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19th AW JA: Legal readiness for Airmen

a women helps a man in an office

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joyce Bray, 19th Airlift Wing NCO in charge of adverse actions, helps an Airman set up a power of attorney at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 29, 2019. The 19th AW Judge Advocate office provides free legal assistance on base for Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin)

a women stands in legal room with a man

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joyce Bray, 19th Airlift Wing NCO in charge of adverse actions, and U.S. Air Force Major Ryan Richter, 19th AW deputy staff judge advocate, go through legal practices at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 29, 2019. While helping Airmen is a significant part of what legal does, the office knows the importance in upholding standards set by the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin)

a man reads a book

U.S. Air Force Major Ryan Richter, 19th Airlift Wing deputy staff judge advocate, reads a law book at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Aug. 29, 2019. The legal office frequently handles wills and powers of attorney, however they are also equipped to help with a variety of issues with which service members may need guidance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

For service members it’s important to ensure personal property, finances and loved ones are taken care of at all times. The 19th Airlift Wing Judge Advocate Office provides free legal assistance locally for Airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

“A lot of people just associate us with punishing people, and that’s not all we’re here for,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joyce Bray, NCO in charge of adverse actions.

Visiting Team Little Rock’s legal office is one of the key components of ensuring combat readiness by maintaining one’s legal affairs.

“Airmen should be legally ready all the time, not just when tasked with deployment,” said U.S. Air Force Major Ryan Richter, 19th AW deputy staff judge advocate. “Don’t wait until you’re 15 days out to get on a plane to go to the Middle East.”

It is still highly recommended by the legal office for Airmen about to deploy to come see them before they leave.

“We can help you set up your affairs before you leave to help alleviate stress,” Bray said. “With a power of attorney it will help so you don’t have to worry about what happens – even something small such as when your spouse is at home and loses an ID card.”

The office frequently handles wills and powers of attorney, however they are also equipped to help with a variety of issues with which members may need guidance.  

“We have legal assistance appointments for Airmen who maybe just want to talk to an attorney,” Richter said. “We can help with family law issues, difficulty with landlords, an issue with a car or anything that there could be a legal issue with and they just need some advice. If we can’t help, we can give them resources. Coming to see us is a way to figure out where to start.”

While helping Airmen is a significant part of what they do, the office knows the importance of upholding standards set by the Air Force.

“The law touches everything we do as an Air Force,” Richter said. “Assisting commanders with things such as disciplinary administrative actions helps keep us a disciplined force, and a disciplined force is a more effective fighting force. We can’t have criminality if we’re going to accomplish the mission.”

According to Bray, the legal team makes the effort to let all the newcomers know what they offer.

“Our main job is to help everyone who walks through our door,” Bray said. “Whether it’s to point you in the right direction or to let you leave with the correct document, we’ll answer your questions the best we can.”

The Judge Advocate office is located in building 1250. Walk-in times for legal assistance are Mondays from 2-3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9-11 a.m. To make an appointment, call (501) 987-7886.

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