Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Surface Warfare - 110

Mikey (Mk) was charged with mis-setting a CIWS gun (6,000 rounds/minute) and nearly hitting a boat of disembarking marines during a politically charged training exercise in Florida- all in the setting of two arrogant and abusive leaders. As fire control man aboard the USS Wake Island he took over control of shooting down a drone after the prime control center had a malfunction. The drone should have gone around again but Capt Lyle ordered Mk to go ahead when Marine Colonel Pergament said he didn't have time. Mk told the XO he "didn't do it," a "little too loud" so Lyle threw him in the brig on bread and water for 3 days; which is where Bud (B)found him. B begged Chegwidden (C) to let him go "assist" Mk (and C didn't send anyone else?) then began asking questions of the crew. Mk's apprentice, Harold Schofield, said he checked the "no-fire" settings and they were correct. The landing boatman said the marines had been off course and had corrected. Pergament took issue of B questions and sent him "unofficially" to the brig for 24-hours to question his own brother. C sent Mac (M) to straighten it out. B told her that she was a "marine and could break through their wall of silence." Pergament told her that she "was a marine and could break through the navy crap." The infighting continued between marines (who used all the water and took two pieces of pie each) and sailors and their leaders. When Mk got out his buddies told him he should have aimed higher to actually hit the "jarheads." Local environmentalists were trying to obstruct the navy's use of Florida land after a mishap in Puerto Rico had killed a civilian and the governor had kicked the navy off their routine practice site. When M asked Lyle why he didn't have the drone go around again he got angry with her. So C sent H down to settle things down. H saw the series of mishaps as a pattern. A protest rubber raft steered directly at the ship "looking for an incident which would make headlines." The protesters all jumped in the water then sent their boat into the ships hull. H spoke with a female protestor and found that she knew of the gun incident and Mk by name. Seeing their hurried, poor planning of the incident he realized it had been last minute because they thought the exercise would have already been canceled. She confessed that the group had "hacked into the navy computer and caused the gun accident." H recommended the exercise be cancelled which ticked off both Lyle and Pergament.

So C, the SECNAV and Webb (W), all came to make people play nice! (W ostensibly thought it might be a Cuban plot to get the navy back to Puerto Rico.) H conjectured that the protestors might not have hacked into the computer but had a spy instead. He suggested that Mk "walk them through it." Mk left the console for a 5 min head break and again afterwards to see what had happened. Both times he locked it but Schofield had access. H "chatted" Schofield into admitting that his girlfriend Jennifer had talked him into sabotaging the gun to fire close to the marines- but they really
C was receiving an award at a Surface Warfare Ball and B was assigned to write his speech. C panicked through episode as the speech wasn't written. Singer (S) was to have gone with a Lt Cdr assigned to the joint chiefs. H with Renee, C with Walden and M stag. S offered to get M a date which she declined. Walden wanted to meet all Cs friends. He asked H if they were friends if they called each other "sir." Harriet (Ht) worried she didn't fit in any dress and Renee offered to get a dress worn by Madonna when she was pregnant. When she told B he replied that she couldn't wear a dress stolen from Madonna. Gunny (G) found Tiner (Ti) with his feet up behind Cs desk and reprimanded him. Ss date was a no-show so she hooked up with doofus JAG lawyer "Alfred." Renee brought Madonna's dress for Ht but she refused until they got a "ruling" from S who said "it's Kosher." B "wow'd" at Ht in the dress. M was alone until Brumby magically appeared having, without telling M, "reserved" his commission and moved to DC to "be near the one he loved." H and M "looked" at each other as they went into the ball - (hence the season cliff hanger.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Body Talk - 109

Lt Commander Teresa Coulter came to her parents house and found her mother dead in bed. She turned down the thermostat, opened the window, stopped the record player stuck on a depressing song and noticed the dead goldfish. Ten years later she stormed into Harm's (H) office having found out that he had obtained a new trial from an appellate court for her father who was doing time in Leavenworth for murder. H told her that the defense attorney was only 26 years old, first murder trial, conducted ineffective cross examination, and failed to interview key witnesses. Captain Chaddock, her father, said that he'd written to Teresa many times without response. He was self incriminating regarding being abusive to his wife and forcing Teresa to hate him. He wasn't worried about Hs conflict of interest knowing his daughter because "H was a principled man." Mac (M) was assigned to prosecute and Bud (B) as Hs second chair. Capt French, Chaddock's next door neighbor, said he'd heard many arguments from the Captain but only twice from the wife: once, the day of the death when Captain left; and, second, the day before with Rory Coulter, her son-in-law. He told NCIS about it but they weren't interested. French said that a furnace repairman had been there and heard the argument as well. Teresa informed that Rory had a job offer in California and they were going to move which upset her mother greatly. She said that Rory was a weak man who ran from problems and had left her after her mother died rather than face Teresa's grief. She told H if he valued their friendship he'd drop Rory as a suspect. He went to talk to Rory and found that he had stolen a car when he was 18, hadn't put it on his job application, and his mother-in-law had told him that she had "ways to stop me" from taking Teresa to California. The job otter was withdrawn shortly afterward so she must have called the company and told them. Rory got upset with H and B and stormed out, leaving his jacket. H was showing plainly that all the prosecution evidence was circumstantial. Teresa wouldn't speak to her father in court. She testified that he had berated her mother on a daily basis and had threatened to kill her if she ever told him to shut up again. A week before her death, her mother had called Teresa and said she had thrown the Capt out because he had assaulted her. B got her to admit that her mother and husband had been angry with each other. There was a single un-identified hair found on her mothers body which B matched to a hair on Rory's coat left in the office. M refused to bargain. Gunny (G) found that the repairman Ramón Arguento had run out of material, left repair of the propane furnace undone and advised against using it.

Rory refused to talk to M, on his attorney's advice, so she brought Teresa. Teresa asked him why he was acting so guilty. Later he skipped town which hurt Ms case so Teresa offered to help "find more evidence against him" and asked for the autopsy. Instead, she found that the autopsy showed "minimal brain swelling" not matching the supposed cause of death by trauma. She refused Hs request for exhumation. Her father testified that he had threatened his wife many times but the first time he ever hurt her was a week before her death when he pushed her and she hit her head on a bed post. She never left him because she was afraid to be left all alone but she called him every day at the motel. He had argued with her but she refused to take him back. Based on that Teresa allowed the exhumation which showed that there had been some bone healing of the fracture before death. H and B stayed into the night going over seemingly unrelated clues then, the next day, were shown examining Teresa on the stand and revealing that her mother had committed suicide by turning on the defective furnace expelling carbon monoxide into the room and also killing the fish. He was acquitted. H and M push Teresa into finally talking with her father. She just said "Hi."

Lt Irene Charter, daughter of deceased Admiral Leslie Charter and close friend of Chegwidden's (C)
came to ask C a favor. She said she was "terminal" in 3 months with pancreatic cancer and wanted to be buried next to her parents in Arlington but was getting run-around from the cemetery supervisor. C told her that he would try and help then went to speak with the supervisor. The supervisor told C that reservations were not allowed then lied that the plot in question was already filled. C confronted him with his lie and said "tell me the truth or I'll walk out there with a spade and check for myself." The supervisor said that he "wasn't in a position to reveal who had 'reserved' it," and C threatened "exactly what position would make you change your mind?" Not able to find his phone, C went to General Pipin's address and found that he was having a retirement party. Pipin was being shagged by a widow, Marjorie, and told C he would relinquish the plot if he would do him a favor. C had to dance with Marjorie. Dr Walden came to visit Cs office and was told "she looked luminous." She told him "you look vigorous." H accidentally walked in on them and Walden suggested that they "double socially" to Cs stares. Then Irene came back and, before C could tell her that he had gotten the plot, said that she didn't want the plot anymore because she had sought a second opinion and had been misdiagnosed so she wasn't dying.

Tuesday, May 9, 2000

Real Deal Seal - 107

[This episode had such a ridiculously implausible plot line so as to be insulting to regular viewers and damaging to DJ Elliot's character (Harm) who was shown to lie to Mac, unrealistically put his life in danger, and be derelict in his legal skills.] Lt Curtis Rivers, using his medal of honor, crashed an election rally for "Wild Bill" Layton running for the senate, and called him an imposter. Layton, who was wearing his navy pin on his lapel, told everyone that he was a "Navy SEAL" and running on the platform of "integrity in government and family values." Rivers removed the pin and Layton took a swing at him. Rivers held his hands up and stepped back until Layton came at him again so he decked him. Chegwidden (C) told Harm (H) that Layton wasn't a SEAL but had received a Navy Cross. Also that Rivers was in a group of retired SEALS who exposed imposters. B said there were "more fraudulent SEALS than real ones." C assigned H to try and obtain an apology from Rivers so any charges would "go away." Senator Henry Barrington asked C for permission to submit his name for a federal judgeship then segwayed, without gratification, into Layton's case. Rivers refused H the apology and instead told him of another imposter who was a gun for hire. The FBI knew about him but were stymied. C asked Bud (B) to help with the application and B told he would be good for the job but would the job be good for him. Mac (M) was assigned to prosecute but wanted 24 hours to reason with Layton. Instead she found a campaign manager who quoted a focus group that said to "convict Rivers" and that "compassion was in this year." When M pointed out that the spotlight would be turned on him, Layton said he "had nothing to hide." H offered to defend Rivers but he declined saying he'd "do it himself" and that H could be 2nd chair. Instead he told H of the imposter-assassin, Earl Ticktin, who washed out of Navy after basic and had three confirmed kills. Rivers smugly told H that he'd hired Ticktin to kill H as bait(?!!). Then convinced him to go along with it by basically calling him "chicken" (?!!) He introduced H to Pops Munchak and Vic Velasco who were arguing with each other. Rivers said "relax, I'd trust them with my life," and H retorted "I'd trust them with YOUR life too." They then offered to "call off the hit" if H said so and he didn't (?!!) Rivers made his own opening statement and began eloquently using rhetoric about SEALS. M objected, and the judge asked him if H could perform the duties of a SEAL. He responded "no," so she asked him "what makes you think you do the job of a trial lawyer." He responded "because he knew the truth" and she quipped "obviously you've never been to law school."

H went jogging with Rivers who was explaining his defense strategy to claim that he was making a citizens arrest. H pointed that he hadn't arrested only forcibly removed the pin and punched him. Rivers claimed "in self-defense" but then macho-ly claimed that he had not felt the least bit threatened by Layton. Munchak took a shot at a sniper targeting H but missed and lost him on a motorcycle. Rivers said "we'll get him next time" and H merely shook his head (?!!) The sniper loaded his own shells, 7.62 mm with soft rim primers and hollow point. Rivers remembered a previous FBI case sighting of a motorcycle so they went to talk to police chief Carson. There was a report of someone shooting transformers and setting off explosives in the Vallecito Mtn's. The FBI had investigated after someone had confessed hiring a contract killer and made a pay drop in the location but couldn't find anything. H told M that he didn't know why anyone would try and kill him. M said she "hoped he wasn't involved in one of Rivers crazy scheme's and H said "you know me better than that!" (?!!) M made the motion to prevent H from bringing up Layton's military record and the Judge Granted the motion. Layton lied that Rivers assaulted him. H did convince Rivers to let him cross-examine Layton. Rivers told the judge "there are different kinds of beaches to storm, this one is Cdr Rabb's." H let Layton pontificate and his playing to the crowd brought up his military service so, with the door open, H was able to impeach his military record. Layton claimed that he "didn't go around touting his own horn about his decorations." He said he "earned his trident in the field (?!!) when he rescued 3 POWs." H showed only one American had ever been rescued from captivity during the entire Vietnam war. Layton claimed that it was a black op, and no-one would admit it. The rest of his platoon disappeared in Cambodia- he was on solo recon and never made the mission.

Barrington began trying to pull strings with C for his friend "Bill Layton." Carson called H to come up to a cabin he found in the mountains before the FBI got there and H went without telling anyone (?!!) Rivers had his buddies check if Layton's Navy Cross was really classified. (?!!) Claiming that Ticktin had been sighted, he got H to go with him to the cabin. H called M to ask her to request a continuance but didn't reveal anything (?!!). When M was receiving the continuance Rivers objected claiming that he was ready (?!!) then, only after Layton was on the stand, Munchak rushed in with evidence he'd just obtained. Rivers asked how he obtained his Cross and Layton described a "riverine OP on the Mekong Delta where he captured a North VN Major on an ambush and abduction mission under fire then interrogated him to reveal a weapons stockpile. Rivers pointed out that Layton had been in a public affairs office writing press releases and Layton gloated "before he was transferred to combat unit." Rivers had Layton read one of his press releases which turned out to be of PO Mora with the exact same details Layton had just claimed for himself! Rivers asked him to describe any of the men in his unit that disappeared or give names and his couldn't. Rivers called him a coward, liar and imposter and Layton just sat there. Carson sent H around to the back of the cabin and claimed that he was an excellent shot and could cover him. He said he loaded his own ammo and described the same ammo that H knew of the sniper. Suspicious, H found a booby trap and set it off drawing Carson in for the kill. H took pot shots at him until, as he tried to escape, H got the drop on him. Instead of dropping his gun, he turned to shoot H but was shot himself. H returned to stand by Rivers as the verdict was read. Found "not guilty" of conduct unbecoming but "guilty" of assault and battery (?!!), with forfeiture of one day pay. Barrington told C that "in time he would learn to be a team player." When he became a judge he would "remember who got you that appointment." When C advised of constitutional separation of powers, Barrington spoke of "the difference between the platitudes of civic lessons and cold hard realities; and that it would be a mistake to disagree." C advised "no, the mistake was yours." H told C that he would "miss him" and C retorted "why? Are you leaving us again?"

Tuesday, May 2, 2000

Overdue & Presumed Lost - 108

[A barely believable episode with inconsistencies but was dedicated to all USN submariners on the event of the 100th anniversary of the first USN sub] On 5 Dec 1941 the USS Dolphin, a submarine on patrol, spotted the "entire Jap fleet," 45 miles NW of Hawaii. They stayed on the surface, despite being found and shelled, until their radio message to pearl was received. Fifty-nine years later the sound of a sunken ships hull was picked up on sonar listening devices and triangulated to the last known location of the Dolphin. Self claimed archeologist/treasure hunter, Jack Riggins, ran to the site and "dropped his flag" claiming in court, "finders keepers." Riggin's attorney, Stewart Grossman, told Chegwidden (C) that "the judges down here are different" than what he was used to. Admiral Matthew Stanton, an old friend of Cs represented the SECNAV and interests of the submarine community. C told Harm (H) that a privilege of rank is the opportunity to squash parasites like Riggin's myself." He assigned H to fill in for him at his budget hearings saying "last time you got the funds to repair your holes in the courtroom ceiling." Judge green was flippant and full of herself making snide comments. C pointed to specific laws making US vessels property of the government in perpetuity, that it wasn't abandoned, and that it was a gravesite for 60 sailors. Green asked Riggins if a restraining order would cause him hardship and he replied it would and accused the navy of covering up the fact that the government had ignored radio messages in order to get the US into war in order to solidify public opinion with outrage. The accusation was so completely idiotic it flummoxed C. Green refused the restraining order but said C could be on the vessel as an observer.

Using a remote sub they brought up the ships lock box and found the ships log intact. It showed that a warning message had, in fact, been sent and acknowledged by Cardinal Point listening station. C, with H and Gunny (G) had to overcome the ineptitude of the records storage facility personnel and found the message log book but the applicable page had been razored out! Riggins came to Cs office and told him that he would help solve the puzzle because "you're hooked- the ghosts are speaking to you." He asked G to find personnel of Cardinal Point and Admiral Stanton was revealed. Stanton told C that he had definitely received it and sent it on to Washington, per protocol. They were supposed to decide which messages to send back and when he saw the zero's three miles out he was surprised that the fleet was still at anchor because he had forwarded the message hours before. He told C that the message was received by undersecretary of war Malloy (or something that started with an M). G personally twisted the records clerk into searching boxes for the undersecretary's material and found the actual message misfiled in a folder on the Panama Canal. Judge Green pontificated that "I am the law" and the laws cited by C didn't pertain to "historical truth." She allowed the salvage claim of Riggins. Upset C told Riggins to "listen to see what the ghosts were telling HIM now." Later C and Stanton were show in a memorial service at Pearl. Riggins told C that he had withdrawn his claim citing that he had "listened to the ghosts, and to you (C)."

Renee told H that the JAG budget was just like a movies and shamed him into saying he preferred doing budget with her than onboard the vessel with C. He told C that he didn't get the 4.3% increase that C had told him to get; rather, he got 8.1% by adding funds for inflation factor, contingency fund, and travel allowance. Bud (B) was assigned to defend PO 2nd class Potts in his court-martial for ditching his mandatory physical training and taking diet pills to loose weight. He said he wanted to stay in but Mac (M) told him that his love of the Navy was outweighed by his utter lack of military discipline. B identified with him and said that the navy was using his as a scapegoat to send a message. He told him that he had "lost 20 pounds when he had his jaw wired." He showed that Potts' job required him to sit and run a 50million dollar missile system and that his CO said he didn't care how much he weighed unless he broke the chair. A BMI greater than 25 was considered unfit for the navy ( weight (in pounds) X 705 / square root of height (in inches)) and Potts could do it in his head. There were two recruiters watching the trial and started a bidding war in the hallway over Potts, including $120K, stock option, condo's etc. M was astounded when he said he "just wanted to stay in the navy." She counter-offered with "$20k, forfeit 30 days pay, 2 week confinement to quarters, drug testing, mandated PT and regulated diet, and may end up in combat." He took it!