullivan III, said there is no crime and that the case is built around something done privately in a “jovial, joking spirit.”
“The Air Force has spent well over a year investigating this case all over the globe,” Sullivan said. “This was a completely private group that is now embarrassed by Air Force investigators. They’re now being publicly shamed for lawfully and voluntarily sharing their penis pictures. It’s a private matter.”
The investigation claims Burch told someone his coup de grâce photo was taken at former Vice President Joe Biden’s house while the Airman was on a security detail.
Sullivan confirmed Burch was part of the presidential security detail while stationed at Joint Base Andrews from 2014 to 2016, but denies any such photo was taken.
“There were never photos taken at the White House or the vice president’s house,” he said. “We know that for a fact.”
During a search of Burch’s quarters, investigators found coins and other prizes featuring the symbol of a rooster that were awarded for completing different poses with penises.
A former Technical Sergeant, Burch was selected for Officer Training School in 2015 and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March of 2016. Two months after his commissioning, he texted an airman in Belgium, saying he was going through “withdrawal” and asked the man to send him a lewd video.
One of the charges against Burch alleges he threatened to share a photo of one group member touching his penis if the man didn’t send more images. He rejects the accusation, contending all the photos were taken consensually.
Burch’s younger brother is also an Air Force officer, who graduated flight school in February and is slated to be an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot.
AP reports the Air Force acknowledges Burch’s misconduct charges but has declined to comment further.
*Editor’s note: The article’s headline previously stated that Travis Burch was “arrested” but according to his cousel this was incorect; he was “charged.”
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