Tuesday, February 26, 2002

The Mission - 150

Harm & Mac were sent to the Seahawk to stop JAGs (Lt Cdr Jack Hillyard in particular) from preventing the prosecution of war by demanding 100% certainty of targets. When he got there H was asked by Capt. Johnson to fly missions with the ships' pilots to help refine the rules of engagement. H told M he was glad that she was there w/ him. In one mission H became flight leader due to mechanical problems which upset the "real" leader. Gen Taylor (anvil 22) assigned a target. The ground spotter refined the target to an old school where suspected senior Al Qaeda & Taliban leaders were located. M, acting as the JAG advisor, asked if there were buildings which would be collaterally damaged. The spotter said there were but it was night and he believed that it was unlikely that any civilians were there. M advised they might "prosecute the target" which surprised the AWACs crew who were used to prolonged deliberation and questioning. H took the target out & managed to avoid a stinger shot from the shoulder of a terrorist but he sustained damage to one engine which he needed to shut down. Then, when he tried to refuel, he didn't have enough power to stay attached to the tanker so he couldn't take on much fuel. He had to land w/ one weak engine and, despite paddles shouting "eject, eject," he didn't eject; and had just enough power at last second to land. When the Capt. asked Hillyard if he saw how it was done, Hillyard said that he would have requested more information. Johnson told him that "he may be a good attorney but you make a lousy wartime JAG" and said he was going to relieve him from duties.

Turner was assigned TAD to Latham as "someone I can trust" during budget hearings. They ended up talking about themselves and T said that he was in the navy due to his father. He said he had no regrets- he played in an army navy game and even saw the northern lights from a sub conning tower at the north pole. L was raised by her mother & 2 aunts. They were poor. L was worried about what she would say in the hearings so T prepared statements for her which he said were: "so obscure in wording they would sow confusion & dismay amongst enemies." L browbeat T into kissing her. Tiner was shown having passed his exams for PO 1st class.

Chegwidden offered Bud the option of overseas shore duty or aboard a ship for his career advancement and he didn't act too enthused. B & Ht discussed his reassignment then Ht told C she was ok w/ it but that it was B who was a bit reluctant for change. C told her that he had been helping coach high school baseball team for some time. He said he had been a pitcher and was drafted 2nd round by Cleveland but turned it down for an Annapolis appointment then the SEALs. He said he had never looked back - till now. S eavesdropped on B telling Ht about Cs offer and was so blindingly jealous that she demanded Tiner give her an audience w/ C. She told C she had heard the news from B (as they were very "tight") but that she was "a better lawyer than B." C did put her in her place: "you have a lot to prove to me as a lawyer & as a person" but as she was leaving he called after her "you'll get your chance." B was defending, and S prosecuting, PO Jeff Massuco for hit & run driving. She immediately told B she was going to "kick his ass" in the trial and proceeded to buried him w/ frivolous paper work. She opposed every request for witnesses, funds, and then even a continuance, so B could answer all her paperwork. B was portrayed as hapless and became sleep deprived simultaneously caring for little AJs flu to the neglect of his case. Then S buried an important witness in the middle of a list of 28 names and B fell asleep in court! Massuco was found guilty, no surprise. Then his convening authority got new evidence & believed that Bs defense was incompetent. C authorized inquiry into his defense as preliminary to article 32 hearings… [episode to be continued].

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Head to Toe - 149

H & M in Saudi Arabia defending a "Condor" pilot, Lt Stephanie Donato, for disobeying DOD & her base commander's orders; namely: not wearing an abeya with a veil and driving herself (i.e. in front seat) in an automobile with a male escort. She was told that the Abeya and veil rule "would be reconsidered" when she was assigned to fly food drops. It wasn't, so she complained to her CO and eventually wrote 8 letters and openly petitioned the Secretary of Defense. A security guard caught her in the restaurant and ordered her into an abeya and into the back seat of his vehicle. She disobeyed hence the court-martial. Throughout the episode H & M several times worked out compromises with prosecutor Lt Col Sara Coffey; however, her temper & tongue dug her in deeper. She apologized to a Muslim cleric who was "offended" by seeing her in the restaurant. When he started to pontificate about American women "not thinking" she told him that "a man who doesn't treat females any better than camels in his garage doesn't deserve to be in their company."

Really trying to avoid publicity Coffey kept offering to "deal." She asked H & M to meet her in town where she was participating in a meeting. M had to wear an abeya and veil and was shown being knocked into by Saudi men who treated her as if she wasn't there. She finally tore it off and said that they "wouldn't deal." Harm finally got her to explain that "it diminishes a woman's ability to be taken seriously." Additionally Donato was determined to publicize the issue but they were loosing. While flying a mission Donato had to emergency land in the desert due to engine failure. When, instead of trying to help, a local policeman tried to embarrass her and force an abeya on her she elbowed him in the gut. Then the men in her unit joined her crusade stating that "The Saudi's instead of offering help tried to humiliate her" and that the regs were "inconsistent w/ rules of good order & discipline & erode unit cohesion." No one needs to salute a female officer in an abeya if they don't know what rank she was. The final finding was that she did disobey orders but with extenuating circumstances so no court-martial. Gen Sawyer said unless she disbanded crusade he would ground her. Coffey answered the press for Donato: "DOD must realize that short term solutions cause long term problems"; and that we "look forward to the day when not one member of armed forces will be forced to suffer disrespect as a price for victory."

Leatham told H that she wanted to be kept "in loop" on the women's issue. C counseled T to "have some fun." So T took Leatham on a date to an Afghan restaurant where she didn't like either the food or sitting on the floor. She then suggested that they go to a Salsa club which he didn't like. B & Ht arrived late at the restaurant w/o reservations due to babysitter problems & joined their "not talking to each other" first date. T apologized to B & Ht for putting them in the middle and Ht counseled him to "try again." He did, and convinced Leatham to meet him at a "neutral place" to try again and took her to baby-sit little AJ to give B & Ht another chance at a date.