Tuesday, September 30, 1997

The Court-Martial of Sandra Gilbert - 40

Arrogant marine Lt. Col. Turner charged 1st Lt. Sandra Gilbert, top in her class as a Cobra pilot, with disobeying his specific order and "conduct unbecoming" when she "related" with Gunnery Sgt. Maxwell Frankl. Harm tried to tease Mac about her quick volunteering to investigate the case. She said that she just wanted Gilbert to get a fair shake and H returned "no playing the gender card." General McCartney called Chegwidden at home to request that everything be handled "quietly" because he was undergoing interrogation by congress for funding. When M arrived with Bud, Turner just made them stand there at attention waiting for him to finally talk so they would have to submit to his "power." He told M that C had told him that she was "cold blooded" and would be fair on the case. Without jumping to his baiting she merely asked for the file and instead of handing it to her, Turner just dropped it on his desk trying to make her have to stoop to get it. Bud, seeing his disrespect, picked up the file for her. Turner had already filed charges - WITHOUT INVESTIGATION, claiming it was his prerogative and grounded her in the middle of her flight quals. Turner claimed that he had given a direct order to Gilbert to stop her affair with Frankl. Congresswoman Bobbi Latham was shown dragging Gen McCartney over the coals in her budget hearings. She defiantly flailed about claiming that she was "going to get to the bottom of this" (referring a 'good ol' boy's network); then, inflicted herself in the middle of the trial.

Gilbert had been invited to a birthday dinner given for her by the Frankl children while his wife was away. Mrs. Frankl returned home unexpectedly and blew up. H was assigned to defend and M prosecute. Both Frankl and Gilbert claimed that there had never been any affair and that Gilbert had only been "counseling" Frankl over his marital difficulties. Mac's legal tactics were specious and she led Mrs. Frankl into making assumptions which were completely ludicrous. Then she began objecting to H's almost every question. H actually adequately broke down both Mrs. Frankl's assumptions as well as Turners arrogant "railroading." T said that he had acted on an "anonymous hotline" phone call; but, that he had never given Gilbert the courtesy of telling her about it claiming that "even the perception of impropriety" needed action. He also had never put his order in writing and said that he couldn't recall his specific wording. "But," he said, "Gilbert knew what I meant!" Latham demanded a Cobra demonstration flight from Turner and took H with her during her request. When Turner said "he couldn't reverse" his grounding so Gilbert could take her, Latham asked H "is he telling the truth?" Reluctantly H said that he could reinstate Gilbert. After the flight, Latham slinkily forced herself on H in a bar and told him that "if the Pentagon had cashiered every officer during WWII who committed adultery, Hitler's children would be sitting in the White House instead of Bill Clinton." She inflicted personal questions on H about previous loves. He said that it had been his best friends wife (Annie Pendry) so he hadn't said anything. Latham started to rag on him about wanting a "little woman waiting patiently for her 'man' to come home from the war"; until, he shut her up by saying "that was my mother's life." Referring to her colleague Congresswoman DeLong (an arrogant congresswoman whose manipulative interference actually killed an incompetent female navy pilot) she told H that "I don't dislike you as much as DeLong said I would.

Bud found that Gilbert was actually pregnant from her medical records (?!). Gilbert finally admitted to H that they actually did have an affair but Frankl had broken it off many months ago. It was Frankl's daughter who had called and asked her to come over to the party while their mother was gone. H tried to get M to back off on the charges; but, she threw his previous words back in his face to "not play the gender card." H found that four male officers had also been found in adultery at Pendleton but none of them had been charged. He claimed it was "selective prosecution" but M still wouldn't budge. Latham went ballistic when H wouldn't tell her confidential information. He had to back her down by asking "are you trying to threaten me?" She replied "is a pig's ass pork?" She then went to talk to Gilbert personally demanding that she "wouldn't let you quit." Gilbert finally admitted that she had had the affair but that Frankl had broken it off a long time ago. She said that she "knew it was wrong, but I was just so damned lonely… and now I've lost everything that I love." Latham added "except your baby." H worked out an "administrative discharge" with M and Gilbert wouldn't contest it. He then told Turner that Gilbert wouldn't let him file charges against him for "selective prosecution." He was incensed but H threw his own words back at him "It's the perception of impropriety that counts." Turner let her finish her quals and she passed number one in her group.

Tuesday, September 23, 1997

Ghost Ship - 39

[A very pivotal episode in that Harm finds critical information which eventually leads to him finding closure about his father. Not only with an artifact but with "networking" into the KGB.] Alameda country was trying to raise the money to refurbish and keep up the mothballed carrier, USS Hornet, for use as a museum. Two fortune seekers, Sibby Le Negro and Andy Kochifis, were cut torching into the "void" between the inner and outer hulls for possible artifacts when they found the skeleton of Lt Brian Tate, who served with Harm's dad. Tate was clutching a "Skoshi Tiger" patch worn by Vietnamese F5 pilots and wearing an unmarked "go to hell" watch. Chegwidden sent Harm and Mac to investigate and Bud reluctantly stayed behind for research. H remembered his childhood visit to the Hornet with his father when he got to set in a cockpit. Harriett went to the military archives with Bud for research and met an "old flame," Millie Shaker. Flummoxed, Bud said he was looking for the "USS Horney" records. A man introducing himself as "Mark Falcon" of the Alameda Police said he was "on his own time" and joined H and M in the investigation. Falcon said he had been an army MP in Saigon for a year and that the salvagers were looking for "something else" cause they didn't need to torch into the void in order to calculate a bid. Hs dad had flown "167 missions over the north, half of them off the Hornet." H had his mother send his father's audio tapes from her home in La Jolla then used them to "take a walk with my dad." [Then they used eerie music and odd camera angles to make it look as though he was being watched.]

The autopsy showed the skeleton was 25-30 year-old Caucasian, died from blunt force trauma to back of head, and had the patch clutched in his fist. When Falcon seem incredulous about keeping old records, H quipped "this is the navy we have Popeye's enlistment papers somewhere." They found the skeleton's name and that he had gone "missing" on Apr 30, 1975 - the day Saigon fell. M told H that B had been without sleep for 34 hours and 24 minutes so H asked how she did it. She quipped back "my mother was Swiss." H reverie'd about carrier takeoff's then into the hanger bay and finally "down to the O2 level where Tom Boone and I billet." H fell, hitting his head, and when he awoke saw a shadow looking down at him before M, Falcon and Le Negro found him. Le Negro tried was arrogant and tried to convince H that he had broken through a chain barrier. Falcon and M went to question Andy and when he stonewalled, Falcon grabbed him by the gonads to force his explanation that they had been looking for the gold that was rumored to be in the void since the fall of Saigon.

Bud notified H that a Skoshi Tiger, Col Nguyen, had also been aboard the Hornet on that day but was lost on a flight to Guam with a SOG officer (cover for CIA in Vietnam). Then after his call Webb brought B a pizza- and information that he found the KGB was also on the track of their investigation. Harm continued his "walk with his dad" alone and was visited by a man (who he thought was his dad) who led him into a berthing compartment before he passed out. H was found the next morning by M and Falcon who called an ambulance. While Falcon was away M revealed information from Bs second call, namely: Nguyen's plane had been sabotaged after he had boarded the Hornet with a list of names that he wanted to trade for the good life in Paris-- American MIAs that the Russians were holding in Russia at the end of the war. Nguyen had approached 2 CIA agents. One had been on Nguyen's flight the other "went missing" after the war and was thought to have been a double agent. H conjectured that Nguyen had killed Tate, and hid his body in the void, because Tate had seen where he had hidden his book. The berth that they were in wasn't Hs dad's so he believed to have been Tate himself who had led him there. H looked behind a grill in the wall (where his dad had said that he and Boone had hid their bourbon) and found the book - with his dad's name in it! They were just leaving when they were trapped by a fire (possibly set by LeNegro). H, still woozy from his hit on the head, saw the personage of Tate again who led them down and around the passageways to an exit.

H was hospitalized for 2 days and asked B to tell W thanks. W replied that "his dad paid that debt long ago." B told Ht that he "just wanted one girl in port-- her" and she asked "does that mean we're going steady"? When H and M appeared at the Alameda police office to retrieve the book from the evidence room, they found: 1) a boy delivering a pizza (same actor who later played Bud's brother "Mikey"); and, 2) that Falcon was a black officer who had never seen them before. "Falcon" was then shown on a Russian flight with Hs book. Harm's voiceover said "I'll find him if it takes the rest of my life."