Posts Tagged With: CDR Benjamin Strickland

Save Our Heroes, The Case Of CDR Benjamin Strickland, USCGC Vol 01, Nr 01

The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland

A different time, but the same corruption…

Such was the case of CDR Ben Strickland, a military man who was punished for helping a victim of sexual assault. CDR Strickland was a highly decorated officer in the U.S. Coast Guard with a promising career ahead of him, however, that all came to an abrupt halt when a young Sailor/victim of sexual assault approached him for help. Despite working in an environment that encouraged commanders to cover-up allegations of sexual assault, CDR Strickland made the morally courageous decision to support the victim; he personally ensured the young woman got the help she so desperately needed.

As such, CDR Strickland soon found himself in the cross hairs of his leadership and the victim of military witch-hunt.

The assorted details of this commander’s ordeal can be found on Amazon in the book “The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland” written by Judge L. Steverson, USALJ (Ret).

Save Our Heroes has tracked down the honorable CDR Strickland (now retired and working in the Washington DC area) who made the following statement about his ordeal:

“The book you mention is indeed about me and the retaliation myself and my family endured at the hands of senior Coast Guard officials. On 23 May 2013, I was serving as Acting Commanding Officer of USCGC MUNRO (WHEC-724) homeported in Kodiak, Alaska. When I reported an allegation of a sexual assault to my Immediate Superior in Command. The allegation included a female E-3 (victim) and a male E-3 (accused) and involved multiple incidents of inappropriate (and potentially unlawful) sexual contact occurring over a period of several months pertaining to the same individuals. Under the authority granted to me as Acting Commanding Officer under Coast Guard Regulations as well as Coast Guard sexual assault prevention and response policies, I predicated an investigation by Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding what I believed to be potential sexual assault(s). My reports of an allegation of a sexual assault (as well as my subsequent complaint of mismanagement of the investigation predicated under my authority) are considered “protected communications” under 10 USC 1034, the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The statute prohibits retribution against an individual who files a report of waste, abuse of authority, gross mismanagement, or a sexual assault to “any person or organization in the chain of command”.

Despite the accused E-3 (male) having confessed on the second day of the investigation, CGIS investigation remained open for months without resolution. I also received multiple first-hand reports from my subordinates of potential misconduct by CGIS agents as well as second-hand ones from USCG Pacific Area staff members regarding potential abuse of authority and unlawful command influence by CGIS and senior Coast Guard officials (to include the Pacific Area Chief of Staff and CGIS Director who were having daily telephone conversations regarding my report). This gross mismanagement culminated after the ship’s change of command weeks later on 18 Jun 2013 in which my new Commanding Officer, CAPT Jeffrey W. Thomas suggested I depart the ship on leave, and the very next day had CGIS agents conduct an unlawful search of my private living quarters without written authorization by a military judge in accordance with the Manual for Courts Martial and the USCG Military Justice Manual where they seized my government computer and portable hard drive. Upon my return I expressed concerns to CAPT Thomas that CGIS agents were not properly investigating the alleged sexual assault; he dismissed my concerns and refused to discuss the matter further with me. Instead of focusing on protection of the victim and prosecution of the accused, CGIS and Coast Guard Legal representatives sought to retaliate against me. They made me an unlawful target of investigations which stemmed from my report when they searched my stateroom where I, as a witness and not having been a subject or accused in any duly authorized investigation at any time, had a reasonable expectation of privacy per the Constitution and existing case law. The extent of their targeting consisted of over 20,000 emails and instant message (IMs) communications dating back to October 2011, almost two years prior to my report of a sexual assault – IMs they sought to use as a pretext for which they could have me removed from my position.

Months later – in January 2014 – CGIS and Coast Guard Legal gave these IMs to Pacific Area senior management and the Commanding Officer for them to use as a basis for a derogatory OER from which they could have me removed from primary duties as Executive Officer (XO). Beyond my complaints of mismanagement by senior Coast Guard managers and CGIS and seeking guidance from my professional network about preparing a complaint to the DHS Office of Inspector General, these IMs had no nexus/connection to the sexual assault. Moreover, but for my report of a sexual assault CGIS, PACAREA and the Commanding Officer would never have retrieved and reviewed my IMs. These IMs were not only comprised of purely private conversations unrelated to official government business, but were previously routinely monitored by CG IT support with no issues or allegations of impropriety. Furthermore, there was no valid reason for CGIS and Pacific Area to make me the target of investigations I had requested in the first place. These IMs unlawfully reviewed without probable cause in many cases not only fell outside the reporting period for the OER, but also included protected communications with the Base Chaplains Office, Work-Life/HSWL staff, and Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC).

CGIS, PACAREA and the Commanding Officer acted against me without proper authority. The Commanding Officer admitted to me when I challenged his unlawful actions on 23 Jan 2014 that I was at no time ever the subject of any criminal or administrative investigation; no formal investigation was ever initiated against me in accordance with the Administrative Investigations Manual or the Military Justice Manual. Nevertheless, the chain of command unlawfully searched my stateroom, seized my work computer, retrieved my personal communications, and then improperly used IMs they obtained for the purposes of retaliation against me for my having reported an allegation of a sexual assault and for my later disclosure of what I (and many others at the O-6 level at the PACAREA staff) reasonably believed to be internal wrongdoing on the part of multiple Coast Guard management officials

I was removed from primary duties and sent to a junior officer billet inconsistent with my rank as a senior officer. At this time, no action whatsoever had been taken against the accused – clearly giving insight that the Coast Guard’s priorities did not lie in protection of the victim and prosecution of the accused, but rather retaliation. I filed a complaint with the DoD Inspector General who conducted a preliminary inquiry and found sufficient evidence to refer my complaint to the DHS Inspector General for investigation. Having several opportunities come my way in the maritime industry last year, I opted to retire from active duty.

It is important that Coast Guard personnel recognize the corruption and misconduct that exist at the highest levels of the organization and CGIS. Reforms are desperately needed in order to prevent the use of criminal investigations by senior leadership as a form of reprisal for those who report sexual assaults and participate as witnesses. As it stands now, CGIS and Coast Guard legal are managed more akin to a criminal syndicate, “serving” a purpose of providing political hit jobs for the top brass, than existing as entities interested in the pursuit of military justice.

Ben Strickland, CDR, USCG (Retired)”

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The Case OF CDR Benjamin Strickland, USCG, coming in Black & White

The Case Of CDR Benjamin Strickland, Black & White Edition

A new Black & White Edition of The Case Of CDR Benjamin Strickland will be released shortly by Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format. Look for it.
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The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland, A Book Review and an Author’s Response

LT Fredd Milbry, USCG (Ret.) Wrote:

I reviewed the recently published book “The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland (Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicles (UCGC) Book 1)” written by our own retired Honorable Judge London Steverson.

First and foremost buy this book! Why you say, because if you’ve done anything righteous in life, there should be no problem explaining to whoever inquires, what was your rationale behind your actions and most importantly you should be recognized for doing what’s Right. The very essence of that statement is the basis of this book in my opinion.

As a retired CG Officer and former Enlisted man with over 20 years service experience in personnel matters, assignments, counseling, investigating various complaints/offenses of the UCMJ, etc. at different levels and assignments, I feel very confident to critique these matters. It was drilled into our heads that the leadership from the top sets the tone and in this case it seems the leadership was either grossly lacking; some subordinate(s) chose to dictate the scenario without being challenged or the Leadership was duped into believing and subsequently supporting another story. Race was not an issue.

All officers concerned were Caucasian and of the same race and sex. So Racial bias was not a factor in this situation. Which still leaves a bad taste in my mouth because simply put, right is right and wrong is wrong. And there were some wrongs done without ramifications to the doers, although the one right thing was met as though it was the wrong. A once rising career was dispensed as though the time spent cultivating it was not valued in the least.

A riveting story that will have you questioning how, when, who and ultimately why certain things took place with Commander Strickland’s career. The Author (the retired Honorable Judge London Steverson) will guide you through the maze of incidents so that you will be able to formulate some opinions and conclusions based on the facts at hand. Several things concern me with the entire narrative, one of which, is that as a retired Coast Guard officer I have to question since this type of treatment could be so easily done to any member in today’s Coast Guard with a career resume’ that is nothing short of spectacular. If in fact it could happen to CDR Strickland, it could happen to a member with far less superlative credentials/accolades, or time in service or rank, but who is still very important and dedicated to the organization.

You will have a good idea and a look into the organizational framework with regards to following and executing orders by senior leadership and the possible ramifications of doing the right thing but nonetheless, something altogether different happening with the outcome of those actions taken. You will have enough information to decide whether an injustice did take place considering the old axiom, there are two sides to every story. Well the jury is still out with the possibility of never shedding true light on the opposite story. That could counter the story written in this book. But one thing is definite, a brilliant career was stopped dead in its tracks and a military family was rewarded with a questionable exit from a organization they had sacrificed and dedicated their lives for. This is not representative of the organization I served. It is up to you, the reader to draw your own conclusions of the events based on the information in this very well written story.

The Author responds:

To: LT Fredd Milbry, USCG (Ret.) 

You are truly a member in good standing of the “Long Blue Line” of retired Coast Guard Officers. It is obvious how much you love the Coast Guard.

And you are a moral person who still holds sacred the “core values” we were taught as officers; duty, honor, honesty, truth, loyalty, respect, obedience to your oath of office and support for higher authority; follow the chain of command.

All of this is apparent in your review of The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland.

You are a leader; you started the Facebook Page Black Coast Guard Chronicles. You see things first and are frequently on the cutting edge of hot social and professional issues. This is all the more reason I am touched by your insights into The Strickland Case and the book outlining it.

You are middle America; you are the Coast Guard’s moral majority; you are the voice of our conscience.

When you speak people listen. And I hear you. It was for such an awareness as yours that the book was written. It was to highlight such gross arbitrary and capricious divergence from good order and proper procedure that the book was written.

When the most senior officers in the CG can completely disregard morality and sacrifice a decorated officer and his innocent family for no rational reason, it makes me shudder for the security of my fellow officers in the lower ranks and I fear for the future of our Coast Guard.

Is this behavior typical of the entire senior officer corps? I hope not.

Can this type of thing happen again? I pray not.

How did it happen this once? I fear there is no single answer.

What is clear is that a great wrong has been done! One of the best and the brightest of the fair haired boys has been sacrificed on an altar of arrogance, deceit, malice.

And why? All for doing his job; and doing it by the book; all for reporting a case of sexual assault in an Area (the Pacific Area) where no one wanted to rock the boat at a time when the next Commandant was being chosen.

And any whiff of a scandal, and any wide scale investigation might jeopardize the desired decision making. And so this case had to go away; and, anyone pushing it had to be silenced, even if it meant sacrificing his entire family.

This is a story that had to be told. Your review of the facts in the book makes that abundantly clear. Thank you my fellow retired Coast Guard Officer.

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The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland

General David Petraeus, a 4-star general with over 37 years in the military, was the most senior officer to be prosecuted during the politically correct era. He was just one of many distinguished senior officers to be purged from all branches of the military services during that period. Commander Benjamin Strickland, U S Coast Guard was caught in this web of insanity.  This is a purge.

Consider the Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland.

To this day the list continues to grow.The Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicles (UCGC) are a series of bio epics of interesting and sometimes strange events in the lives of Coast Guard personnel. This is the Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland.

This is a must read for all right thinking Americans, and people of goodwill everywhere.

Sales of NEW BOOK began July 7, 2015. Send check or money order for $27.00, includes shipping and handling to: Steverson Books, Box 606, Haymarket, VA. 20168.

Get the full story. The Case of Commander Benjamin Strickland, 114 pages. All pictures are full color. Many distinguished senior officers are being purged from all branches of the military services. To this day the list continues to grow.

On June 26, 2015 Commander Benjamin F. Strickland departed on Terminal Leave pending retirement from the U. S. Coast Guard. This Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicle (Volume 01, Number 01) was designed to coincide with that date. 

He will not be forgotten. His name will live on in the Chronicles of Coast Guard History. His story will forever be told around the Forecastle, at the camp fires, and in the restaurants and bars where retired service members gather to reminisce about life in the Nation’s oldest continuous seagoing armed force, the U. S. Coast Guard.

His brilliant and distinguished career was brought to an abrupt halt for no explicable or rational reason, except that he did his job as he was required to do it. In doing so he became a victim.

No good deed goes unpunished. This means that life is unfair and people can do or try to do good things and still end up in a lot of trouble. Bad things happen to good people.  

Terrible and unexpected things happened to CDR Strickland.

. Power was misused; discretion was abused; authority was exceeded; rights were trampled; resources were mismanaged; and, our posterity has been neglected.

We are at the mercy of the powers that be, and they appear to be devoid of all mercy. Heaven help us; and, God Bless America.

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