Life In The United States Air Force

After graduating from high school in Buffalo, New York, Kirk enlisted in the United States Air Force and entered his adult professional life as a combat cameraman. He attended technical training for most of 1986 at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado.

His first permanent duty assignment was at Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina. While stationed there, Kirk was assigned to the Intelligence section as part of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing HQ staff. He pursued his bachelor's degree at Mount Olive College (now University of Mount Olive) during nights and weekends, maintaining a full course-load and also working full time for the air force.

Post-Graduation: Active Duty In The Gulf War

Eventually, Kirk was promoted to sergeant and upon graduation from Non-Commissioned Officer school, he received the John Levitow Award, the highest educational honor for an enlisted person in the U.S. Air Force. Shortly after that, he graduated from Mount Olive, summa cum laude with a degree in psychology and a 4.0 grade point average.

During this time, issues began heating up in the Middle East, and the 4th TFW was deployed to Al Kharj AB, Saudi Arabia.

Sergeant Obear was assigned to the Joint Forces Combat Camera Team and was responsible for bomb damage assessment and processing gun camera footage for evaluation by the General Norman Schwarzkopf in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If you watched TV during the Gulf War, you probably saw the footage that Sergeant Obear processed for distribution to the media. Unfortunately for his grandmother, CNN was broadcasting live from Al Kharj the night that the Gulf Air War kicked off, and she saw Kirk don his chemical gear and take cover in a tent surrounded by sandbags as the Scud air raid sirens went off. He was able to call home in a couple of days to let her know that he was OK.

Distinguished Service Awards

Sergeant Obear remained in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations for the duration of Operation Desert Storm. During his tour of duty, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Air Force National Defense Service Medal, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with the Valor Device for service during direct combat under enemy fire.

Law School And The JAG Department Of The U.S. Air Force

He was also awarded expert marksmanship medals for the 5/56 mm M-16 rifle, and the 9mm Pistol. When his immediate commander, Colonel David Eberly, was finally released as a POW by the Iraqis, Kirk was approved for a transfer to the Air Force Reserves to attend law school back in his hometown of Buffalo, New York.

He attended the University at Buffalo for three years, and upon graduation Kirk accepted a commission as a First Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General's Department of the United States Air Force. Officer training and JAG School in Alabama took most of 1994.

Promotion To Chief Of Military Justice At Scott Air Force Base

Lieutenant Obear was then assigned to the office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. He was then promoted to captain shortly after his arrival at Scott, and within six months, he assumed the position of Chief of Military Justice for the base.

Part of his training included attending the Attorney General's Institute in Washington, D.C., the trial advocacy school for Assistant United States Attorneys assigned to the various U.S. District Court throughout the country. At the time, only two military officers are permitted to attend the AG trial school each year. In addition to supervising all military justice trial activity at Scott AFB, he was also appointed a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, where he prosecuted federal crimes that were committed by civilians on federal air force property. He prosecuted hundreds of cases during his time as chief of justice.

Peterson Air Force Base

In 1997, Captain Obear was given the opportunity to switch roles and was assigned to be the Area Defense Counsel at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. He represented air force personnel charged with offenses under Uniform Code of Military Justice at Peterson AFB, Falcon AFB, the Air Force Academy, NORAD, Thule AB, Greenland, and Woomera Air Station Australia.

The Air Force Meritorious Service Medal

He achieved the highest acquittal rate of any defense lawyer in the Air Force Judge Advocate's Department during his tour at Peterson — nearly 60 percent of all litigated charges. In 1999, he was awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the highest achievement medal below the Bronze Star.

As his tour at Peterson was nearing its end, Kirk had to decide where his career would go next. He had been in the air force for 13 years at that point. His love of country and commitment to duty had to be balanced against his love for defense work.

Civilian Criminal Defense

The air force offered him an assignment as Circuit Trial Counsel for the European Circuit in Germany, but that would require him to go back to prosecution. Captain Obear opted to seek a job in the civilian world where he would be able to continue the defense trial work he had a passion for. He was fortunate to find a true benefactor and mentor in Barry S. Cohen, a renowned defense lawyer in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, who took Kirk under his wing. He worked with Barry Cohen and Dennis Melowski for nine years. The firm of Melowski, Obear & Cohen was well-known as the pre-eminent law firm in Wisconsin in the area of drunk driving defense.

Eventually, Kirk decided that it was time to run his own practice so that he could take a more active role in national advocacy initiatives and so that he could train younger lawyers how to fight for the rights of defendants. He opened his own practice in 2008, originally "Kirk Obear, Attorney at Law," but eventually transforming into "Kirk Obear and Associates."

A Commitment To Preventing Abuses Of Justice By Overzealous Prosecutors And Police

Since opening his office, he has searched the entire state of Wisconsin for the best and the brightest lawyers who have an absolute commitment to fighting for justice. His lawyers don't get much sleep, and everyone at the firm spends a lot of time in jail (visiting clients of course).

To work for Kirk, a lawyer must not only have the energy, creativity and stamina required for the job, but must also have an unwavering dedication to the "defense ideal" — that is, fighting for the life and reputation of those accused of crimes with the goal of preventing abuses of the justice system by overzealous prosecutors and police.

To this end, Kirk Obear and Associates has achieved unrivaled success and has earned the reputation as true warriors against injustice.