Lance Sigmon

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Lance Sigmon is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and a Civilian Defense Counsel for the United States Armed Forces. He has worked on many key JAG cases, including many high-profile cases involving the scope and jusrisdiction of Military Law. Sigmon lost his bid for United States House of Representatives from North Carolina's 10th congressional district on May 6, 2008 to incumbent Patrick McHenry in the Republican primary.[1]

Background[edit]

Lance Sigmon was born on November 10, 1958, in Newton, NC. His parents are Eddie P. and Boncella Killian Sigmon. He graduated from Newton-Conover High School in 1977. In high school, he participated in the band, played basketball and was named All-Conference his senior year in baseball.[citation needed]

Having enlisted in the Air Force through the Delayed Entry Program on his 18th birthday, Sigmon left home in July 1977 for basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After graduating from basic training, Sigmon trained as a defensive aerial gunner on a B-52H bomber at Castle Air Force Base, California, and spent the next 3½ years stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota.[citation needed] He was the only enlisted crewmember on a B-52H flight crew and was solely responsible for the defense of the aircraft while in flight. Most notably, as a member of one leg of our Nation's nuclear deterrent triad, Sigmon sat on "nuclear alert" for extended periods during the entire period of time he was assigned to Grand Forks.[citation needed]

After completing his Air Force enlistment and being honorably discharged in 1981, Sigmon returned home and began attending Lenoir-Rhyne College using the GI Bill benefits he had earned while enlisted.[citation needed] He then transferred to Western Carolina University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in Accounting and Economics in May, 1985.[citation needed] He married Melissa, his high school sweetheart, in August 1985, and the next week, they moved to Winston-Salem so Sigmon could attend law school at Wake Forest University School of Law.[citation needed]

During his third year of law school, while interviewing for jobs with various law firms, Sigmon felt the desire to return to military service.[citation needed] He and Melissa considered the options and decided that Sigmon would return to the Air Force and accept a commission in the Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) as a 1st Lieutenant.[citation needed]

During the next 17 years, the Sigmon family experienced a variety of military assignments.[citation needed] They began their journey in Florida, traveled north to Alaska, returned to North Carolina (Fayetteville), crossed the Atlantic to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and finally returned to the states and spent the final five years in Washington, DC.[citation needed] During his time in the JAG Corps, Sigmon deployed to Kuwait as the Staff Judge Advocate (head legal advisor) in support of Operation Southern Watch, deployed as legal advisor in support of Operation Uphold Democracy, assisted in aircraft crash investigations in Honduras and Maryland, and routinely advised commanders and junior attorneys on the law of war.[citation needed]

Sigmon filled numerous positions while assigned to the JAG Corps. He worked multi-million dollar claims against the United States, including claims involving medical malpractice and aircraft crashes.[citation needed] He served as a prosecutor at four separate locations, providing commanders with the disciplinary tools necessary to maintain "good order and discipline" in the Air Force.[citation needed] While stationed in Germany, Sigmon served as the chief prosecutor for all Air Force bases in Europe and Southwest Asia.[citation needed] In that position, he also prosecuted the most serious military offenders.[citation needed] Because of his ability to understand the needs and concerns of those facing disciplinary actions, he was hand-picked to serve as sole defense counsel for two separate bases containing more than 10,000 airmen.[citation needed] Sigmon was also appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in Florida and Alaska, where he prosecuted civilians in U.S. Magistrate's Court.[citation needed]

Because of his experience with military criminal issues, Sigmon was appointed as Chief Appellate Counsel for the Air Force.[citation needed] In that position, he was responsible for ensuring that criminal convictions were affirmed in the military appellate courts.[citation needed] After terrorists attacked America on September 11, 2001, Sigmon was personally selected to also serve as an Executive Officer to the Air Force Crisis Action Team which served as the 24-hour, 365-day nerve center of worldwide Air Force operations at the Pentagon.[citation needed] After three years as Chief Appellate Counsel, he was awarded with an appointment as a military judge. In that highly selective and responsible position, Sigmon presided over numerous trials, ensuring that the military courts-martial were conducted in a fair and orderly manner.

In 2005, Sigmon retired from the Air Force, and he and his family returned to Newton, remodeling the home his wife had grown up in. He opened a solo law practice specializing in defending military personnel facing trial by court-martial.[citation needed]

Sigmon is actively involved in his church, Abernethy Memorial United Methodist Church in Newton, NC.[citation needed] While serving in the military, he was also involved in a variety of positions at several levels of the Boy Scout program. He served as a Cub Scout Den Leader, Cubmaster, assistant Scoutmaster and adult trainer.[citation needed]

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