Tuesday, November 28, 2000

A Separate Peace (Part II) - 117

Admiral Nash relieved Boone of his command and his men all saluted (indoors and uncovered) as sign of respect. The SECNAV pontificated angrily about public relations and threatened Mac (M), Bud (B) and Harm(H). He said that he didn't trust Hs judgment and demanded assurance that he would consider the good of the service as prime. H stood his ground and refused such that Chegwidden (C) had to point out that Hs job was to Boone. None-the-less the SECNAV flounced threateningly that if H "made the navy look bad he would cut him off at the knees." Stuart Dunston began dogging them and Singer (S), sitting 2nd chair, said that she knew him and would see what she could do. H told her "don't trust him" and S replied that she wouldn’t tell him anything that was true. H chastised M for her dislike of Boone as she refused any bargaining. Boone refused to tell H the full story in his defense. H challenged for cause every potential witness who had ever disliked Boone. M then began asking "if they thought they could be fair" and the judge overruled Hs objections. Gunny (G) struck out finding anyone who was at Tan Dien but said that there was a marine deserter, Cpl Owen Branson, who was there but couldn't be found. M gave an excellent opening statement and Boone said he "underestimated her. She would slit your throat on a dark night and not twice about it." H replied that "she would think about it before she did it!" H reserved his opening statement for later and M called Gen Parker who told of the decapitated head photograph. H him into support of Boone and he shook hands with Boone as he exited the courtroom. Coffin claimed that Boone used a child as a shield and shot Tam as she was going to hide. Dunston glibly thrust an interview at H and asked if he'd ever seen Boone smile. H told him "you're an idiot" on live TV. S offered to talk to Dunston off the record but he had to share. When H cross examined Coffin he brought up the alcohol treatment and delusions that S had discovered from Dunston. M began objecting to everything H was asking so he let S take over. She brought up that Coffin had been paid $50 thousand for his story.

Hs opening statement was eloquent asking the panel not to "make Boone the last casualty of the Vietnam war." Webb (W) testified that his father, Neville, had been head of Phoenix program and that Harry Drax hadn't followed orders and told his men to shoot on site. Congresswoman Latham came to tell H to go to the Dew Drop Inn, which is where the deserter Owen Branson, now know as Jed Howe, was. Branson told H he didn't know anything but H saw a tattoo on his arm that he recognized so called W for further information. H told Boone that he needed to take the stand because M had made her case and his "silence would convict him." Boone said "I can live with that," so H argued him into testifying. During his testimony W brought Branson into the room having threatened him with removing his retirement. Boone said that he had taken the girl, who had been standing in the middle of fire, to safety and saw Tam going for a weapon so shot her. He then saw the PRU killing non-combatants so ordered them to stop. Drax came up and shot them all anyway then threatened to kill Boone before he walked away. Boone called to him then had to shoot him in the back before he started killing again. H called "Harry Drax" to the stand and M, finally, had no objection. Drax told Boone "if you are going to kill someone do it right." He said that his only regret was "we didn't kill them all" and that Boone had no part in it. Neville W changed his name and "retired him" to avoid publicity. The real Branson was killed in Vietnam. Boone was acquitted but forcibly retired by the SECNAV.

S was able to help C get custody of his SUV back after seven weeks and three days since it had been confiscated. Tiner (Ti) retrieved it but it had been shot with "six holes of varying caliber." Narcotic officers had "borrowed" it for a "sting" which failed. S said "we can sue." B was still studying books relentlessly about his baby's death. He ignored Harriet's (Ht) statement that he couldn't bring the baby back. Ht came to Hs apartment the faked that "she shouldn't be there" and talked about AJs birth and baby Sara's death. Apparently she didn't like that the doctors had taken the baby into another room to try and save her so had "died without me there." She also didn't like that B wasn't making time for her to talk. H saw B berating himself over failing to warn M of Coffin's hospitalization etc. H told him that he "didn't know what it was like to loose a child but did the woman you love." He advised "don't let one cost you the other."

Tuesday, November 21, 2000

A Separate Peace (Part I) - 116

[Two part episode] While waiting for the SECNAV, Admiral Thomas Boone told Harm (H) how he had aced Rabb Sr (R) out of making the 100,000th trap on the Ticonderoga because R had to go around for a visual inspection of his tail hook thinking it not properly extended. Boone was up for taking command of the 6th fleet but the SECNAV said that there was an anonymous tip that Boon took part in killing civilians in Tan Dien village, Vietnam. The SECNAV asked Mac (M) to investigate without any paperwork and report directly to him before the confirmation hearings. She thought that Boone wasn't being "forthcoming" even though H, who had requested to assist M, tried to explain. Boone had been assigned TAD to do reconnaissance in Saigon (he had lost a coin toss with R). The village was "pacified" of VC by elements of South Vietnamese Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU). Boone and Lt RC Coffin landed outside Tan Dien village to stay the night. Boone had been shown a photo of a girl holding up the severed head of Boone's downed-pilot friend for the recon plane to see 5 miles outside Tan Dien. H went to Webb (W) to ask for records because Ws father was CIA director in Saigon and in charge of the Phoenix program. W wouldn't release the records so H went to congresswoman Latham. She did him a favor and went to W to discuss "funding" right before H stepped into the room. He asked H "have you no shame" but gave him information from the file. Coffin flew for the CIA at night but wasn't part of the pacification effort. Harry Drax was the project director and mercilessly killed bound prisoners in interrogation. Drax had ordered the sweep of the village and went in shooting. He was shot in the back and buried in a mass grave to Ellis Burke file the after action report. H spoke with Burke who said Drax had ordered the "death squads" after the decapitation as "payback." He said Boone had been there and reports had claimed that he entered in the fighting. There had been a quota of 2000 suspected VC kills per month.

The SECNAV was continually pushing for resolution and reading M the riot act until C intervened. H talked to Boone now that there was more information. He remembered Coffin now as a liar and drunk. M traced down Coffin who claimed he was dying of Tuberculosis and wanted to "set things right." He landed at Tan Dien to see his "girlfriend" Tam. Boone recognized her as the girl in the photo. Drax came that night and warned them that TAM was VC. He told them to get out or be in the fighting. Coffin said he went to try and find Tam then saw Boone 10 minutes later using a little kid as a human shield and shooting TAM. Boone told H that he shot TAM while she was reaching into the hut roof for a gun.

Bud was back at work after the death of his baby. M ordered him to go home to sleep but instead he began working on legal aspects of the baby's death. He told Harriet "we'll find out what went wrong." C tried to get his SUV back from the impound lot but the "lot guy" told him that it "has been charged and it was up to him to prove that the Ford Expedition was innocent." Singer (D)researched his case on her own and said they had to show that Danny used the car for drug transportation without Cs knowledge, consent or willful blindness. C told her to go ahead. She argued the case in court and won Cs car back but the police "lost" it! He told her to "find my car."

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

The Princess and the Petty Officer - 118

[A significant episode due to the breakup of Chegwidden and Walden. Cameo appearance of Rudy Bosch, runner up in "survivor."] Princess Fatima al Amatullah (Fanny) and PO James Elling were married after he smuggled her into the US with forged documents. Her father and "first husband," from a prearranged marriage, wanted her back. Harm (H) defended Elling against Bud (B), who was prosecuting in behalf of a hard-nose admiral. H asked Mac (M) to defend the princess in the US immigration court (which was on her way past a shoe outlet). Nearly everyone M met, including the judge, commented that they had seen her performance on "JAG TV." The judge wasn't inclined to relent until M suggested that Fatima's marriage status be tried in an Islamic Sharia court (put together in the US). M was very knowledgeable about Islamic law and history. Fanny had not given her actual consent to the marriage, but her father had signed the marriage contract and acted as her proxy at the ceremony (beyond the age that he should have done so). She, however, had sold the dowry that her "husband" had given her so she lost in the sharia court and was considered married to the first husband. However she arranged to immediately divorce by giving him back the money. So Elling's marriage was void and Fatima would be deported, but he proposed again by giving her his phone card as a dowry. There was no resolution re immigration status; but, she could be killed for moral impropriety if she went back. H couldn't sway his CO on Elling so he plead guilty and relied on a trial of peers for punishment. The strategy worked: no brig, reduced rank to seaman and $1500 fine.

Chegwidden (C) made the coffee while Tiner was out registering for college. Watching him put many, many scoopfuls of grounds into the coffee maker both B and H commented that "might be enough." When they had to taste it H called it "robust" in a raspy voice to which C retorted that he "needed a REAL coffee drinker." They went in search of M who was just coming in arguing with Brumby (Brum) over his telling the press that he was Ms fiancé. Overhearing their discussion C decided that "she doesn't need any more coffee." Chief Bosch came for a visit to his old friend C, and when given the coffee said that it was "kinda weak." C finally told Dr Walden that her son was into drugs and that Danny had lied. She dumped C in a letter and was not dissuaded by Cs subsequent visit telling him that "Danny wouldn't lie to me," and "you never liked him." Danny gloated saying "we are happy and it isn't our job to make you (C) happy." Harriet (Ht) went into premature labor. The baby had a prolapsed chord and the delivery was delayed due to the absence of Dr Gettis. A C-Section was being prepared when Gettis rushed in and took over but it was too far down the birth canal and had to be "delivered and resuscitated" subsequently dying. Getting claimed he was with another patient. B cried on Cs shoulder.