The San Diego Union-Tribune has a retrospective on the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Tailhook Convention, here.  Those judge advocates whose records are still “Tailhook” screened at each promotion board will be particularly interested.

NYT reports, here, that, “Local police forces trained and financed by the United States have killed and raped civilians, stolen land and carried out other abuses against the Afghan villagers they are charged with protecting, according to a report released on Monday by Human Rights Watch.”  Looks like CJIATF-435 has some work to do.

Stars and Stripes reports, here, that an Airman’s wife testified yesterday in his court-martial, accompanied by German prison guards after she was sentenced to 5-years in a German prison for charges related to their 7-month old’s death.  According to S&S Airman Horace Wickware “pleaded not guilty when his trial began last week. In opening arguments Friday, [Wickware’s] defense attorney, Air Force Maj. Pilar Wennrich, told the eight-member jury it was not known who caused the baby’s injuries. Wennrich described Horace Wickware as a’caring and affectionate father.’”

The Houston Chronicle reports, here, that Army Specialist Naftaly Platero was arraigned Monday by a military judge at Ft. Stewart, Georgia on charges of killing his two roommates while stationed in Iraq.  The trial is scheduled for February 2012.

12 Responses to “Military Justice News for Sep. 13, 2011”

  1. Some Army Guy says:

    As a current grunt who wasn’t even in college during Tailhook, what does it mean to be “Tailhook screened?”. And what involvement did any jAs have in the actual convention?

  2. BWMacKenzie says:

    Army Guy: Great question. “Tailhook screened” required personnel at the Navy’s Central Personnel command to determine whether a service member had attended that particular Tailhook Convention. Reaching back into my memory files – I think I had to certify in writing somewhere along the line that I had not attended. I believe this information was then transmitted along with promotion selections up the approval chain. I have always been of the conviction that more JAG admirals were fired over Tailhook than any other designator including aviators. Lots of other lower ranking JAGs went by the by too as the result of Tailhook or its aftermath-from O6 to O3. Those were tough years, but necessary (I think the problem was the application of correcting and moving the USN into the 20th Century.)

  3. Phil Cave says:

    Recollection is that no JA’s got caught up with “the” convention (unlike with CAPT Honors recently, or the aviator who recently was removed over a rather rude “call-sign”).

    “Screened.” Well some who attended and were labelled didn’t get promoted, it was one of the criteria NMPC looked at post selection for removal from the list.

    Dwight and I were at Navy Appellate Defense at the time — we were NOT there at the convention. Probably the most interesting case to come out of the convention was Samples v. Vest, 38 M.J. 482 (C.M.A. 1994). David Sheldon was lead counsel on that case. Gosh “My Liege” what a memory. David has the opinion on his website for those without LEXIS: http://www.militarydefense.com/Samples_v_Vest.php

  4. Phil Cave says:

    BWM, are we thinking of the JAG admiral who made the comment in the p-way at the Pentagon?

  5. Phil Cave says:

    And BWM is right, we did have to certify that we’d not been in attendance at The Tailhook.

  6. stewie says:

    What’s in the water at Stewart? Two DP cases (at least at some stage of the process) and now what looks like a third.

  7. Some Army Guy says:

    Wow. Just attending the convention flagged someone’s file? Was that something Congress mandated, a pre-emptive strike by the Navy, or something else?

    Some crazy things can happen at CLEs at the JAG School. I’d hate for my career to be forever flagged because I attended some crazy Ethics CLE. :)

  8. Ed White says:

    Phil and Bruce are right that, for the year or two after the infamous convention, we each had to certify whether we’d attended the convention. Like Bruce, I’ve also always been of the view that the aviators misbehaved and it was the lawyers who got fired. I did know one junior (female) JAG officer who was at the convention, but to the best of my knowledge did not suffer any adverse consequences — though I do know of at least one aviation flag officer who was denied promotion to two -star just because he was part of the aviation community leadership at the time.

  9. Charles Gittins says:

    I did records correction packages for a number of officers who had been “at Tailhook” in 1991 but who did nothing wrong. Because they had been “at Tailhook” their promotions were delayed and ultimately denied. I was successful in getting the BCNR to see that an injustice had been done in three cases. In two of those cases, the SecNav (or his designee) reversed the Board decision and denied the officers’ their promotion. In the third, Senator McCain intervened and essentially put his foot on SecNav’s neck until SecNav agreed to promote the officer, who had long since retired. That officer was CDR Bob Stumpf, the former Blue Angel Commander, who was surely going to be a Flag officer before he became the Tailhook whipping and poster-boy. Those were hysterical times, but it was great to be a lawyer representing those guys as the NCIS, Admiral Reason and Chuck Krulak tried to screww them, even when they had not done anything wrong.

  10. Just Sayin' says:

    “Like Bruce, I’ve also always been of the view that the aviators misbehaved and it was the lawyers who got fired”

    So things haven’t changed much…

  11. FlapJack says:

    Maybe I’m not up to speed on the real story, but was Tailhook really that big of a deal? I mean, after all was said and done, wasn’t it really just guys playing a little bit of grab-ass?

  12. BWMacKenzie says:

    Phil – I was referring not just to a direct connection to the Convention itself but was referring to a number of JAGs that due to the “administration” of review, investigation and/or “punishment” of wrongdoers were adversely affected, career-wise, by this event. It was one of those watershed events that put the USN machinery in gear and those revolutions caught more than the intended target…whatever the intended target was. I was, for lack of involvement and a fresh return from a Med Deployment, offered up to the Central Disposition Authority to act as independent SJA for one of the three surviving court cases due to the disqualification of the CDA’s two SJAs. Judge Vest presided. Love or hate him, Judge Vest called it and eventually dismissed all three. I still have his decision (on 3.5″ floppy disc) regarding relief of the SJAs based on the mandate that SJAs must and may not assume the role of DC or TC in their independent advice role to a CA.