Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Fortunate Son - 176

[Part 1 of a pivotal episode in the "back story" plot of JAG] A Marine Corps aviator, Lt Bao Hien, was caught in an INS raid at a warehouse where a sweatshop found and told the police that he was "looking for something to steal." Completely out of character for a "hero" Harm didn't believe the story but he was not forthcoming w/ Harm, Turner & Coates either. After H confronted him with people smuggling he said that he had been rescued from Vietnam by soldiers when Saigon fell and he was merely trying to rescue those inside. His Vietnamese wife of one year also denied people smuggling but didn't know why he would steal. She had met him through Sunshine Brides a company who arranged mail order brides. Two of the sweatshop girls, Suong Khui, 15 years old, and Ly Truong, 14, refused to speak unless they were granted asylum. INS told T that Hien's credit card had been used to pay for 4 ship containers they believed had been used to smuggle people. T found that Mrs. Hien had worked in the sweatshop. Coates obtained a computer list from the secretary at "sunshine brides." When H talked to the sweatshop girls he had flashbacks of the 14 year-old Vietnamese girl, Gym, who he met when he ran away to Vietnam to look for his father with a man named Stryker when he was 16. She had been killed by Laotian border guards. T advised Chegwidden that they should proceed with a court martial against Hien but H said he wanted to continue the investigation... which C allowed. Then H followed up and obtained a ledger of "blackmailed" aliens by the owner, Danh Tu ("mother"), which he gave to INS for their "assistance." Mrs. Hien then said that when she had been married to Hien "mother" arranged to get her sister, Nam Ha, out in a container but had been holding her for ransom as they gradually worked off her purchase price by paying for containers. H obtained INS papers for the sweatshop girls so they would testify, then arranged: the arrest of "mother"; the citizenship of Mrs. Hien's sister and Hien's non-judicial punishment.

SECNAV Sheffeld visited JAG and commended H for "friendly fire" case and T for "empty quiver" case. Then told C that the Washington Post had been demanding an explanation of why 2-star admiral attorney is joyriding in a jet and ejects. He said that he had confidence that JAG would stand up to the investigation and sent Ted Lindsey to perform it. Lindsey began by assuring C that he held no grudges for when Cs promotion board passed him over for captain. Then proceeded to "dig up" dirt and do a "hatchet job" with the facts. He told C that he was investigating: "misallocation of personnel, lawyers traveling as tour groups when one would do, slight of hand with TAD requests, misappropriation of government property (i.e. H commandeering a Humvee in George Washington Nat'l Forrest. Interviewing Bud he maligned Cs "permanent, temporary assignment of Harriet to his office, stretching the definition of TAD. When Lindsey talked with Mac (who was acting as a judge) he commented on her career which had flourished despite "scandals of a dead husband and an affair with your CO." He said she must have a "special friend" who is an admiral." As she tried to walk out, he grabbed her elbow and got stared down until he apologized and threatened never to do it again. Interviewing Coates he commented on her "nasty near-court-martial for UA." Coates told him of Singers 5 mo maternity leave which he seemed not to be aware of. He maligned that both M & H had stayed to replace B after his injury as inappropriately excessive. T began his interview with Lindsey saying he "couldn't believe what he saw when he got there: the Cdr dumping aircraft, the Col re-routing an entire sea rescue on a hunch, H & B flying to Australia at the drop of the hat." Lindsey wanted to record it so he repeated that "they have the most unorthodox interpersonal dynamics of any group I've worked in which can be the only explanation for their exemplary track record… and that he liked working there." Finally he walked in to Hs office and H commented that he was "saving the best for last." Lindsey whined that H had "shot a gun in the courtroom, and personally burned through $1/4 billion of equipment in his career, 9/10 of it after he left flight status and became a lawyer." Also that "you've got more than enough to recommend a court-martial but you keep squandering navy time." "And the board though you were better than me," he said. H confronted him with having the "good child syndrome" where "I'm the bad son but get all the breaks." Lindsey advised that their days of getting the breaks were over because he was recommending that his friends at JAG all be reassigned. "Interpersonal incest around here makes it impossible for chain of command to function." He then left taking the wrong hat.