A South Florida man is the subject of an investigation after he gained access to a US Air Reserve base wearing an Air Force uniform and photographed himself on the tarmac with scramble-ready fighter jets.
Home of the 93rd Fighter Squadron (better known as the “Makos”), Homestead Air Reserve Base is a critical part of air security to the southernmost sector of the United States, particularly when the President of the United States is a frequent visitor to America’s most peninsular state.
With F-16C/D Block 30s on the tarmac, armed and ready to go at a moment’s notice, security is no joke at Homestead.
Except, of course, in the case of 20-year-old Diomonte Jean, who seems to be gunning for the title of “King of Stolen Valor” with his recent and rather disturbing stunt.
Posing as an Air Force officer in full uniform, Jean took videos of himself on the tarmac with Mako F-16s, some that were being powered up or readied for possible scramble missions.
Talmecia Minnis, Jean’s godmother, said that her godson is a convincing imposter who has impersonated service members for years.
“I found it hard to believe as well when I went to see the pictures with him by the airplanes and everything.”
However, his most recent stunt has drawn the attention of the feds, something she acknowledges is very serious.
“It’s escalating bad,” she told Channel 7 News Miami. Very bad.”
Even when out of uniform, Jean never seems to be far from trouble. Last year, he was busted for openly carrying a firearm, which is illegal in Florida (barring a few minor exemptions). Upon further investigation, the firearm had been reported stolen.
In this instance, Jean told authorities he had obtained the firearm from a “friend” when they “…were shooting in the military base.” In a related court document, he listed his home resident as Homestead ARB.
Jean told reporters that he was able to get onto the base due to his affiliation with the Civil Air Patrol. However, the CAP told Channel 7 that Jean is “not” a member but said he was allowed to attend a few meetings on base as an escorted guest.
That still doesn’t explain how he got onto the base on other occasions, sometimes dressed as an officer- a serious offense he dismisses as a “prank.”
“Me recording on the base, or recording myself, or just recording the planes, period, was the breach right there.”
When asked how he got on the base on other instances, he told them he simply flashed his driver’s license.
The USAF and FBI have not commented on the matter, as the investigation is ongoing.
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