Air Force Colonel Set To Take Command Of Air Force One Base Jailed For Five Years On Child Pornography Charges

A decorated U.S. Air Force colonel slated to take command of the base that hosts Air Force One has been sentenced to five years in prison for receiving child pornography.

Mark Visconi, 48, of Fairfax, Virginia, was jailed on Friday after he plead guilty to receipt of child pornography in October. He was also sentenced to 15 years of supervised release in a federal court in Alexandria.

Visconi used the anonymous Tor network to download child pornography, according to a news release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A forensic review of his laptop showed he had downloaded and viewed "numerous" pictures and videos of child pornography.

According to court documents, he also took 441 pictures on his own phone "focusing on the clothed buttocks" of underage girls. Some of these pictures were "upskirting" images and prosecutors said the girls did not appear to be aware they were being taken.

"This man not only deliberately sought out illicit content, he produced and distributed it. He made himself a participant in this cruel, abhorrent industry that exploits the most the vulnerable in our society – our children," said Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations.

Visconi won two Bronze Star medals for combat missions in Iraq, where he also trained Iraqi pilots on how to carry out counterinsurgency operations, USA Today reported.

Before his arrest, Visconi served as the chief of the Air Force's counter-drone task force and was on track to take command of the 11th Air Wing at Joint Base Andrews, the home of Air Force One, Air Force spokeswoman Lynn Kirby told Task & Purpose.

But now, the Air Force will seek to have him removed from service.

"He is still currently a colonel in the Air Force," Air Force spokeswoman Carrie Volpe told Newsweek.

"Now that sentencing is complete, the Air Force will begin the process to have him removed from the service. If approved, this will result in the loss of Col. Visconi's ability to apply for retirement or to receive any other benefit afforded for honorable service."

His security clearance was suspended after the Air Force was alerted to his activity on the dark web by law enforcement agencies, an Air Force official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told USA Today. The Air Force has been contacted for additional comment.

Visconi was also ordered to pay restitution to one identified victim and complete 50 hours of community service by speaking or writing about his experience and conviction, ICE said.

The five-year jail sentence handed to him by Judge T.S. Ellis III is less than the 10-year sentence prosecutors sought, the Associated Press reported.

James Phillips, an attorney for Visconi, has been contacted for comment.

This article has been updated with a comment from the Air Force.

Mark Visconi
Mark Visconi, pictured receiving an award in 2007, has been sentenced to five years in prison on child pornography charges. U.S. Air Force