Lipscomb Claims Probe Near End

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The probe into alleged wrongdoings by a Meridian Air National Guard unit is nearly complete. Guard spokesman, Maj. Danny Blanton, said investigators on Sunday wrapped up interviews of past and current members of the 186th Air Refueling Wing.

Col. Ken Emmanuel of the Florida National Guard, the main investigator, will transcribe the interviews, reach his conclusions and present his report for legal review before turning it over to Adjutant Gen. James Lipscomb.

An investigation concluded earlier this year by the Air Force Inspector General's Office substantiated sixteen allegations of racism, records falsification and corruption within the unit.

The investigator turned over 22 additional allegations, which are the basis for the current probe.

Col. Jody Bryant, who originally blew the whistle on the unit, said the investigation was going better than he had hoped and he believed it would reveal corruption within the Guard.

Blanton also said the Air National Guard has turned over to state officials its probe of a liquor store run on the base of the 186th. The inspector general's report found the store's operation may have violated state and federal laws.