Vermont National Guard whistleblower speaks out

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The Vermont National Guard is under fire. As the Guard responds to accusations of toxic behavior, our Darren Perron spoke with one of the whistleblowers about why he came forward.

"I know the Vermont National Guard as a whole is a great organization," Lt. Col. Jeff Rector said.

Rector spent nearly 30 years at the Air Guard, rising through the ranks to lieutenant colonel.

That all came to an end in 2016. He was escorted off base and told not to come back.

"I saw these things happening and I wasn't OK with it," he said.

Rector was accused of threatening an official and impeding a sexual misconduct investigation, accusations he denies. Rector says they were drummed up charges that were retaliation because he raised concerns about some senior Guard leaders. Those included alleged sexual misconduct by a chaplain and a colonel who flew a fighter jet to a romantic rendezvous.

Lt. Col. Jeff Rector: I didn't want us to be looked at, especially with the future aircraft, future missions coming down the road, we needed to stop that. It was not OK, he knew the rules, he shouldn't have been doing it, bottom line.
Darren Perron: ...because some may wonder if you were simply a disgruntled member of the Guard. That you may have had it out for the Guard. That's not what's happening here?
Lt. Col. Jeff Rector: No, sir. You know, I've lost many nights of sleep over this. When I finally got a point where I said, and I was hearing from others inside the organization that were struggling with seeing the same sort of culture that I was witnessing.

He disputes Gen. Cray's assertion that Guard leaders handled misconduct reports properly. He says there's a lack of transparency and anyone who tries to expose wrongdoing could be ostracized and forced out like he was.

"It's about leadership, transparency, trust. I think you know, again, there's a lot of good people there. And there's a few, in my opinion, there's a few leaders that need to have a little bit better oversight of what's going on," Rector said.

Rector's legal fight with the Guard has gone on for two years. He's fighting his discharge and wants to resign instead. He also wants his security clearance back so he can apply for federal jobs.

You can hear Darren's entire interview with Jeff Rector this Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. on Channel 3's "You Can Quote Me."