EDWARDS AFB – U.S. Air Force Maj. Aragon R. Ellwanger was found not guilty on all counts at a general court-martial held at Edwards Air Force Base on Friday after a week-long trial. Stephen G. Larson and Jerry A. Behnke of Larson LLP represented Maj. Ellwanger.
An oral surgeon serving the U.S. Air Force for more than a decade, Maj. Ellwanger faced charges related to allegations that he performed an unauthorized surgical procedure and related treatments at the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, where he provided oral surgery and other dental services to Airmen and their families.
Charges of dereliction of duty, signing false records, larceny, and conduct unbecoming an officer were all based on his treatment of his mother, who was allegedly ineligible for military medical care but who was suffering from an infected tumor below her bottom teeth. Although Maj. Ellwanger cooperated with investigators and admitted to making a mistake in treating his mother, the defense urged that the criminal charges were legally inapplicable under the circumstances and reflected unjustified animus from certain of Maj. Ellwanger’s colleagues.
“Today’s verdict is both a great victory and relief for Maj. Ellwanger,” Larson said. “Maj. Ellwanger performed his duty as an officer, a surgeon, and a son, and we are grateful for the Panel members’ decision to embrace reason and relieve Maj. Ellwanger of the lasting burden of a criminal conviction.”
Originally set to take place at Yokota Air Base, Japan, where the charges were filed, the trial was delayed multiple times due to travel restrictions imposed by Japan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and was ultimately transferred to California following a defense motion for a change of venue.