Wednesday, January 13, 1999

War Stories - 74

Chegwidden C assigned Mac (M) and Bud (B) to defend Commander Thomas Risnicki, leader of SEAL team 8, charged with involuntary manslaughter and disobeying orders. He had delayed his assigned rescue mission for 2.5 hours due to adiabatic fog which probably would have killed the team then found the three NATO hostages hung. They were killed by an ultra radical faction of the Yugoslav army who had given NATO a day to leave the country. When the team arrived 37 minutes late the observers were dead and the SECNAV told C "you could hear NATO Commander, Major General Richard Plesac's screams all the way to the White House." C appointed Harm (H) to act as JAG during his "forced" use of vacation time. Brum asked H about defending a tuba player who struck a "flatulent note" as the president sat down, and Harriet (Ht) asked about naming their son. When H suggested naming after naval hero's they all commented that H seemed "different," "older," and "getting taller." With Plesac on the stand M brought out his previous reprimand for "ignoring intel, being ambushed, and the 14 men who died were not worth another bar on his shoulder." Plesac shouted at M then went to the SECNAV who demanded to see H. M said she was going to call Plesac again because he had a "history of loosing men under fire" and wanted to "contrast his apparent disregard for lives with Risnicki's concern." When H disagreed with Ms need to "shift blame" onto Plesac in order to win the case, M told him that when he "got power he became as political as the SECNAV."

Unable to find anything to do, C kept calling H and told him to "call or stop by anytime." He finally drove to JAG headquarters only to find Fran Glass producing a movie, "Field of Gold" starring Dan Lander, being shot in front. After dressing down an actor, thinking he was a disgraceful soldier, Glass convinced him to work as "technical advisor" for the show. When H came that night to talk he found C with the co-star as a date. H said that M had not taken his advice and C reminded him of all the times he had ignored the advice C had given. C said that he had to "decide what was best for the case: defending your authority or the choices of the people who define it." Then advised that H "get a handkerchief." The SECNAV ranted and raved in Hs face about maligning Plesac and said that "if M called him again he would make him personally responsible for the fall out." H told M that it would be her call. Risnicki found that B hadn't taken the bar and threatened to dismiss him. H told Risnicki that his "best shot was to use his strongest ally" so he didn't fire him. B found that the bodies were already cold and stiff so that they must have been killed at least a day before. Risnicki's delay had kept them from falling into a trap. He was found Not Guilty of manslaughter but guilty of disobeying an order. Risnicki apologized to B; and, when told he didn't need to advised B to "accept any and all acts of contrition because you don't often see it." C was fired from the movie because he dressed down the director for rudeness. When he returned he had become used to all the snacks on the set so told Ht to see that JAG got some. They asked if they could name their baby after C and he said he was honored. They all were happy until C revealed that he expected them to name him "Albert Jethro Roberts."

Tuesday, January 12, 1999

Dungaree Justice - 73

[A follow-up to the episode where Mac confessed to killing her estranged ex-con husband] Mattoni prosecuted Mac (M) for "lying" in the court-martial of her and her ex-CO, John Farrow, over the death of Christopher Ragle her estranged, (but not divorced) ex-con, husband. Harm (H) defended her arguing that it wasn't to avoid punishment or germane to the case because they were wrongly charged so it didn't rise to the level of perjury. Adm Morris agreed and sent her to Captains mast before Chegwidden (C) who wasn't very happy. He chewed her out for not only lying but for not trusting him and making him think she had murdered her husband. He said he was withdrawing his recommendation for her early promotion to Lt Col. and would dismiss her from JAG if she ever lied again.

Mikey (Mk) had been coerced into joining the navy by his father and came to Bud (B) to ask him to get him out of it. Tiner helped B find possible excuses behind Cs back. C told them that he hadn't "seen someone look so guilty since his last visit to the white house." B couldn't find a "loophole" and advised that he would have to "suck it up." Mk said B was just like dad and hope he "did a better job raising his son than dad on us." Later he came back and apologized saying he was a great brother and the baby was lucky to have him as a father. B took him to the navy art gallery at Annapolis and said that after boot camp he would try and help him get into the navy combat art program.

The owner of a bar, Peter Reardon, was beat up by 3 sailors who said they were doing it for "the Hawk." Reardon identified PO3 Wade Colbert, (actual beater), seaman Hendrix and seaman Olin. M and H investigated and found that the three denied knowing anything about either the beating or "the Hawk." They asked questions of the ships captain about non-cooperation in what they were calling "unit cohesiveness." He got angry at them but while on the bridge they overheard a radio transmission referencing "the Hawk," PO Lopez, a female gunner. She claimed not to know anything either, and denied being in the bar that night. They recommended referral to an article 32 hearing and were assigned to prosecute while Brumby (Brum) defended. C told them to identify, up to the top, if there was a culture aboard the ship that condones dungaree justice. They found that Lopez had missed role call two weeks previously after getting drunk with her three buddies at Reardon's bar. While she was in the restroom the three left in bar, drunk, and when they didn't return Reardon gave her coffee then helped her to her car to sleep it off when she couldn't find her keys. M and H interrogated her about her lying by omission and, after H left, she told M that she was just trying to "fit in" by not complaining. M told her that she could recognize the signs of someone who is trying to forget a drunken indiscretion. On the stand H got her to admit that she had passed out in the car then awoke finding she had been raped and drove home after finding her keys on the floor of the car. She had missed muster then told Colbert about it. H went to Reardon with accusations but he (luckily?) had been wounded in Vietnam and was impotent so couldn't have done it. Brum let H talk to the three and advised them they had beaten the wrong man.

Hendrix and Olin got civilian lawyers and turned evidence against Colbert for immunity against prosecution. On the stand Hendrix said that they had taken Lopez' keys for "survival training" and that it was Colbert who had the idea to beat Reardon up and actually did it. H got Olin to say that Colbert had taken her keys but had given them to him. H charged that it was he who had gone back and raped Lopez but the keys fell out of his pocket onto the floor. H told him that he had immunity from the assault charges not rape. He denied it on the stand but when Lopez asked him "why did you do it?" in the hall he told her that "military wasn't a woman's game." He said he "didn't join up to have some girl calling my gunnery," in front of M and H. At episodes end H saw C watching a ZNN report about the kidnapping of 3 NATO observers in Kosovo. There was a 24 hour deadline for NATO withdrawal. C said almost all at the Pentagon "were looking pretty grim;" and when H asked who wasn't looking grim, replied "some of my old friends."