A high-ranking military official faces multiple charges after allegedly wearing medals on her uniform she didn’t earn.
Lieutenant-Colonel Debbie Miller, a 34-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces currently posted to the Canadian Defence Academy in Kingston, is expected in court in October on three charges of unlawful use of military uniforms or certificates.
The 57-year-old also faces eight charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.
Military police launched the investigation after another member of the military filed a complaint about Lt.-Col. Miller’s medals in December, 2012, said Captain David Hitchcock, detachment commander at 2 Military Police Regiment in Kingston. Lt.-Col. Miller was charged in April the next year.
“I believe she was outed at an event or something with her unit and someone there noticed,” Capt. Hitchcock said, adding that investigators then conducted interviews and used photos to probe the allegations against Lt.-Col. Miller.
Captain Joanna Labonte, spokesperson for the Provost Marshal, said Lt.-Col. Miller is still on duty in Kingston, though it’s unclear whether her duties have changed.
Lt.-Col. Miller did not return multiple voicemail messages left at her Defence Academy number in Kingston.
While in Kingston, Lt.-Col. Miller reviewed books and wrote an opinion piece for the Canadian Military Journal about a new strategy to modernize armed-forces training and education.
In a short biography under her articles, she used the postnominal letters OMM and CD, suggesting she’d received the Order of Military Merit for officers, a badge recognizing exceptional service by a Canadian Forces member, and the Canadian Forces’ Decoration medal, awarded for completing 12 years of service. Capt. Hitchcock refused to confirm which medals are at the centre of the allegations against Lt.-Col. Miller.
Lt.-Col. Miller was also stationed until 2009 at CFB Trenton, the air-force base that manages delivering supplies, troops, equipment and humanitarian cargo worldwide. She was quoted in several publications in 2008 and 2009, including CFB Trenton’s weekly newspaper the Contact, Northumberland News and the Belleville Intelligencer, while she served as the administration officer, speaking about the base’s need for more resources and promoting a 2009 anniversary celebration and air show.
In a February, 2009, issue of the Contact, Lt.-Col. Miller wrote a short piece about a Crystal Ball event sponsored by the Quinte Children’s Foundation to raise money to prevent child abuse and help children go to summer camp or play sports.
“I was once a child and I well know what it was like to be loved, encouraged, educated, and made fell like a part of a great community,” Lt.-Col. Miller wrote. “My siblings and I grew up in an atmosphere of encouragement and the fact that anything was possible, so I cannot imagine a child not being able to participate in something they loved.”
She and four others were recognized by the foundation for their efforts to improve children’s lives.
Capt. Labonte said it wasn’t common for military personnel to be charged with unlawful use of uniforms.
The highest penalty for someone convicted of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline is dismissal from service with disgrace.