Posts Tagged With: CDR Merle Smith

The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word

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Synopsis:

 

We, as Americans, cherish fairness. We like to believe that people are not punished or unjustly rewarded without justifiable cause. We like to dwell on parables of white virtue and black advancement culminating in the flowering of goodwill all around. Events sometimes force us to widen our gaze and focus on terrain we would rather not see. The 2006 court-martial of Cadet Webster Smith at the United States Coast Guard Academy did just that. The Webster Smith case was a litmus test for justice in America. Every once in a while a case comes along that puts our humanity as a people, and as Americans, on trial. Everything that we profess to stand for as Americans was on trial. Our sense of justice in America and particularly in the U.S. Military was on trial. This was no ordinary trial. Our humanity was on trial. Our system of justice was on trial. This case dissolved the deceptive façade and exposed certain moral deficiencies in our system of justice. This case alone puts the legitimacy of the entire military justice system at risk.

Webster Smith availed himself of every path to justice that we have. He filed an Article 138 Complaint under the UCMJ. He faced the Article 32 Investigation with two lawyers. He asserted all of his Constitutional Criminal Guarantees. He knew and made appropriate use of the Right to Counsel, the Right to Remain Silent, the right to a jury trial, the Right to Confront the witnesses against him, the right call witnesses on his behalf, the right to present evidence favorable to him, the presumption of innocence until his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the right to argue his case before the Jury.

His Appellate Counsel, Ronald Machen, was top notch. He became the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. In April 2015, he left the position and returned to the law firm WilmerHale.  Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr®  has played a leading role in historic events and landmark cases that have shaped the nation and left their mark across the globe. In matters ranging from the Army-McCarthy hearings to the legal defense of civil rights, from the 9/11 Commission to the restoration of the rule of law in apartheid-torn South Africa, their lawyers have made contributions that have profoundly affected our society. Because the law is still a profession as well as a business, lawyers have special obligations to the administration of justice and the development of the law. Their lawyers are  encouraged to meet these obligations through pro bono work. Attorney Machen represented Webster Smith on a pro bono basis. He received no fee.

Webster Smith appealed his conviction all the way to the United States Supreme Court. He lost at the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals. He lost at the Court Of Appeals for the Armed Forces of the United States. The U. S. Supreme Court dismissed his appeal without comment. And, on top of the aforesaid, he filed a Complaint of Discrimination, pursuant to Commandant Instruction 5350.11. He had an air tight and fool proof case of disparate treatment. Yet, he lost. He lost because the System was manned by the most incompetent people God ever created. They did not have a clue as to what was going on in their office. The most significant case in the history of the Department of Homeland Security and the Armed Forces of America came to them and they were not capable of processing it properly.

On top of everything else, Webster Smith had bad luck. At some juncture along the way, most other people would have won, but not Webster Smith. One has to wonder why. There are some who will say that it was because he was Black. They will say that the System was designed and administered by white men and women; and, no Black man can obtain justice in that System. They might have a point, even though some of the decisions made concerning his case were made by Black people in key offices.

We now see that there is little or no justice in military justice. Any reasonable person who looks at this case or any other high profile military justice case would have to conclude that the Military Justice System is not designed to render justice. It is a system designed to punish. The entire courts-martial system, from Summary Court-martial to General Court-martial, has one specific purpose; that is to punish anyone who commits an offense against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

This is intended to be the definitive word on the first and only court-martial of a United States Coast Guard Academy cadet. The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word is written from the perspective of the accused, Cadet First Class Webster Smith. It is not written from the perspective of his accusers. A prior account of this case focused on the women involved. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Lady told the story of the court-martial from the perspective of the witnesses for the prosecution.

Why now? Well, there are several reasons. This Case is unique in that this has never happened before. No other Coast Guard Academy Cadet has ever been punished at a General Courts-martial. That is saying a lot for an institution that has been around since 1876.

Also, it has been ten years since the trial and conviction. An entire decade has passed. The sentence has been served. The Supreme Court Petition for A Writ of Certiorari has been denied. The Record is complete.

Cadet Smith was a senior when the trial began. He was within months of graduating from the Academy, but he was expelled. No Clemency was granted. His career was ruined. His life was irreparably harmed. For ten years he was required to register in the State of Texas as a Sexual offender. He married, had children, and for ten years he was not allowed to attend the birthday parties of his children.

This Case has been hotly debated in certain quarters. The Coast Guard has tried its best to forget that this court-martial ever occurred. However, I fear that this Case will be debated and talked about for years to come. Long after the political and social climates that gave rise to this Case have abated; cadets, officers, politicians and parents will be discussing the Webster Smith Case.

What distinguishes this book from other books on the Case is that this book distinguishes how the Coast Guard Legal Officers and the senior Academy officers disposed of this case as opposed to other cases with similar fact patterns. This Case will serve as a witness to an era in the United States Military and its Service Academies that was ripe with cultural and ethical upheavals, proceedings with plenty of due process and little justice, sexual assaults in the military, retaliation against whistleblowers, mind blowing results, aggravation and frustration. 

The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word

Title ID: 6293877

ISBN-13: 978-1533400802

 

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The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word

Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicles Vol 02 Nr 01

BY_AUTHOR Judge London Steverson

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ISBN-13: 978-1533400802

6″ x 9″ on WHITE Paper

(198 pages, Black & White)

15.24 x 22.86 cm

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Interior: The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word – updated version edited 2- formatted15Apr11.docx

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The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word

Title ID: 6293877

ISBN-13: 978-1533400802

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Manson Brown Retirement Marks End Of An Era For Coast Guard

Vice Admiral Manson K. Brown retires from the U.S. Coast Guard as the service’s top-ranking  Black officer

Patrick Kelley/U.S. Coast Guard – Vice Adm. Manson Brown receives a framed collection of mementos during his retirement ceremony Wednesday at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington.

With three words, Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown brought to a close his 36-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard and his pioneering role as the highest-ranking black officer in the history of the sea service.
“I stand relieved,” Brown said Wednesday, May 14, at a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard headquarters in Southeast Washington. Brown, who grew up in the District’s Petworth neighborhood, joined the Coast Guard in 1978 and rose to become a three-star admiral.

 

Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the Coast Guard Commandant, said that Brown had stood on the shoulders of Black officers before him and that those who follow owe Brown a debt for his service. Brown played a crucial role in developing the careers of minorities in the Coast Guard, Papp added.

While we still have a long way to go, I credit Manson Brown for speaking truth to power,” Papp said.

Serving aboard the USCGC Glacier (WAGB-4), an icebreaker, during his first assignment as a young officer, Brown said he had to confront racism almost immediately. He noticed that one older white subordinate, a popular chief petty officer, seemed agitated by his presence. Brown decided to settle the matter face to face.

“He said there was no way he was going to work for a Black man,” Brown said. “My head pounded with anger and frustration.”

But other enlisted leaders on the ship rallied behind Brown. Throughout the rest of his career, Brown was recognized for his inspirational leadership and zeal.

He assumed positions of responsibility in Florida, Hawaii and California, where he oversaw counter-narcotics trafficking missions and other operations spanning 73 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. He served as the military assistant to two U.S. secretaries of transportation and spent three months in Iraq in 2004, leading the restoration of two major ports.

In recent years, Brown led a Coast Guard effort to improve sexual assault prevention and outreach. A civil engineer by training, he also oversaw recovery operations after Hurricane Sandy wrought $270 million in damage to Coast Guard property, Papp said.

Brown retired as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and Commander of Coast Guard headquarters in Washington. Dignitaries at the ceremony, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.); former U.S. Transportation Secretaries Rodney E. Slater and Norman Y. Mineta; and Merle Smith, the first Black U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate (Class of 1966), attended the ceremony at the new Coast Guard headquarters in Anacostia.

Brown said his achievements would not have been possible without the legacy forged by the first Black officers in the early years of the Coast Guard.

At first, Brown’s mother was reluctant to let him join the military as war raged in Vietnam, he said at the ceremony. But then London Steverson, the second Black graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Class of 1968), visited the Brown family home in Ward 4.

“I convinced his mother that her son would not be taken advantage of and would not be a token” black student at the academy, Steverson said. “He was the best of the best. I knew that he could survive.”

After graduating from St. John’s College High School in the District, Brown enrolled in the Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 1978, headed to a life patrolling the seas even though he didn’t know how to swim. As a cadet, one of his first assignments was to learn basic strokes.

He later helped create a campus network for minority students at the school. In 1977, he became the first African American to lead the U.S. Coast Guard Academy corps of cadets, the Coast Guard’s student body.

“The vast majority of my career, people embraced me for my passion and ability,” Brown said. When incidents of racism arose, “I decided to confront it at its face.”

Papp, the Commandant, described Brown as a friend and mentor. Earlier in their careers, the two officers commuted together to their office in Washington. During one conversation on the way to work, they talked about officer promotions and assignments. Papp said he was surprised when Brown pointed out that bias kept some Black officers from advancement.

All of us human beings, whether we admit it or not, have our own biases,” Papp said. “He opened my eyes to those biases and made me look harder to make sure that we are a balanced and diverse service. “

This marked the end of an era that began in June 1974 when VADM Brown had been sworn in as Cadet 4/c, fourth class, Manson K. Brown.

On 8 May 2008 at the Coast Guard Maintenance and Logistics Command Pacific, Alameda, California, RADM Manson K. Brown was relieved by CAPT Robert E. Day. RADM Brown will take command of the 14th Coast Guard District on 22 May 2008.

 

The Change of Command ceremony is a time-honored tradition which formally symbolizes the continuity of authority as the command is passed from one individual to another. It is a formal ceremony which is conducted before the assembled company of the Command. The Change of Command as traditionally practiced within the Coast Guard is unique in the world today; it is a transfer of total responsibility, authority, and accountability from one individual to another.

 

 

The Change of Command is a big event in any service. It is an opportunity for the unit to look sharp to all the visitors and to put out the welcome mat to the incoming administration. It is hard to not be inspired by the pomp and circumstance of such an event. It is inspiring to watch a Change of Command ceremony.

 

The colors have been posted.

 

The Honor Guard is ready for inspection.

 

All present and accounted for, Sir.

 

Sempter Peratus. Always ready. Ready; Willing; and Able.

 

Reading of Citation to accompany The Legion of Merit.

 

Admiral Brown awarded the Legion of Merit.

 

Admiral Brown recieves his personal flag.

 

Sir, I stand relieved.

 

A 2-star promotion.

 

Admiral and Mrs. Manson K. Brown ready for duty, Sir.

 

The Maintenance & Logistics crew thanks you.

 

From the CPO Association a hat box for your Honorary CPO cap.

 

The National Naval Officers’ Association thanks you.

 

The Navy League thanks you.

 

 

 

The Change of Command ceremony for RADM Manson K. Brown signaled a PROMISE of what can be, or what might be, and how great the Coast Guard can be. I experienced a sense of promise and a sense of hope in the future of the Coast Guard. My hope is inspired by RADM Brown’s promotion, transfer, and the fact that he is on track to become the Coast Guard’s first African American Commandant.

 

As I sat in the audience at the Change of Command ceremony I saw what had become of the braniac high school senior that I had recruited out of Saint John’s Prep School in Washington, DC in 1973. What I saw surpassed my wildest expectations. I saw a Coast Guard admiral of cosmopolitan intellectualism and oratorical eloquence. With his image and the power of his words, he embodies the type of leader that the Coast Guard will need in the next few years. RADM Brown projected a youthful vigor and indescribable charisma. There was an inherent decency and sincerity in his pleasant face and smile.

 

I like to read Alexis de Tocqueville. He was a 19th Century French statesman and writer who liked to travel around America and make comments about what he observed in the American body politic. On one occasion he noted a characteristic in the American spirit that he felt boded well for America; that is, America’s “capacity for self-correction”.

 

I believe that the Coast Guard also has a capacity for self-correction. It is time for a change. Change is in the air. It is time to move on. It is time for healing. It is time to embrace change. I pray that the Americans occupying the most senior positions in the United States Coast Guard will exhibit that sense of self-correction and get back on course.

 

A mid-course correction could be accomplished by a change at the top, by a single act of bold and daring leadership. Selecting Manson K. Brown as the next Coast Guard Commandant would be such an act of bold and daring leadership.

 

Admiral Brown presents Maintenance & Logistics Command Pacific Domain’s Enlisted Person of the Year Award (CAPT Belmondo, YN2 Rocklage, RDML Brown, CMC Cale-Jones).

 

 

 

NOW HEAR THIS! NOW HEAR THIS!! Change is inevitable no matter who is selected to be the next Commandant. Thad Allen came in with such high expectations, but he has not delivered. His superb job during and after Hurricane Katrina led many to expect more from ADM Allen, but his tenure has been marked by a series of blunders and missteps. He has not provided the moral leadership the Coast Guard has needed at one of its darkest hours. As the supreme leader of the Nation’s only humanitarian service, he has abandoned the moral high ground. In retrospect his performance during Hurricane Katrina appears to have been motivated more by a desire to upstage, Michael Brown, the former Director of FEMA than to render aid and comfort to the tragic victums of a natural disaster.

 

From the Cadet Webster Smith court-martial to the Deepwater fiasco and his failure to provide proper supervision of the Coast Guard Office of Civil Rights, ADM Allen’s performance has earned him unflattering comments from the Congressmen and Senators who oversee his areas of responsibility.

 

The “noose incidents” occurred on his watch. He appears to have done nothing about them. The investigations were ineffectual. It was left to the Governor of Connecticut to take decisive action. The Connecticut State General Assembly was taking the lead in an area where initiative and strong leadership are drastically needed.

On 25 March 2008, the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted 43-0 in favor of a bill that makes it a hate crime to hang a noose on public or private property, without permission of the property owner, and with the intent to harass or intimidate.

 

GOOD EVENING, MR AND MRS AMERICA AND ALL THE SHIPS AT SEA. THIS JUST IN FROM HARTFORD, Conn. (9/29/08) If a person tries to intimidate
someone by hanging a noose, he or she could face
criminal penalties in Connecticut
. A law making it a

crime to display nooses will takes effect Wednesday, 1 October.

 

The law was passed after five nooses were discovered

in the state last year. In summer 2007, someone left

nooses for a Black Coast Guard Academy cadet and an

officer conducting race relations training at the United States Coast Guard Academy, New London,Connecticut.

 

The cadet in question was not Cadet Webster Smith, a Black cadet, who was the first Coast Guard Academy cadet ever to receive the Draconian punishment of a General Court-martial under circumstances that indicated racism was the motivating fator.

 

Three nooses were found in West Hartford last fall. In

July, a Bridgeport judge presiding over a murder trial

dismissed an entire jury after the drawing of a noose

was found in the deliberation room.

 

 

Govovernor M. Jodi Rell said they are symbols of racism. The

state’s hate crimes law already includes similar

language for cross burnings.

 

(Halloween or theatrical displays are allowed under the

law but people caught using a noose to threaten or

intimidate could face up to five years in prison).

 

As Thomas Jackson said at the time, “The noose story is not the epicenter of Coast Guard Civil Rights issues. Equal Civil Rights are the story. The Coast Guard must and we think they will come to terms with this issue and others confronting the service. Leadership is the key to unlocking binds that hold progress in Equal Civil Rights back. Admiral Thad Allen is searching for the key with all his energy, but his staff expends ten times the energy hiding the key in a new location each time he gets close.

 

When asked about the Webster Smith court-martial, ADM Allen replied that the “process” had worked just as it was supposed to and just as he expected. On the otherhand, in an attempt to remove the albatross from the neck of the Coast Guard, it was ADM Robert Papp who took steps to remove ADM James Van Sice from office. ADM Van Sice and CAPT Doug Wisniewski were the architects of the Webster Smith travesty. It would appear that while ADM Thad Allen has his head in the clouds, it is ADM Robert Papp who has his feet on the ground. It kind of reminds one of the differences between George Patton and Omar Bradley. One was all talk and the other was mostly silent action.

 

With his new job as Atlantic Area Commander, VADM Papp is a step closer to the top job, but Manson Brown would be a better choice. His experience is broader, and he preceeded Barack Obama to Iraq by several years. The details of that duty are classified. There was a time when he was the special envoy of SEC-DOT Norman Mineta. The Selection Board for Commandant will have all of the relevant facts. While either Brown or Papp would be a better Commandant than Allen, VADM Manson K. Brown would be the wiser choice. History would smile on such a choice.

Admiral Brown at Lei-cutting ceremony to celebrate opening of the CG Clinic at Tripler Army Medical Facility in Hawaii; at right with Major General Hawley-Bowland (Commanding General, Tripler Army Medical Center), and RADM Brice-O’Hara (CG D14 Commander).

 

 

RDML Brown meets major league catcher, Travis Buck, before throwing out the first pitch at the Oakland Athletics’ annual Coast Guard Day game.

 

 

Admiral Brown, 14th CG District Commander answered questions about its downed HH-65C Dolphin helicopter. “The work the Coast Guard does is hazardous,” said Brown. “We do dangerous jobs in dangerous environments. We employ training and standard operating procedures to minimize the risk to our people. Losing a fellow ‘Coastie’ is like losing a child; it is an indescribable feeling,” said Brown, who has been in the service for 30 years. He said he met with the three spouses at the hospital earlier. “We have thrown our cloak of comfort and concern around these families as if they were our own. We are going to take care of them in the absence of their loved ones.”

 

 

The U.S. Coast Guard’s fight against minor maritime law violations may be a precursor to terrorism activities, according to one of its district commanders. Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown, USCG, commander, 14th Coast Guard District, described how fishing violations in U.S. exclusive economic zones may be laying the groundwork for terrorist actions in the same manner that piracy and terrorism have become linked.

 

Solving the problem of illegal fishing in the 14th Coast Guard District—which spans vast areas of the Pacific near many small island nations—may also position the Coast Guard to deal with emerging terrorist threats in the region. Tight federal budgets preclude the possibility of the Coast Guard adding large numbers of ships and crews, the admiral said. Instead, the Coast Guard must rely on technologies to fill the gap.

 

And, just as with conventional military operations, international collaboration is another key to success. Fish poachers can flee into waters of another sovereign island nation and grab fish there, which effectively defeats U.S. efforts to curb illegal fishing that threatens to deplete stocks. Adm. Brown described how the U.S. Coast Guard has a cooperative agreement with the Cook Islands that allows that country’s officials to use U.S. vessels as platforms for chasing poachers in their own waters. The admiral is pursuing similar agreements with other small island nations, and this collaboration can serve to help combat terrorism if it emerges in the region.

 

Feburary 2009 , the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) honored Coast Guard District Fourteen Commander Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown for his leadership and commitment to service with a Thurgood Marshall Flag Officers Award.

 

 

(In Picture) Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle and Rear Adm. Manson Brown at the Coast Guard District Fourteen Ball last year.

“I am pleased and privileged to be linked with a statesman such as Thurgood Marshall,” said Brown, a civil engineer who has risen through the ranks of the U.S. Coast Guard to command the service’s largest geographic district. “This is truly a humbling experience and I am honored to build upon Justice Marshall’s legacy by furthering his commitment to leadership.”

 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my years in the United States Coast Guard and I recommend a career in our service to any young person looking for adventure and opportunities for professional growth,” said Brown, a 1978 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. “Officer or enlisted, the Coast Guard offers opportunities to grow and learn in a dynamic environment

 

Governor Linda Lingle is the sixth elected Governor of Hawai‘i. She is the first mayor, first woman and first person of Jewish ancestry to be Governor. She is also the first Republican to lead the Aloha State in more than 40 years. In November 2005, she was awarded the Diversity Best Practices Award for Leadership in Government – the first such award for a state’s chief executive.

 

Rear Adm. Manson Brown, at podium, commander of the 14th Coast Guard District, officiated at a change of command ceremony in which Lt. Cmdr. Bob Little, second from right on stage, took command of the cutter Kukui from Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Matadobra, third from right on stage. (Apr2009)

 

(Galveston, TX June 20, 2009)

Free At Last; Free At Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free At Last.

 

Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown painted a picture of the African-Americans who stood in the yard of Ashton Villa on June 19, 1865, to hear the news that they were free.

 

Admiral Brown, the third African-American to reach the rank of admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard, invited the audience at the annual reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to think about those who first heard the proclamation read, informing them that they were free.

 

Their thoughts might have focused on working their own land, rather than some else’s, Admiral Brown said. Perhaps they were thinking about the ability to raise a family without fear of violence or of separation, he said.

 

Admiral Brown invited the audience to wonder whether any of those who heard that first reading of the proclamation in Texas could envision a day when the U.S. Armed Forces would be led by African-American generals and admirals — and when the nation would be led by an African-American president, Barack H. Obama.

 

This is hallowed ground, not just for this community, but for the nation,” Brown said.

 

For the 30th year, Al Edwards, the Texas state representative who wrote the legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday, organized the reading of the proclamation at Ashton Villa.

 

Doug Mathews, assistant vice president at the University of Texas Medical Branch, led the audience through an event that included music, prayers and comments from Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, council members Tarris Woods, Dr. Linda Colbert and Danny Weber, County Commissioner Stephen Holmes and State Rep. Craig Eiland.

 

Later Friday, crowds watched the Juneteenth Parade, joined in a picnic at Wright Cuney Park and heard gospel music at Mount Olive Baptist Church.

 

On the Texas mainland, residents marked the day with gospel music, dominoes and softball tournaments, concerts, beauty pageants and the readings of the Emancipation Proclamation. Some of the festivals stretched on into the evening.

 

At Texas City’s festival, organizers honored Jasper Victoria, one of the founders of the Southside Juneteenth Celebration.

 

Mr. Victoria, a deacon at New Macedonia Church in Hitchcock, grew up in south Texas City, said Lynn Ray Ellison, one of the festival organizers.

 

“He’s always been a good civic and community worker,” Ellison said.

 

In Hitchcock, the Stringfellow Orchard House displayed artwork by League City artist Ted Ellis. The exhibit, “American Slavery: The Reason Why We’re Here,” depicts the transportation of slaves, the industry of slavery and crop production and the abolition of slavery.

 

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — In a ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, July 16, 2009 command of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point will be transferred from Capt. Bradley Bean to Capt. Anthony “Jack” Vogt.

 

The 14th Coast Guard District Commander, Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown, will preside over the ceremony, which celebrates time-honored traditions associated with the transfer of command. Guests invited include Coast Guardsmen stationed on Oahu and in Hawaii, service members from other branches, government and industry partners and community members.

 

Coast Guard Day, 4 August 2009.

With this week’s 219th birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard, I’d like to share with Honolulu Star-Bulletin readers the commitment of America’s fifth armed service to provide maritime safety, security and stewardship in and around Hawaii.

 

As America’s maritime shield of freedom, the men and women of the Coast Guard in Hawaii stand the watch every day, ready to respond at a moment’s notice to those in peril on the sea and perform our multiple missions. Our air, cutter and small boat crews collaborate with other federal, state, and local maritime partners, as well as the maritime industry, to accomplish these missions.

 

In the past year, we’ve partnered many times with NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on marine debris recovery and marine mammal relocation missions in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. While patrolling the pristine waters of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, we’ve documented several boats fishing illegally and worked with the U.S. Attorney’s office to ensure those fishermen were held accountable. Earlier this summer, Coast Guard law enforcement personnel embarked aboard a U.S. Navy frigate and extended our service’s ability to curb illegal fishing in the Pacific – a first for both services.

 

For many of our “guardians,” service in the U.S. Coast Guard has provided a way forward to achieve America’s dream. Whether military or civilian, active duty or reserve, or selfless volunteers in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, we are proud to serve as members of “Team Coast Guard.” Being a part of Hawaii’s ohana makes our service here all the more special.

 

Mahalo, Hawaii, for your support.

Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown is the 14th Coast Guard District commander in Honolulu

 

Obama Administration Officials to Hold Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting in the Pacific Islands on September 29, 2009

 

 

HONOLULU, HI – Obama Administration officials will hold an Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting in the Pacific Islands on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, and Rear Admiral Manson Brown, Commander 14th Coast Guard District, consists of senior-level officials from Administration agencies, departments, and offices.

 

 

The Task Force, established by President Obama via presidential memorandum on June 12, is charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning. The meeting in the Pacific Islands will be the fourth regional public meeting held since the Task Force was created.

 

STOP THE PRESSES. WE INTERRUPT FOR AN EMERGENCY MESSAGE.

 

(Sept 29) PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — A powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday 29 Sept, flattening villages, killing at least 39 people and leaving dozens of workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities.

 

 

Cars and people were swept out to sea by the fast-churning water as survivors fled to high ground, where they remained huddled hours later. Signs of devastation were everywhere, with a giant boat getting washed ashore and coming to rest on the edge of a highway and floodwaters swallowing up cars and homes.

 

American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono said at least 50 were injured, in addition to the deaths.

 

The U.S. Coast Guard planned sent a C-130 plane to American Samoa to deliver aid and assess damage after the powerful earthquake and tsunami hit the U.S. territory.

Rear Adm. Manson Brown, Coast Guard commander for the Pacific region, said the Coast Guard is in the early stages of assessing what resources to send to American Samoa.

 

“We’re going to assume, because a tsunami of this sort is probably going to wreak havoc in the port, we’re going to have to get additional personnel and supplies down through the airport,” Brown told reporters.

 

A tsunami creates the risk of pollution if the waves damaged port refueling facilities, Brown said.

 

We need to make sure we mitigate any hazard to human beings or hazards to the environment,” he said.

 

The U.S. Pacific Command, which is responsible for all U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region, hadn’t received any requests for help and wasn’t considering sending, spokesman Maj. Brad Gordon said.

 

Quote of the Day:

There is no warfare area more important than cyber.”—Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet

 

The challenges of the Pacific region and cyberwarfare issues dominated discussion on the second day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii November 2-5. The new J-6 of the Pacific Command (PACOM), Brig. Gen. Brett T. Williams, USAF, began the day by calling for a new relationship between communicators and operators.

 

“What happens in cyberspace doesn’t stay in cyberspace; it affects the real world,” he declared. The U.S. military doesn’t need a cyber planning tool; it needs an integrated warfare planning tool. Information as a weapon and as a tool to further the commander’s capabilities will be much more powerful as a result, he said.

 

The Pacific theater of operations is providing new challenges to the U.S. Coast Guard, said the commander of the 14th Coast Guard District. Rear Adm. Manson Brown, USCG, told a luncheon audience that the Coast Guard increasingly is dealing with national security aspects as it carries out traditional missions deep into the Pacific.

 

Protecting precious fisheries are a national security issue, particularly as small island nations depend on fishing for food and commerce, he noted. If commercial concerns brazenly break rules and overfish, the well-being of these nations is threatened. Food security is a top issue with each of these countries.

 

Because it can be hard to get multiple nations to agree on something, the Coast Guard is entering into bilateral agreements to pursue joint interests in the vast region. Adm. Brown cited as an example how U.S. Coast Guard surveillance and reconnaissance information passed to its counterpart in Kiribati helped that small island nation catch illegal fishing in its waters. Apprehending the illegal fishers both stopped them and generated $4.7 million in fines’ revenue for Kiribati.

 

 

(Rear Adm. Manson Brown, commander, 14th U.S. Coast Guard District, thanks the crew of the guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) for supporting the Coast Guard in locating and investigating vessels suspected of illegal fishing in June.)

SANTA RITA, Guam.- The commander of 14th U.S. Coast Guard District awarded special operations ribbons to USS Crommelin (FFG 37) Sailors while in Guam Dec. 4.

 

Rear Adm. Manson Brown, commander, 14th U.S. Coast Guard District, presented the award in honor of Crommelin’s support of a Coast Guard mission to protect natural resources from June 15-29.

 

Crommelin, along with law enforcement officers from 14th U.S. Coast Guard District, searched for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing vessels operating along 16 million square miles of ocean near Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and other areas in the Western Pacific.

 

The fight-for-fish mission and the improvement of a persistent presence with respect to fisheries enforcement were the main objectives of the operation.

 

The importance of the fish there is not only in terms of economy, but also for feeding the people of the islands,” said Brown, who was in Guam to visit U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam. “It’s truly a national security issue for the United States.”

 

Brown said the mission proves that partnerships between the Navy and Coast Guard can provide positive results as the nation promotes a Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower. Also known as the nation’s Maritime Strategy, the concept aims to protect and sustain the United States and its allies’ interests and assets around the world.

 

Cmdr. Kevin Parker, commanding officer of Crommelin, said the mission was a win-win situation for everyone involved. He said the mission exercised and refreshed his crew’s skills. The training and detection equipment used throughout the mission was similar to the training and equipment used to locate pirates, warships and other hostile forces. During this mission, they investigated eight vessels, one of which did not have proper licensing.

 

Parker said the mission was successful in areas other than strengthening operability with the Coast Guard.

 

In Pohnpei, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, Crommelin’s crew hosted a luncheon for the island’s dignitaries and sent Navy volunteers to paint bleachers at a baseball field.

 

“The people from town poured out, and it became a cooperative effort with the people and the Sailors,” said Parker.

 

 

Nomination: PN1324-111

Date Received: December 22, 2009 (111th Congress)

Nominee: One nomination, beginning with Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., and ending with Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr.

Referred to: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

 

 

Legislative Actions

Floor Action: December 22, 2009 – Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Organization: Coast Guard

 

List of Nominees:

The following named individual for appointment as Commandant of the United States Coast Guard and to the grade indicated under title 14, U.S.C., Section 44:

 

To be Admiral

 

 

Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp , Jr.

 

 

Control Number: 111PN0132400

 

December 22, 2009

 

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

Contact: 202-282-8010

 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today applauded President Obama’s intent to nominate Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Vice Admiral Papp would relieve Admiral Thad Allen in May 2010.

 

“The Coast Guard plays a vital role in protecting our nation—securing America’s borders, protecting our ports, and providing critical aid during disasters,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Vice Admiral Papp’s extensive knowledge of the Coast Guard’s operations and broad mission will strengthen our efforts to ensure the nation’s maritime security.”

 

As Coast Guard Commandant, Papp will lead one of the Department’s largest components-comprised of approximately 42,000 Active Duty men and women and more than 7,000 civilian employees-and oversee Coast Guard functions as a branch of the armed services and a federal law enforcement agency.

 

Biography.

 

Papp currently serves as Commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area (LANTAREA) and Defense Force East—functioning as the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions within the eastern half of the world. Prior to assuming command of LANTAREA, he served as the Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard in Washington.

 

Papp served as Ninth Coast Guard District Commander from 2004-2006, and was previously promoted to Flag rank in October 2002 and appointed Director of Reserve and Training. His Coast Guard career includes extensive tours on both land and sea including service on six Coast Guard Cutters and posts such as Chief of the Capabilities Branch in the Defense Operations Division; Chief of the Fleet Development Team; and Chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Congressional Affairs.

 

Papp graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 1975, three years ahead of ADM Manson K Brown. He holds a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College and a master’s in management from Salve Regina College.

 

Vice Admiral Papp concurrently serves as Commander, Defense Force East and provides Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders.

 

Before assuming command of LANTAREA Vice Admiral Papp served as the Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard in Washington, DC, overseeing all management functions of the Coast Guard. From 2004 to 2006 he served as Commander, Ninth Coast Guard

 

District, with responsibilities for Coast Guard missions on the Great Lakes and Northern Border.

 

Vice Admiral Papp was promoted to Flag rank in October 2002 and appointed the Director of Reserve and Training. He was responsible for managing and supporting 13,000 Coast Guard Ready Reservists and all Coast Guard Training Centers.

 

He served in six Coast Guard Cutters and commanded the Cutters RED BEECH, PAPAW, FORWARD, and the Coast Guard’s training barque, EAGLE. He has also served as commander of a task unit during Operation ABLE MANNER off the coast of Haiti in 1994, enforcing United Nations sanctions. Additionally, his task unit augmented U.S. Naval Forces during Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY.

 

Vice Admiral Papp’s assignments ashore have included the Commandant of Cadets staff at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy; Aids to Navigation staff in the Third Coast Guard District; Chief of the Capabilities Branch in the Defense Operations Division; Chief of the Fleet Development Team; Director of the Leadership Development Center; Chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Congressional Affairs; and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard.

 

He is a 1975 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. Additionally, he holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College and a Master of Science in Management from Salve Regina College.

 

Vice Admiral Papp is the 13th Gold Ancient Mariner of the Coast Guard which is an honorary position held by an officer with over ten years of cumulative sea duty who is charged with keeping a close watch to ensure sea-service traditions are continued and the time-honored reputation of the Coast Guard is maintained.

 

WASHINGTON(AP)- President Obama’s pick to lead the Coast Guard wants to make major cuts to the agency’s counterterrorism mission over the next five years.

 

An internal memo from Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., Obama’s nominee to become Coast Guard commandant, says that starting in 2012, he would slash funding for programs in the agency’s homeland security plan, including patrols and training exercises.

 

The memo, marked “sensitive — for internal Coast Guard use only,” was obtained by The Associated Press.

 

Papp’s outline is significant because it could mean major changes for the more than 200-year-old agency that took on substantial homeland security duties after Sept. 11, 2001. Obama’s 2011 proposed budget cuts for the Coast Guard have already caused outrage from some lawmakers.

 

According to Papp’s memo, he would scale back the Coast Guard’s counterterrorism priorities in favor of running traditional search-and-rescue operations that save people in imminent danger on the water and maintaining the maritime transportation system.

 

In the memo, Papp said he wants to eliminate teams that are trained to respond to and prevent terror attacks. These teams also train other Coast Guard forces on counterterrorism operations.

 

Papp said the strike teams were created after Sept. 11 “to fill a perceived void in national counterterrorism response capability.” He says in the memo that other federal agencies are better at this type of mission.

 

He also calls for cuts to the Coast Guard’s largest homeland security operation, which patrols critical infrastructure and other sensitive security structures on or near waterways. And he would decrease the number of specialized units stationed in key coastal areas where an attack could be devastating.

 

Obama has already proposed closing five of the 12 specialized units in 2011.

 

“In view of the fiscal horizon, we must make bold and systematic strategic decisions,” Papp wrote in the memo, dated Nov. 10, 2009. Obama announced his intention to nominate Papp on Dec. 22.

 

Coast Guard spokesman Ron LaBrec said the memo was written in response to a Coast Guard headquarters request to identify potential areas for budget cuts down the road. LaBrec said it is part of a department-wide review of homeland security missions leading to spending proposals for 2012. But he said the memo does not represent Papp’s own preferences or priorities.

 

Tom Gavin, the spokesman for the administration’s Office of Management and Budget, said the White House is not involved in the internal budget considerations for 2012.

 

Papp also wants to cut back on the number of ships doing daily counternarcotics operations in the Caribbean. Currently, about six ships carry out that mission daily, according to Papp’s memo.

 

He wants to trim the number back to an average of 4 1/2 ships a day, while keeping the Coast Guard cutters that perform anti-narcotics operations in transit zones to respond to specific intelligence about drug trafficking.

 

“What I offered above is just a fraction of what is needed, and I’m prepared to go further,” Papp wrote in the memo.

 

After reading the memo, Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, said Papp’s proposals would gut an agency critical to national security. Olson said he is “pretty scared” that Papp is the administration’s pick to run the Coast Guard.

 

Obama himself proposed cutting 1,100 active duty personnel this year – a move that is meeting resistance from some Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. Congress ultimately decides how federal agencies are funded.

 

“It’s up to the Coast Guard to help protect our ports and our maritime industry, and it cannot do that without adequate funding,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said in a statement.

 

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said Obama’s homeland security proposal is “dead on arrival.” Rogers is the top Republican on the appropriations committee that overseas homeland security spending.

 

Responding to criticism about the proposed Coast Guard cuts in the 2011 budget, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “I think the Coast Guard is one of the most under-appreciated assets of this country.”

 

The Coast Guard was transferred from the Transportation Department to the newly created Homeland Security Department in 2003. In times of war, the Coast Guard may be transferred to the Department of the Navy. It has 42,000 active-duty volunteers.

 

 

Washington (03 Feb 2010)– Coast Guard Commandant Thad W. Allen announced today the members of the services leadership team that will take over when he is relieved as Commandant by Vice Admiral Robert Papp on May 25.

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano has forwarded and President Obama has approved the new leaders. The President has forwarded the nominations to the Senate for its consideration.

 

The new leadership team will consist of:

 

■Rear Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara – promoted to Vice Admiral and assignment as Vice Commandant;

■Rear Admiral Robert C. Parker – promoted to Vice Admiral and assignment as Commander, Atlantic Area;

Rear Admiral Manson K. Brown – promoted to Vice Admiral and assignment as Commander, Pacific Area.

■Vice Admiral John P. Currier will continue to serve as the Chief of Staff.

■Rear Admiral Brian M. Salerno will be assigned as the Deputy Commandant for Operations, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.

 

(8 Feb 2010)

 

U.S. Coast Guard admiral named chair of Federal Executive Board for 2010 HONOLULU– The incoming chair of the Honolulu-Pacific Federal Executive Board, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown (right), congratulates outgoing chair U.S. Marine Corps Col. Kirk Bruno in an official hand-off of duties, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010. The Federal Executive Board (FEB) was an initiative in 1961 by President Kennedy to improve inter-agency coordination and communication among federal departments outside of Washington, D.C. The Honolulu-Pacific FEB is comprised of more than 120 senior officials on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. Federal workers in Hawaii include more than 40,375 Department of Defense employees, more than 30,000 non-DoD employees and more than 302,780 military members. Under Bruno’s leadership, the FEB policy committee assisted the FEB on several important training exercises (one in November for the stockpile of medicine, another simulating a hurricane in June and another concerning a chemical or biological incident in June). The committee also helped in the planning for an annual FEB luncheon in May and the planning for a “continuity of operations” training session in May, when federal agencies reviewed emergency preparedness issues. Brown will chair the FEB for 2010 and Daryl Ishizaki of the U.S. Postal Service will serve as vice chair.

 

 

Coast Guard selects new three star admirals.

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, has announced the selection of new three star admirals who will serve under Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, when he becomes the Coast Guard’s twenty-fourtth commandant May 25, upon Senate confirmation.

 

Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano and President Obama approved the nominations of Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as Vice Commandant; Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area and Rear Adm. Robert C. Parker for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as commander of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area. Vice Adm. John P. Currier will continue to serve as the chief of staff. Appointment to these billets and promotion as appropriate will occur following confirmation by the Senate.

 

Brice-O’Hara graduated from Goucher College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1974. She received her Coast Guard commission from Officer Candidate School (OCS) in the Class of 1975 She is a native of Annapolis, Md., is currently deputy commandant for operations in Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, where she is responsible for the strategic integration of operational missions. As the service’s second in command, Brice-O’Hara will be in charge of executing the commandant’s strategic intent, managing internal organizational governance and also serving as the Coast Guard’s acquisition executive.

 

Manson K. Brown, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 1978, is a native of the District of Columbia, serves as commander for the Fourteenth Coast Guard District in Honolulu, where he is responsible for the safety and security of nearly 12.2 million square miles of the Central Pacific Ocean, an area more than two and a half times larger than the Continental United States. Brown will be the Coast Guard’s first African American three star admiral. At Pacific Area, Brown will command all Coast Guard missions in a 74 million square mile area ranging from South America, north to the Arctic Circle and west to the Far East.

 

Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown was recognized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a ceremony at the PJKK Federal Building, Feb. 10, 2010. Brown is the 14th Coast Guard district commander and was recognized for the Coast Guard’s contributions in marine mammal response, conservation, and assistance provided on such missions as Hawaiian monk seal relocations and whale disentanglements and strandings. NOAA and the Coast Guard routinely work on such missions throughout the main Hawaiian Islands. Presenting the award was Bill Robinson, director of NOAA’s Pacific Islands Regional Office.

 

The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education, welfare and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that its 8th Annual Tribute to the United States Coast Guard’s Fourteenth District will take place on Thursday, March 11, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Honoring local Coast Guard members who protect coastline shores from the Hawaiian Islands to Guam, the gala’s Chairman is Mr. Vic Angoco, vice president—Pacific of Matson Navigation and the Keynote Speaker is ADM Thad Allen, United States Coast Guard Commandant. Remarks will also be given by RADM Manson Brown, commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District, and Anne B. Brengle, president of the Coast Guard Foundation.

 

 

 

At this year’s tribute, the United States Coast Guard will honor two award recipients. Governor Linda Lingle will be presented with the Distinguished Public Service Award for her unwavering support of the Hawaii-based Coast Guard heroes.

 

(In Picture) Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle and Rear Adm. Manson Brown at the Coast Guard District Fourteen Ball 2009.

 

Petty Officer William Horne will receive the Coast Guard Medal for the heroism he demonstrated while off duty with his family by rescuing five people from a pickup truck involved in an automobile accident in Guam on February 8, 2009.

 

 

(Left to right,Rear Admiral Manson K. Brown, COMCOGARD Dist 14, with Lt. David Shook, an Air Station Barbers Point pilot, and with his wife, after receiving the Air Medal, March 22, 2010.)

 

Shook was awarded the high honor for his performance of duty during a rescue mission off the French Frigate Shoals, an atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Oct. 20, 2009.

 

The Air Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes him or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.

 

(Rear Admiral Robert Parker, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 1979, is a native of Portland, Ore., serves as the U.S. Southern Command’s first director of security and intelligence in Miami, where he directs U.S. military operations and intelligence efforts, and coordinates interagency operations in Southern Command’s area of responsibility. He is the first Coast Guard officer to serve as a director in a Department of Defense command. In his new position at Atlantic Area, Parker will command an area of responsibility that ranges from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf and includes five Coast Guard Districts, 42 states and over 14 million square miles.

 

A Vice Admiral must be an Academy graduate in order to become Commandant.

 

(WEST POINT, 12/21/2010) And speaking of change, the Coast Guard will have the first woman superintendent of a military service academy at the helm of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy when classes convene next summer. The commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Bob Papp, has selected Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz, Coast Guard director of reserve and leadership, for the superintendent position. Rear Admiral Stosz graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1982 with a bachelor of science degree in Government.

 

“Rear Adm. Stosz has dedicated her career to developing professional Coast Guard men and women,” said U.S. Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Robert J. Papp. “We are also extremely proud to be the first service with a woman at the helm of our academy.

 

The Coast Guard has always led by allowing men and women equal access to all career fields and assignments.”

 

In her current position, Stosz is responsible for policy affecting the recruitment and training of more than 8,000 Coast Guard reserve members. She has also commanded the Coast Guard’s only recruit training center in Cape May, N.J. She will be the first and only female commander to head any of the nation’s five military academies.

 

“I am humbled by the prospect of taking over such an important position in our service and honored to be following Rear Adm. Burhoe,” said Stosz. “The school and officer corps have benefited in so many ways from Scott’s outstanding leadership and vision.”

 

Under the command of the current superintendent, Rear Adm. J. Scott Burhoe, the school was ranked as a top college by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and listed as the number one college in the northeast by U.S. News and World Report. The school had five Fulbright and three Truman scholars during his tenure. Burhoe also improved the school’s diversity record, doubling the percentage of minority admissions from 12 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2010.

 

“Rear Adm. Stosz is an excellent choice to succeed me as superintendent,” said Burhoe, “She has a distinguished record of service, and as a member of the board of trustees understands the importance of continuing to move the academy forward on its current track.”

 

Burhoe is scheduled to retire July 1.

 

The Coast Guard Academy was established in 1876. The oldest service academy is West Point which was established in 1802.


(Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown speaks to U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets, staff, and faculty during the Eclipse Week Keynote Dinner April 4, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.) Pictured with VADM Brown is CDR Merle James Smith Academy Class of 1966. First African American Academy graduate. 2016 will be the 50th Anniversary of his historic accomplishment.

 

 

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Lawyers Fight Among Themselves Before They Fight The Opposition

Seattle-based John Henry Browne is the civilian attorney representing Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier accused of murdering 17 Afghan villagers. Attorney Browne wants to replace the military lawyer assigned to the case. They are having serious disagreements over how to handle the defense.

“You are fired, sorry, but we have much more experience than you,” Attorney Browne, said to military lawyer Major Thomas Hurley. Major is an experienced military lawyer. He has handled more than 60 military courts-martial; three involved homicide charges; however, none were capital cases.

The Army assigns defense counsel such as Hurley to soldiers facing court martial but defendants also have the right to hire additional civilian counsel. The military assigned counsel is called the Detailed Military counsel (DMC). The hired civilian counsel is called the Individual Military counsel (IMC).

“Major Hurley is not a team player and has no experience in murder cases, we do,” Attorney Browne has said. “We have gotten 17 not guilty verdicts in murder cases and have gotten life verdicts in all our death penalty cases.”

Browne unleashed a unilateral public attack on the way U.S. prosecutors are handling the investigation into the shooting and accused U.S. authorities of blocking access to potential witnesses. There is also disagreement over the decision to put Bales’ wife on the television talk show circuit.

Major Hurley believes making public statement on television before the trial “limit our options at trial or expose important witnesses to effective cross-examination that they would otherwise not have to face”.

I faced similar situations when I was a retired officer Coast Guard Law Specialist representing Coast Guard members in Coast Guard Base  New York in courts-martial. However, I never had to assert my authority as lead counsel, Individual Military Counsel (IMC). The Coast Guard always detailed the most junior and inexperienced military counsel to the members that I represented. They were only qualified to carry my brief case and take notes, and they knew it. They were content to observe and listen and sometimes offer a helpful comment. I had just retired, I knew the Uniform  Code of Military Justice; I knew the accused; and I knew the judges and all of the members of the Prosecution team; so, I was better qualified to represent the accused. And the military counsels knew this, so , they never challenged my decisions in conducting the defense of the accused.

In the case of the Coast Guard Academy court-martial of Cadet Webster Smith there was similar tension and disagreement between CDR Merle Smith, (IMC) and LT Stuart Kirkby, (DMC). LT Kirkby was not even a Coast Guard Law Specialist. He was a Navy Judge Advocate General from the Naval Submarine Base at Groton, CT..

There was serious tension between CDR Smith and LT Kirkby. The tension and friction became so acute that it required several emergency sessions with the parents of Cadet Webster Smith to settle the issues. (THIS SUBJECT WILL BE TREATED IN DETAIL IN MY NEXT BOOK, THE SEQUEL TO CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and Lady)

There were disagreements about who to put on the witness list, who to call as a witness, who wouldl make the Opening Statement, who wouldl make the Closing Argument, who would argue which motion, which motions to bring, who wouldl examine which witnesses, who would make objections to statement and questions by the Prosecution, whether to give interviews to the news media, which questions to ask which witness; and , the biggest issue of all, whether to put the Accused, Webster Smith, on the witness stand. That is always a crucial decision.  In the Webster Smith Case, it may have been the one issue decided the final verdict in the case.

http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK

 

 

This review is from: CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and Lady (Kindle Edition)

CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and a Lady: A Review.

 

I read this book. Judge London Steverson, the author, a 1968 Coast Guard Academy graduate, and retiree, did an outstanding job of parsing the facts of what is arguably a judicial tragedy.

 

According to the book, leaders at the Coast Guard Academy failed to follow the recommendation of the investigating officer, which was not to prosecute the accused of sexual assault, among other allegations, because evidence of the alleged crimes seemed insufficient; failed to follow procedures in responding to the defendant’s Article 138 claim and failed to allow the defendant the customary grace period before reporting for confinement. There are a few other apparent missteps–like failing to instruct the jury that the defense does not have a burden of proof in criminal cases–that are capably documented in the book. Rather, according to the author, the Coast Guard Academy leadership chose to prosecute on the recommendation of a staff attorney in spite of the recommendation of the investigating officer the leadership appointed.

 

As for the defendant, some of his alleged conduct could, conceivably, call into question his judgment and discretion. To that end, he seemed to overlook a common, conspiratorial axiom: “There is no honor among thieves.” As it relates to discretion, at his age he may not have heard the axiom, “Loose lips sink ships.” The defendant was popular and athletic according to the book. These are traits that some others usually find attractive. Judge Steverson details how these traits attracted several cadets to the defendant. Consequently, one of the attractees had a mishap that directly involved the defendant and the two entered into a secret pact not to reveal the mishap because it could have an impact on both of their lives as cadets. Well, the defendant’s second error seemed one of indiscretion because this particular attractee subsequently got wind of the tale involving the shared secret and turned her apparent affection into unabated vengeance. Not only did she turn to vengeance towards the once popular, now vilified athlete, but another five or six attractees also seemed to act in concert, according to the text. According to the author’s account. All it took to convict the defendant was the allegations of sexual assault among other allegations.

 

The gist of the book is the author’s plea to the Coast Guard to live up to the Constitution that its members, including the Court Martial’s convening authority and the defendant, swore to uphold and protect. He pleads with Coast Guard Academy leadership not to substitute their personal feelings of how they think the world should operate for justice. The author asks them to remain faithful to this nation’s long-standing creed of “Equal protection under the law.” Finally, the author pleads with the Coast Guard Academy leadership to adhere to established legal procedures. Rather than answer the author’s pleas to uphold and protect the Constitution, ensure equal protection under the law and adhere to established legal procedures, the author asserts the Coast Guard seemed to want to send a message to this cadet. Why this cadet? We may never know. He was talented, athletic and popular, but it is fairly certain most cadets are talented and athletic, even if not popular. Perhaps, the timing was wrong; perhaps the Coast Guard thought it was time to address the issue of sexual assault at the Coast Guard Academy or was it just bad timing for this cadet? That this cadet was the first cadet in Coast Guard history to be court martialed and had a distinguishable ethnicity is germane. Wrong place? Wrong time? You decide.

 

The author gives you a lot to work with. It is readily apparent the esteemed author thoroughly researched this matter and presented exhaustive explanations of law and fact. Transcripts of the legal proceedings are provided in the appendixes. This book is recommended to anyone interested in military legal proceedings or simple justice. The author’s assertion that this case will live in infamy does not seem like an exaggeration. Only time will tell if it is the Coast Guard Academy’s or the defendant’s infamy.

 

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Coast Guard Honors First Black Academy Graduate

United States Coast Guard Academy seal

United States Coast Guard Academy seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW LONDON, Conn. — The Coast Guard Academy in New London honored its first African-American graduate on April 1st with a new award that is named after him.

The Day newspaper of New London reports that CDR Merle James Smith Jr., USCG (Ret.) received the inaugural Merle J. Smith Pioneer Award at the Academy on Sunday, April 1st. The 67-year-old Mystic resident graduated in the Academy Class of 1966 and served 23 years of regular and reserve active duty in the Coast Guard.

CDR Smith was the first Black cadet to be admitted to the United States Coast Guard Academy. The Academy was founded in 1876.

This recognition is well deserved and long overdue. Honoring the first Black graduate honors all Black graduates. The Academy was founded in 1876. The exclusion of African Americans from the Academy from 1876 until 1962 is a tragic fact of American history. The meager resources allotted to Black recruitment is just as tragic.

CDR Smith was the first Black cadet to be admitted to the United States Coast Guard Academy. He was not an Affirmative Action cadet. He was not appointed in direct response to President Kennedy’s directive to find qualified Black high school graduates for the Academy.

The Academy was not aware at first that there was an African American cadet at the Academy. He had not been recruited as a “Black cadet”; nor, was he recognized as one by the Coast Guard Academy Admission’s Office. He was not recognized as an African American because he did not physically resemble one. None of his school records labeled him as Black, and he had not been recruited as a minority candidate. When Black spectators came to watch the entire corps of cadets march in parade, they frequently mistook Anthony Carbone and Donnie Winchester as the possible Black cadet. Carbone was an Italian, and Winchester was a Native American. They both were considerably darker than Merle Smith.

CDR Smith’s appointment had been tendered before President Kennedy issued the directive to find and appoint Black candidates for the Coast Guard Academy. His father, Colonel Merle Smith , Senior, was the Professor of Military Science at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland; and, he had formerly been an Army Staff officer at the Pentagon.

The only two Black cadets to have been recruited under President John F. Kennedy’s Directive were London Steverson and Kenneth Boyd. they both entered the Academy in 1964 and graduated in 1968.

CDR Smith is a 1974 graduate of the National Law Center at George Washington University, Washington, DC. He attended law school while serving in the Coast Guard. He became a Coast Guard Law Specialist.

After graduating, his Coast Guard career took him to Vietnam in 1969, where he commanded a patrol boat for a year. He became the first sea-service African-American to be awarded a Bronze Star. After receiving his law degree from George Washington University in 1974 he became a Coast Guard Law Specialist. Later, he returned to the New London, CT area to work as an attorney for Electric Boat, the Groton-based submarine builder.

It was after retiring from active duty in the Coast Guard, he became an adjunct law professor at the Coast Guard Academy.

In 2006 while teaching law at the Academy CDR Smith was retained as the Individual Military Counsel for Cadet Webster Smith who became the first Coast Guard Academy cadet to be court-martial in the history of the Coast Guard Academy. CDR Smith is no relation to Cadet Webster Smith. Cadet Webster Smith was detailed a Navy Judge Advocate Ggeneral (JAG) officer as his detailed military counsel. The Individual Military counsel is the lead counsel. He is a civilian and he is in charge of the defense team.

CDR Smith received a Pioneer Award. What does that mean? A “Pioneer” is a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.  What was the criteria for selection? Who was on the Selection Committee? Was there anyone else in contention? Will there be subsequent recipients? How many times can one do something for the first time?

The Award could have been called the Trailblazer Award. Trailblazer is a synonym for Pioneer. The term trailblazer signifies those who strike out on a new path or break new ground, either literally or symbolically, using skills of innovation or brave constitutions to conduct their lives off the beaten path. Often known for independent thought, rugged individualism and pioneering ways, trailblazers throughout history have included cutting-edge inventors, explorers and healers. Trailblazers throughout history all have shared an innovative spirit that kept them going when told their endeavors would be fruitless or against impossible odds. All have made their mark on history and mankind by refusing to quit and pushing ahead, most often into uncharted territory. When Merle James Smith entered the Coast Guard Academy in June 1962 he was sailing into uncharted waters. He had no chart, compass or navigator; yet, he reached his destination.

Minority recruitment remains an area that the Academy alleges is the impossible dream. Thirty-three percent of Coast Guard cadets are female; one out of three cadets is a female. The first female classes produced several flag rank officers. We have a plethora of female admirals.

In February, 1976 the Coast Guard Academy announced the appointments of female cadets to enter with the Class of 1980. Fourteen women  graduate as part of the Academy’s Class of 1980.

In 1991 a Women’s Advisory Council was established.

In 2000 the Coast Guard  promoted its first female officer to Rear Admiral. She was Captain Vivien S. Crea. She was not an Academy graduate.

In 2009 CAPT Sandra L. Stosz was promoted to Rear Admiral, becoming the first female graduate of the Coast Guard Academy to reach flag rank.

The Coast Guard was the first to select a woman superintendent of a military service academy.  Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz, Coast Guard Director of Reserve and Leadership, was selected as Superintendent of the Academy. Rear Admiral Stosz graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in the Class of 1982.

In 2008 the Academy hosted a free, public Women’s Equality Day information fair on August 26 in Munro Hall at the Academy.

Each year since 1971, when President Jimmy Carter designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day, the United States has recognized the struggle for equal rights for women.

The Coast Guard Academy celebrates the event with the theme “Strengthening Our Communities” by hosting various Coast Guard and regional community groups on campus.

“This was billed as a great opportunity for members of our Coast Guard and surrounding New London community to network and learn from the organizations that help support and strengthen Academy leadership,” said LTJG Colleen Jones, Assistant Civil Rights Officer at the Academy and the event organizer.

The various organizations in attendance were the Greater New Haven National Organization of Women, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Connecticut, National Naval Officers Association, Academy Women, Toastmasters, CG Educational Services, CG Child Development Center, and the League of Women Voters.

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