Posts Tagged With: Washington

The case For CDR Benjamin Strickland

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_F._Strickland_II

Benjamin F. Strickland II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benjamin F. Strickland II
CDR Benjamin F. Strickland II, USCG.png
Born November 20, 1972 (age 42)

Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Coast Guard  United States Navy
Years of service 1991–1995
Rank Commander
Commands held USCGC Roanoke Island (WPB-1346)
Battles/wars Operation Southern Watch

Global War on Terrorism

Operation Enduring Freedom

Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Awards USCGCO.jpg Cutterman Insignia

Surface Warfare Officer Insignia.png Surface warfare insignia

USNR Qualification Pin.jpg Merchant Marine Reserve Insignia

USCGCAFLT.jpg Command at Sea insignia

Coast Guard Commendation Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Commendation Medal

Coast Guard Achievement Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg Navy Achievement Medal

Spouse(s) Candice Lynn Osgood
Other work National Security Specialist at Maritime Administration

Benjamin F. Strickland II, is a retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander (CDR) and whistleblower advocate who alleged illegal retaliation from his Coast Guard Pacific Area chain-of-command in violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act in response to his lawfully protected communications.[1]

On May 23, 2013 CDR Strickland was serving as Acting Commanding Officer onboard USCGC Munro (WHEC-724) homeported in Kodiak, Alaska when he made an unrestricted reported regarding a sexual assault alleged to have been committed upon a MUNRO crewmember. CDR Strickland reported the sexual assault allegations immediately to his immediate superior in Command, then VADM Paul Zukunft and requested an investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), participated as a witness in the investigations which stemmed from his report, and later expressed his belief of waste, abuse of authority and gross mismanagement by CGIS and senior Coast Guard management officials. After his whistleblowing activity and complaint that CGIS was abusing it’s authority and not properly investigating the sexual assault, CDR Strickland became the target of the very investigations which stemmed from his report and was subsequently subjected to multiple acts of retaliation. CDR Strickland was removed from his primary duties, received a derogatory Officer Evaluation Report (OER), and placed in a billet not commensurate with his paygrade as a senior officer.[2] CDR Strickland subsequently filed a whistleblower retaliation complaint with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) which was accepted for investigation.[3]

Contents

Early life and education

CDR Strickland was born in 1972 and is a native of Seattle, Washington. He graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1995 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nautical Science. He attended the U.S. Naval War College in 2009 graduating with a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.[4]He is a graduate of the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS) and is a qualified Joint Operational Planner.[5]

Career

U.S. Navy

Having enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve in 1992, upon graduation from Maine Maritime Academy in 1995 CDR Strickland was honorably discharged to accept a commission as an Ensign and went on to serve three years active duty in the regular Navy. His initial assignment at sea was in USS Hopper (DDG-70) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he completed initial warfare qualifications while serving as Electronic Warfare Officer, and later First Lieutenant.

U.S. Coast Guard

In 1998, CDR Strickland transferred to the Coast Guard where he was assigned to Marine Safety Office Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington. There he qualified as a Senior Marine Inspector, enforcing US and International maritime regulations and safety standards for foreign and domestic vessels. He also served as the unit Special Interest Vessel (SIV) Officer, supervising the tracking and reporting of high-interest shipping for national intelligence agencies. In 2000 he returned to sea duty as Weapons Officer in USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720) at Alameda, California, completing patrols in the Bering Sea and Eastern Pacific. SHERMAN also deployed to the Arabian Gulf, serving as Surface Action Group (SAG) Commander for Middle East Force 01-1 and Maritime Interdiction Operations Coordinator (XJ) for the HARRY S. TRUMAN Battlegroup. In theatre as a Tactical Action Officer (TAO), CDR Strickland coordinated maritime enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq and air surveillance operations in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Upon OUTCHOP from FIFTH Fleet, SHERMAN transited home to Alameda via circumnavigation of the world.

In 2002, CDR Strickland was assigned as Coast Guard Liaison Officer at Afloat Training Group Pacific Northwest in Everett, Washington. There he qualified as an Afloat Training Specialist, managing the training, assessment and certification for three different classes of cutters as the Pacific Area Commander’s direct representative. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Operations Officer in USCGC Midgett (WHEC-726) at Seattle, Washington, coordinating Homeland Security, Search and Rescue, Fisheries and Counter-Drug missions throughout the Pacific in support of Operations NOBLE EAGLE, ARCTIC SAFEGUARD, BERING SHIELD and CAPER FOCUS. CDR Strickland commanded USCGC Roanoke Island (WPB-1346) (WPB-1346) at Homer, Alaska from 2006 to 2008[6] before attending the College of Command and Staff and Maritime Advanced Warfighting School at Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. CDR Strickland then performed a three month operational warfare assignment comprising contingency, adaptive and collaborative planning in the development of a formal Concept Plan (CONPLAN) for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

From 2009 to 2011, he was assigned as a Strategic Planner in the Office of Defense Operations (CG-532) at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC where he executed responsibility for Coast Guard input into National Defense strategy documents, plans and policy, coordination of service chief-level staff talks, resourcing of Joint Staff global force management requests, and also served as the Desk Officer for all U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command issues. CDR Strickland returned to sea as Operations Officer in USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) at Alameda, California from July 2011 to June 2012 before assuming duties as Executive Officer in USCGC Munro (WHEC-724)) in July 2012.[7] In 2014 he was reassigned to Coast Guard Headquarters as the Support Division Chief in the Office of Counterterrorism and Defense Operations (CG-ODO-3). He retired from active duty in 2015.[8]

U.S. Maritime Administration

In July 2015, CDR Strickland accepted a position at the Maritime Administration as a National Security Specialist.

Awards and decorations

USCGCO.jpg
Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).pngAward star (gold).png Ribbon of the NMCCM Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).pngAward star (gold).png
Ribbon of the NMCAM Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).png

Gold star

Gold star

Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award-star-silver-3d.png

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Surface Warfare Officer Insignia.png
USNR Qualification Pin.jpg
USCGCAFLT.jpg

References

 

 

  1. “CDR B. F. Strickland II, USCG (retired)”. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 14 July 2014.

Category:1972 births Category:Living people Category:Naval War College alumni Category:People from Seattle, Washington

 

 

Categories: Coast Guard Cases | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Mayor For Life”, Marion Barry, Says Good-bye

Marion Barry, the politician known as “Mayor for Life” has died at the age of 78. He served four terms as Mayor of Washington D. C. and was the most beloved local leader in four decades of District of Columbia self-rule.

Mourners gathered inside a cavernous hall at the Washington Convention Center to pay their final respects to former Washington D. C. Mayor Marion Barry.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered the eulogy, which was a roll call of Civil Rights Heroes, at the December 6 funeral. In his eulogy, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called Barry, who came to Washington as the first chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a “freedom fighter” who joins the pantheon of civil rights leaders who died before him. “Marion was one of the architects of the new South and the new America,” Jackson said. “Marion Barry emancipated Washington.”

http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/2014/12/04/traffic-advisory-for-marion-barry-mayor-for-life-funeral-celebration-dc/19844631/

Other speakers included the Rev. Louis Farrakhan and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who appeared on video. Barry’s widow and son also spoke.

http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/2014/12/04/traffic-advisory-for-marion-barry-mayor-for-life-funeral-celebration-dc/19844631/

Washington, D.C., on Thursday, December 4,  began a three-day final farewell to former Mayor Marion Barry.

Barry, known as the District of Columbia’s “Mayor for Life” after four terms in office, died on Nov. 23 at 78 due to heart problems. He was a city councilman when he died, representing impoverished Ward 8.

Barry’s coffin, draped in West African kente cloth and piled high with red roses, lay in repose at city hall after police pallbearers carried it past mourners, media and political leaders.

Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. accompanied Barry’s family into the black-draped building.

Many of the mourners said Barry, the son of a Mississippi sharecropper, had transformed the U.S. capital by giving jobs and hope to black residents.

Mayor Vincent Gray, (2nd from the left in above photo)a longtime friend and political ally of Barry, said Barry stood up for people with intellectual disabilities long before it was politically popular to do so. Gray, who directed an organization for the intellectually disabled, recalled how Barry dealt with a wealthy resident who didn’t want a group home in his neighborhood. “Mayor Barry said, and I quote, ‘You really don’t want any answers, do you? If you want to talk about how we will make this work, I will stay with you all night. Otherwise, I have nothing else to say to you.’ That was vintage Barry,” Gray said. “The home opened and was a huge success.”

The Rev. Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Islam who was in Washington to support Barry,  said he was asked by a reporter at the time what he thought of a man who broke his marital vows and used drugs. I said, ‘Who are you talking about, John Fitzgerald Kennedy?’ That ended the press conference,” Farrakhan said to a raucous ovation. “I only raised that for those who like to talk about our deficiencies while they hide the wickedness of their own leaders.”

Farrakhan also credited Barry with the success of the Million Man March on the National Mall, which he organized and led in 1995. “The Million Man March could never have happened in any other city at any other time than in Washington, D.C. at the time of Marion Barry,” Farrakhan said.

Barry’s only son, Christopher Barry, thanked his father for teaching him both academic and life lessons, including a formative trip to Barry’s native Mississippi when he was 13. He said Barry wasn’t a conventional father, but he always felt the love Barry had for his constituents. “I didn’t always feel like he had the time to spend with me as a father,” Christopher Barry said. “It was other people that embraced me. I never felt his absence because I always felt his love through others.”

Charles Wilson, 54, was one of many mourners who wore a T-shirt printed with photos of Barry. A native Washingtonian and a social worker in the city, Wilson said he got his first job at age 13, working for the city’s parks and recreation department, through Barry’s summer youth program. “He was our father. He gave us jobs. He’s done a lot for the city. Whatever I have belongs to him – my house, my car, my job with D.C. government,” Wilson said.

“He’s like a messiah for the district. He paved the way for many, many, many of us, African Americans as well as people in general,” said Diane Lyons, 54, a healthcare worker.

Bernard Barker, 53, a laborer who had arrived at 6:30 a.m. to be first in line, prayed at Barry’s coffin.

“I just said, ‘God bless you, Mr. Marion Barry, God bless your family.’ I know he’s going to heaven because he did a lot of good for the city,” Barker said.

Washington planned three days of commemoration, with a motorcade carrying Barry’s coffin on Friday, December 5, to the Temple of Praise church, where he had worshipped.

A memorial service at Washington’s Convention Center drew thousands. The Reverend Jesse Jackson delivered the eulogy.

Barry became mayor in 1979 and focused resources on poor neighborhoods, government contracts for Black businesses and jobs on the city payroll.

Brief Bio

Marion Barry Jr. was born on March 6, 1936 in Itta Bena, Mississippi. His father worked as a sharecropper and passed away when he was only four. His mom moved the family to Memphis, TN. remarried and raised nine children. As a young boy, Barry took on multiple jobs to assist his family, including picking cotton.

Civil Rights Activist

This young man applied his work ethic to his education too. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Le Moyne College and in 1960 received his master’s degree in chemistry from Fisk University. London Steverson had plans to attend Fisk University if he had not received a principal appointment to the U. S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT..  His passion for the Civil Rights Movement kept him from completing his doctorate. Instead, Barry’s efforts went into the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); he served as its first national chairman. In 1965, he moved to Washington, D.C. to launch a local chapter.

Undergraduate studies at LeMoyne College

Barry attended LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne–Owen College), graduating in 1958. Judge London Steverson attended LeMoyne College in the Summer of 1962 while still a student at Woodstock High School. In his junior year of college, all of the racial injustices he had seen started to come together. There was a fair ground in Memphis that he and his friends decided to go to; it was a segregated fair. They went to the fair at the time that the white people were supposed to go, because they wanted to see the science exhibit. When they were close to the exhibit, a policeman stopped them and asked them to leave. Barry and his friends left without protesting the policeman. At that time, Barry did not know much about his race, or why they were treated poorly, but it did not sit well with him. After this experience, Barry became a more active member of the NAACP chapter at LeMoyne; he became the president. While at LeMoyne, his ardent support of the civil rights movement earned him the nickname “Shep”, in reference to Soviet politician Dmitri Shepilov. Barry began using Shepilov as his middle name. In 1958 at LeMoyne, he criticized a college trustee for remarks he felt were demeaning to African Americans, which nearly caused his expulsion. While he was a senior and the president of the NAACP, Barry heard of Walter Chandler—the only white member on LaMoyne’s board of trustees—making comments that black people should be treated as a “younger brother not as an adult.” Barry did not appreciate the comments made by Chandler, and wrote a letter to LeMoyne’s president asking if Walter Chandler could be removed from the board A friend of Barry’s was the editor of the school newspaper, The Magician, and told Barry to run the letter in the paper. From there, the letter made it to the front page of Memphis’ conservative morning paper.

Political Ambitions

In 1967, Barry co-founded Pride, Inc., a jobs program for unemployed black men. Next, Barry began his foray into politics by winning a seat on the D.C. School Board in 1972; two years later, he was elected to city council. But his success put Barry in the line of fire, literally. Hanafi Muslims took over the District Building in 1977 and Barry was shot during the incident. His survival seemed to boost his “unstoppable” image.

Mayor Barry

After just three years on the city council, the democrat ran for mayor and won in 1978. He was reelected two more times.

Despite being the political comeback kid, Barry continued to have brushes with the law involving such accusations as drugs, tax evasion, probation violation, traffic offenses and stalking. In 2010, he was censured and stripped of his committee chairmanship because of corruption allegations. Still, in 2012, he was elected for a third straight city council term. His story may become an HBO biopic with Eddie Murphy playing Barry and Spike Lee as the director.

Death

In June 2014, Barry had published his autobiography, Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr. In a New York Times interview after its release, he said, “I serve as an inspiration for those who are going through all kinds of things.”

Marion S. Barry Jr. died on November 23, 2014 at the age of 78 in Washington D.C. According to a statement, the former mayor had numerous health issues over the years including high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer and kidney ailments.

Categories: American History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Coast Guard Headquarters At Saint Elizabeths

 

 

New Coast Guard Headquarters, Almost Heaven

Coast Guard Headquarters is Striking, Surprising, and Sustainable

The new, state-of-the-art U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters on the site of historic St. Elizabeths Hospital is a dream come true. The U S Coast Guard has finally found itself a home worthy of its own lofty opinion of itself. It is not Heaven, but it is as close as one could possibly hope to get in this world.

Like Heaven, one has to pass through Hell to get there, daily. It is in Anacostia the worst, low rent, crime infested area of South East Washington, DC. A majority of the inhabitants of Anacostia appear to be over fed, under nourished, and unemployed. It is a crime infested area that most people would not be caught dead in after dark. Most D.C. metro area residents recoil in fear at the sound of infamous “Anacostia,” known mostly for its extreme poverty, high homicide statistics, and the ever lurking danger of getting lost in its maze of streets.

 

http://wikitravel.org/en/Washington,_D.C./Anacostia

The building was designed to house the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agencies. The U S Coast Guard was intended to be the lead agency. However, in the hearts and minds of most Coast Guard members, this is the Headquarters of the Department of the Coast Guard and DHS is a sub-agency, along with o ther agencies; such as, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Defense, Interior, and Health and Human Services have contributed components.

The U S Coast Guard is the World’s preeminent International Law Enforcement Agency.

By law, the Coast Guard has 11 missions:

Today’s U.S. Coast Guard, with nearly 42,000 men and women on active duty, is a unique force that carries out an array of civil and military responsibilities touching almost every facet of the U.S. maritime environment.

http://www.uscg.mil/top/missions/

In 50 years the Coast Guard has reached its pinnacle among other Washington DC Federal Agencies. In the 1960s, it was located in the Volpe Building, at 7th and D street SW, as the lead Agency in the Department of Transportation.

I know from experience how much the Coast Gard has wanted its own building in Washington, DC. Having worked in the Volpe Building as a Coast Guard officer in the Legal Office and the Office of Personnel from 1972 to 1979, I am aware of the numerous times senior Coast Guard officers have lamented the fact that the Coast Guard did not have its own building.

http://www.constitutioncenterdc.com/

The Coast Guard finally was able to move up among the hierarchy of Federal Agencies when it moved to the Buzzard Point location. The accommodations were not up to those of the Volpe Building, but it was not co-located with lesser Federal agencies. Because of the undesirable location, many saw this move as a sort of fall from grace. However, location was not as important as exclusivity.

http://dc.citybizlist.com/article/navy-set-officially-occupy-former-coast-guard-hq-buzzard-point

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2013/08/as-coast-guard-settles-into-new-home.html

Now, the Coast Guard has it all, location and exclusivity. And, on top of it all, the DHS appears to not be coming to share the new building due to a shortage of appropriated funds.

http://perkinswill.com/work/us-coast-guard-headquarters.html

In one sense, the vassals have taken control of the castle, erected a moat, and the drawbridge is up. Next to the Pentagon, this new Headquarters is a paradise and it is the most expensive building in Washington,DC. It has a newly constructed physical plant with all of the latest high tech gadgetry. The exterior is ecological eye-candy; it is architecturally beautiful with large spacious recreational green areas for loitering and refreshing the spirit. There are deer and other natural wild life running through the trees and plants. This new building repairs and reflects the surrounding landscape.

http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB101617

 

The interior sports acoustically low noise in the common areas, and large individual cubicles for the support staff so that each can have their own space. The offices are large and comfortable. Getting an office with a window is no problem because the construction material of smoked glass and steel affords maximum visibility for even the clerical personnel. The style is reminiscent of the steel and glass construction found in Hamburg, Germany and some of the banks built in Hong Kong by I M Pei.

http://www.pcf-p.com/a/f/fme/imp/b/b.html

The conference rooms and auditorium are well equipped with high tech and high definition accessories. They rival the large screen instant replay monitors in the most modern sports arenas. There is no bad seat in the auditorium. Even the farthest removed spectator to any presentation or ceremony has instant and constant visual and acoustical access to the proceedings. The Coast Guard which is renowned for pinching pennies and trying to save the Government money, spared no expenses in designing and building this new state-of-the-art facility. But, that is usually what happens when one is spending someone else’s money.

 

The co-educational workout rooms are top of the line. They include steam rooms and showers with large screen high definition televisions in front of the exercise machines. The facility is of the same caliber as one would expect to find in any Hilton or Ritz Carlton five-star luxury hotel.

 

http://perkinswill.com/work/us-coast-guard-headquarters.html

Much of the credit for the relocation and the modern construction belongs to VADM Manson K. Brown. His last act of grace to the Coast Guard before retiring in May of 2014. It was only fitting and proper that he bequeath to the Coast Guard this new and perhaps final resting place, as a token of his appreciation for allowing him to write his name and story across a large page of American and Coast Guard history. VADM Brown did well and his performance of duty was above and beyond the call of duty, but he was deprived of writing one final large piece of History; he was denied the honor of going down in History as the first Black Commandant of the U S Coast Guard. Nevertheless, the milestones that he left along the road of History will not be surpassed in the near or distant future. He had a good ride and it was a mutually respectful and loving parting from active duty to a much deserved retirement for VADM Brown.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/vice-admiral-retires-from-us-coast-guard-as-the-top-ranking-black-officer/2014/05/14/95fd2ba4-db95-11e3-bda1-9b46b2066796_story.html

 

The physical address of Coast Guard Headquarters is 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. S.E. This address cannot be used for mailing or visiting the campus (if using GPS, this address takes you to Gate 1, which can only be used by Coast Guard personnel accessing the campus via bike, over-sized vehicle or walking).

The new Coast Guard Headquarters GPS address is 2699 Firth Street SE, Washington, DC, 20593.

Download a map of the St. Elizabeths campus.

 

 

http://www.uscg.mil/baseNCR/pages/maps.asp

 

 

http://www.uscg.mil/baseNCR/documents/visit_instructions.pdf

 

 

 

 

http://www.uscg.mil/strategy/docs/HeadquartersLogisticsInformation_20140401.pdf

Categories: American History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burn, Baby, Burn! Self-Sacrifice On Washington, DC Mall.

English: Picture of the National Mall in Washi...

English: Picture of the National Mall in Washington, DC, looking west from a point just west of the Capitol Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Man who set himself on fire at National Mall dies of horrific burns as police struggle to identify him or find his motive

A man who set himself on fire in Washington DC‘s National Mall on Friday afternoon October4, 2013 died of his injuries. This brings back horrific memories of the Vietnamese monks who set themselves on fire at the start of the Vietnam War.

Photographs of his self-immolation were circulated widely across the world and brought attention to the policies of the government. As President Kennedy said in reference to a photograph , “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.”

The unidentified man’s burns were so severe that he has still not been identified, and authorities will have to use DNA and dental records to trace him.

He had poured a can of gasoline on himself in the center of the mall and then set himself on fire at about 4.20pm, as passing joggers tried to douse the flames.

 

  • Witnesses saw him douse himself with gasoline and light himself on fire
  • Comes one day after police shot and killed a woman after she rammed her car into a barricade near the White House

Clean up: Officials responded to the scene in minutes but apparently it was bystanders who were the first to help by taking off their shirts and trying to put the flames out themselves

Clean up: Officials responded to the scene in minutes but apparently it was bystanders who were the first to help by taking off their shirts and trying to put the flames out themselves

 

Important place: The incident occurred in full view of the U.S. Capitol

Important place: The incident occurred in full view of the U.S. Capitol

Important place: The incident occurred in full view of the U.S. Capitol

 

Shutdown: The Capitol is on high alert in spite of the federal shutdown after a woman slammed her car into one of the barricades following a high-speed chase

Shutdown: The Capitol is on high alert in spite of the federal shutdown after a woman slammed her car into one of the barricades following a high-speed chase

 

Police said he had been conscious and breathing when he was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Possible motives for the self-immolation are being investigated, but Lieutenant Pamela Smith said she was unaware that he carried any signs or had articulated a cause.

Witness Katy Scheflen said she saw a tripod up near the man but that she did not hear him say anything intelligible before he set himself on fire.

It was also unclear if the man was filming the incident.

Some reports say that two male bystanders initially tried to put the fire out using their own shirts while others put the number of Good Samaritans at closer to five or six people.

‘I didn’t hear a word from him,’ witness Adam Stifel told CNN. ‘He had already doused himself with gasoline, I saw his gas can.’

Trouble in Washington: A man reportedly set himself on fire on the National Mall Friday afternoon

Trouble in Washington: A man reportedly set himself on fire on the National Mall Friday afternoon

 

Dangerous: The man in question was not identified and his motivation remains a mystery, though the very public nature of the incident hints that it could have been in protest to the government shutdown

Dangerous: The man in question was not identified and his motivation remains a mystery, though the very public nature of the incident hints that it could have been in protest to the government shutdown.

The incident took place near the Air and Space Museum and although his motive is not known the chosen location hints that it was a demonstration.

The Mall is a national park, making it one of the hundreds of such sites across the country that have been closed as a result of the government shutdown.

U.S. Park Police sources told MailOnline that the shutdown didn’t play into the rescue.

Response: Emergency crews were on the scene in minutes

Response: Emergency crews were on the scene in minutes

Commotion: The fire incident came just one day after a woman was shot and killed by police after ramming her car into a White House barricade

Commotion: The fire incident came just one day after a woman was shot and killed by police after ramming her car into a White House barricade.

‘There is no indication that the government shutdown impacted the way anyone responded to this. DC Fire/EMS had people on the scene in minutes. A source said

 

 

‘We are the lead agency in this investigation, but it will be awhile before we give out details to anyone.’

The incident comes one day after a Black woman with a baby in her Lexus automobile was killed by police after she rammed her car into a barricade leading to the White House. She had just been laid-off from her job in Connecticut as a dental technician.

Surrounded: Police officers surround the car with their weapons drawn after the female driver rammed a barricade close to the White House on Thursday

Surrounded: Police officers surround the car with their weapons drawn after the female driver rammed a barricade close to the White House on Thursday.

 

Categories: American History | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Force Factor In Sexual Assault Cases.

Force Was the Deciding Factor In The Rape Case.

The use of force appears to have been the deciding factor for the Convening Authority in the Air Force Academy sexual assault Article 32 Investigation. Anyone who used force in the sexual assault was referred for trial by court-martial; whereas, anyone who was patient and waited for the alcohol to take its toll was allowed to go scott free.
That is so ironic, because the only one who achieved vaginal penetration with his organ was allowed to go free. He dodged a bullet. However, on the other hand, the cadet who used his fists in the act of sexual assault never got further than heavy petting and massaging of the genitalia.

The Cadet Kyle Cressy incidents date to May 2011. The charges state that he penetrated a female cadet’s vagina with his hand or finger, as well as his penis, while she was “substantially incapacitated.” Cressy’s charges have been dropped by the Air Force Convening Authority on the recommendation of the Article 32 Investigating Officer. Cressy’s accuser said she passed out on his bed, then awoke to find a man touching and then having sex with her. She testified that she kissed him before blacking out and never said “no” — and while she recalled trying to push his hands away, the mitigating evidence, combined with a two-day delay before she reported having been assaulted, appear to have been factors in the Convening Authority’s, Brigadier General Richard Clark’s, decision to drop the charges against him.

Air Force officials say testimony about alcohol consumption was among the reasons they decided not to prosecute Cressy on sexual assault charges. In a statement released 5 March the Academy spokesperson said Article 32 Investigating Officer assigned to Cressy’s case found no reasonable grounds to prosecute. He cited testimony that the alleged victim wrote and sent a text message that she couldn’t recall, and expert testimony that it’s possible for someone to consent to sex and suffer an alcohol blackout preventing recall of the event.

Cadet Stephan Claxton, AFA Class 2013, was charged with illicit acts in March and November of last year. In the first, he’s said to have placed a cadet’s hand on his penis while engaging in underage drinking. In the second, he is accused of striking a fellow cadet on the face with his fist and unbuttoning and unzipping her pants without her consent, as well as forcibly kissing and choking her. Claxton was recommended for court martial buy the Article 32 Investigating Officer.

The court-martial was recommended by Maj. Gen. Richard Clark, Commandant of Cadets and the academy’s special court-martial convening authority. The decision is pending with Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, Superintendent and the Academy’s General Court-martial Convening Authority. Vice Superintendent Col. Tamara Rank said, “We expect the best from our cadets and do not tolerate unacceptable behaviors.”
The Cressy and Claxton hearings concluded with very different results.

The Article 32 hearing for Cadet First Class Robert M. Evenson, Class of 2011, is still under way. Evenson had three charges preferred against him in January for allegations of engaging in an unprofessional relationship, rape, aggravated sexual assault contact and indecent acts and conduct unbecoming to an officer.

Three additional charges were preferred against him last month and are under investigation. They include wrongful sexual contact and indecent acts, stalking and assault.
It appears that force and the use of force will be the new battle ground in the battle between women and the military when it comes to disposing of rape and sexual assault allegations.
In a major law suit filed by 8 present and former US Marine Corps female officers, the use of physical force is being challenged as an unnecessary element in the proof of the offense. The women argue that proof of force should not be necessary in the modern world. They argue that modern rapists are more methodical and patient; they wait for the drugs or alcohol to lower the females capacity to give or withhold consent. Once the ability to give informed consent is so impaired then the women can be raped and the rapist is left with plausible deniability if the case is prosecuted.
The women and their attorney seek to change the UCMJ and the military male-dominated culture on the issue of force in the conduct of rape and sexual assault. They want to rewrite Article 120 of the UCMJ to remove proof of the use of force as an element of the crime.
In the Webster Smith Case force was not an issue. All of the sexual encounters were found to be consensual. The Coast Guard prosecutor was reduced to trying to prove that psychological coercion was used to persuade a female to take nude pictures and perform a sexual act. Amazingly this woman’s reputation in the community since high school was that of a person with easy virtue who delivered the good faster than Federal Express. The very nature of her secret that was at the heart of the alleged coercion was about a sexual tryst with an enlisted man from another branch of the service. And to top it all off, the woman was testifying under a grant of immunity. Truly amazing, it is hard to make this stuff up.
A press conference was held at the National Press Conference Tuesday March 6, 2012 to announce a new lawsuit being filed in the US District Court in Washington, DC on behalf of eight current and former members of the Navy and Marine Corps. The lawsuit, filed by Susan L. Burke of Burke PLLC, charges that the “laws designed to reduce rape, sexual assault and harassment in the Navy and Marine Corps directly and seriously harmed Plaintiffs and others who have reported rape and sexual assault and have challenged sexual harassment. Rather than being respected and appreciated for reporting crimes and unprofessional conduct, Plaintiffs and others who report are branded ‘troublemakers,’ endure egregious and blatant retaliation, and are often forced out of military service.”

The lead plaintiffs, Adriana Klay and Elle Helmer, stationed at the central command headquarters of the Marines in Washington, DC, are both former Marine officers. Klay was a merit scholar and is an honors graduate of the US Naval Academy. She was sexually harassed and gang raped by a senior Marine Corps officer and his civilian friend in order to “humiliate her.” Elle Helmer, the Public Affairs Officer and Official Spokesperson for the Marines, was ordered to participate in a “pub crawl” by her immediate superior officer and then raped by him.

Speakers at the press conference included Susan Burke, Eleanor Smeal, Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Linda Hallman, Executive Director of American Association of University Women (AAUW), Nancy Parrish, President of Protect our Defenders, and Colonel Ann Wright, who is retired from the military.
“Although defendants testified before Congress and elsewhere that they have ‘zero tolerance’ for rape and sexual assault, their conduct and the facts demonstrate the opposite: They have a high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks, and ‘zero tolerance’ for those who report rape, sexual assault and harassment,” according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington.

The suit outlines a pattern of abuse and portrays, in grim detail, the alleged experiences of the eight female service members — two former Marine Corps officers, one active duty enlisted Marine, one former enlisted member of the Marine Corps and four former enlisted members of the Navy.

“At first it was easy to laugh it off,” plaintiff Elle Helmer, one of the former officers, said about her superiors’ advances.
“When you finally said, you know, I’m really not interested, I’d rather we be friends — that’s when you became the target. They hated you for standing up for yourself,” she told HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell on Tuesday night.

The lawsuit alleges Helmer was raped by her superior at his office in March 2006 after a required pub crawl.

She told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington earlier in the day that she hoped by going public other victims would be encouraged to speak out.

“We all just wanted to serve our country and be good Marines and service members,” former Marine Lt. Elle Helmer said. “Ultimately we were failed.”

Helmer is one of eight current and former female service members who filed a lawsuit alleging rape, sexual assault and harassment while serving in the military.

Click here to read the entire lawsuit

“It’s very hard to come forward and admit what they would call weakness, but what I would call strength in the sense that people are coming forward and asking for help,” Helmer said.

She claims her assault occurred while stationed at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, DC, as a public affairs officer.

She says after being ordered to attend a Marine Corps-endorsed pub crawl and drink excessively, her boss, a major, ordered her back to his office and raped her.

“Ultimately I fell and hit my head on the corner of his desk and was knocked out,” she said. “During the time I was knocked out was when the rape occurred.”

Helmer says she was ultimately forced out of the Marine Corps, which she says is far too common with other victims.

“The Department of Defense is ultimately losing good personnel, and victims are becoming collateral damage,” Helmer said.

The lawsuit claims many of the men questioned were barely punished, if at all. It’s an issue Helmer says goes beyond the service women who report the assaults.

“My rapist was served collateral duties at the White House,” she said. “With that said, these people guard the president.”

Helmer says she hopes the lawsuit is a catalyst for change and the military realizes how big this problem really is.

“Take care of your people, and if you’re losing your people, it’s ultimately weakening a nation. It’s a homeland security issue,” she said.

“It’s the first time I’ve had a voice in six years, so pardon if it’s a little wobbly,” said Helmer.

She was joined by Ariana Klay, another former Marine Corps officer and plaintiff, who served in Iraq in 2008 and 2009.

In August 2010, Klay was “gang-raped” by a senior officer and his civilian friend at her Washington home, the suit contends. The officer allegedly threatened to kill Klay.

She reported the rapes and the officer was eventually convicted in a military court of adultery and indecent language, and given 45 days in military confinement, Klay said.

“Their stance was there were two that said it (sex) was consensual, despite the death threat. That’s two against one. So by that logic, the more people you’re gang-raped by the less your case is,” she told Velez-Mitchell.

The Marine Corps responded to Klay and Helmer’s allegations in a written statement Tuesday that said their respective cases had been properly investigated and handled.

“Federal law and judicial rulings require commanders in all services, including the Marine Corps, to balance needs of alleged victims with the constitutional rights of service members accused of crimes,” it read.
Smeal asserted, “The women’s movement is determined to end this wonton violence against women in the armed services. The definition of rape in the military must change to comply with the new FBI definition, which has recognized that force need not be present, but rather in modern rape alcohol and drugs are used to subdue the victim. The cover-up for a few predator abusers in the military is injuring women, men, and the armed services themselves.”

The Pentagon’s “Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military” indicated that approximately 3,000 women experienced sexual assault in fiscal year 2008, which is a 9 percent increase from the previous year. Experts say that the real rate of sexual assault in the military is five times report incidence. Because of the high level of retaliation, victims are afraid to report. For women in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rate of sexual assaults by US military personnel increased by 25 percent.

According to a 2003 study by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, at least one-third of all women veterans have experienced rape or sexual assault during their service primarily from US service personnel, and thirty percent of military women experience domestic violence. Moreover, rape occurs in the military nearly twice as often as in the civilian world.
According to the most recent Defense Department study, more than 19,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact are estimated to have occurred in 2010, though less than 3,000 of those events were reported.

In 2010, less than 21% of reported cases went to trial. Of the 529 alleged perpetrators who were prosecuted, 53% were convicted, according to the 2011 Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, which is part of the Defense Department.

“As leaders of this department we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety, dignity and well being of our people. One sexual assault is one too many,” Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in response to the lawsuit.

As a result of the pending litigation, she was unable to comment directly on the allegations.

“Because sexual assault cases are some of the toughest cases to investigate and prosecute, the department has increased funding for investigators and judge advocates to receive specialized training,” said Smith.

The lawsuit was filed less than two months after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined new measures targeting sexual assaults against U.S military personnel.

In January, he promised increased funding to train military investigators and judge advocates about sexual assault cases, stressing the military has a “zero tolerance policy” for such crimes.

“Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day to try to keep America safe,” Panetta said then. “We have a moral duty to keep them safe from those who would attack their dignity and their honor.”
http://www.amazon.com/Judge-London-Steverson/e/B006WQKFJM

Categories: Military Justice | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Impersonating Military Officers. What Did You Do In The War Daddy?

The court-martial of former cadet Webster Smith, the first cadet ever tried by court-martial at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy was a tragedy, but it was no accident. It was was more than just a tempest in a teapot. Congressman Christopher Shays, a Republican, held Congressional hearings on how officials were responding to reports of sexual assaults in the service academies. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, inserted a request into a Department of Homeland Security spending bill for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to monitor the Coast Guard Academy’s progress in responding to sexual harassment claims.

The trial of Webster Smith appears to have been the main attraction in a three ring circus. The Coast Guard Academy and Connecticut Congressional Representative Christopher Shays were planning to stag a show-trial for the nation to show how military academies should handle incidents of sexual assaults at the academies. Representative Shays was chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. He had organized the Washington, DC portion of the circus. He scheduled a panel entitled “Sexual Assualt and Violence Against Women in the Military and at the Academies”. On the day that the star witness for the rape charge, Kristen Nicholson, was testifying at the Coast Guard Academy, a Coast Guard Admiral from the Academy was in Washington,DC at the invitation of Representative Shays to appear before his Committee.

Rear Admiral Paul J. Higgins, Director of Health and Safety, at the Coast Guard Academy was on the witness list along with the Commandants from the other military academies. The publicity from these hearings would have been enough to get Shays reelected. However, the trial did not turn out as expected. The Convening Authority for the Court-martial, the Superintendent at the Coast Guard Academy was Admiral James Van Sice. He was tried at an Admiral’s Mast for inappropriate behavior and forced to retire.Then the furor surrounding this issue of sexual assault at military academies seemed to die down. This issues disappeared from the Washington,D.C. political radar scope. And Christopher Shays, a 10-term incumbent lost his re-election bid in November 2008.

When the full history of the Webster Smith case is written, it may turn out that Congressman Shays was the real author of the first court-martial at the Coast Guard Academy.

The hearings appeared to have been grandstanding on the part of Christopher Shays. For most of his life he appeared to have distanced himself from the military. He certainly wanted no part of duty in the armed forces. When push came to shove he claimed conscientious objector status. He has never worn the uniform of any military service. Shockingly, he is not alone.

A few of the men who once shouted “hell no; We won’t go”, are now claiming that they did. Not only are they claiming that they did go, but also that they distinguished themselves with valor, above and beyond the call of duty. Some were draft protesters, others were draft evaders, and others draft dodgers. They should not all be lumped together.

Draft protesters were often the men who burned their Draft cards in public ceremonies. Draft Dodgers took steps to violate Selective Service laws. Draft evaders were not like draft dodgers.

Some avoided conscription by taking advantage of loopholes in the Selective Service laws, a perfectly legal if not sometimes arbitrary option. In 1966 actor George Hamilton was exempted from the Draft after petitioning his own Draft Board for a deferment base on hardships at home, advising them that his mother needed him to care for her. Of course it didn’t hurt his cause that at the time he was also dating the daughter of President Lyndon Johnson. And perhaps it was just such inequities in the Selective Service program that most angered the young. They were upset not so much being called to serve as they did to the fact that often the rich, the powerful, and the brightest college students escaped being called up.

Some young men sought exemption from the Draft due to special situations: sole surviving son, deferment to complete an education, and even for personal reasons such as religious prohibitions against military service. The latter are called Conscientious Objectors (C.O.) and many of them did serve in non-combat roles, at least two C.O.s earning Medals of Honor, while others belonged to faiths that prohibited even these non-combat roles.

In 2010 according to the New Haven Register, a poll was taken after news broke that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal falsely claimed on several occasions to have served in Vietnam during the war shows his Republican challengers for a U.S. Senate seat closing the gap.

Only about a quarter of voters, however, said he should withdraw from the race to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd.

The Rasmussen telephone poll, showed Blumenthal, the leading Democratic contender, losing most of his lead over Republicans Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons.

A longer version of the video shot in Norwalk on March 2, 2008, was posted on Republican candidate Linda McMahon’s website. It showed Blumenthal correctly describing his military service before saying that he served “in Vietnam.”

“I really want to add my words of thanks,” Blumenthal tells the audience on the video, “as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps.”

Blumenthal served stateside as a Marine reservist after receiving five deferments, reaching the rank of sergeant. On Tuesday, Blumenthal said he “misspoke” at times and regretted the errors.

Democrats in Connecticut and Washington stood by Blumenthal.

“On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that. And I take full responsibility,” said Blumenthal. “But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country.”

The crisis erupted when The New York Times reported that Blumenthal had repeatedly distorted his military service. The story included quotations and a video of Blumenthal saying at a 2008 event that he had “served in Vietnam.” The newspaper also said Blumenthal intimated more than once that he was a victim of the abuse heaped on Vietnam veterans upon their return home.

At a veterans event in Shelton, Conn., for example, he said, “When we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the verbal and even physical abuse we encountered,” according to a 2008 Connecticut Post story.

Blumenthal, 64, joined the Marine Reserve in 1970 and served six years, none of it overseas. He put in much of his time in Washington, where he took part in such projects as fixing a campground and working on a Toys for Tots drive, according to the Times.

He received at least five military deferments that enabled him to stay out of the war between 1965 and 1970, during which time he went to Harvard, studied in England and landed a job in the Nixon White House. Once he secured a spot in the Marine Reserve, he had almost no chance of being sent to Vietnam, the newspaper reported.

Former Representative Christopher Shays and Beth Davis, former Air Force Academy Cadet.

He is a close friend of Congressman Christopher Shays, whose early political career was marked by acts of defiance. He registered for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War and acknowledges he would not have served if drafted. He said that he is a good friend of Richard Blumenthal’s and that he had watched with worry as Mr. Blumenthal gradually embellished his military record over the years. Over the last few years, however, more sweeping claims crept into Mr. Blumenthal’s descriptions, he said: for example, that Mr. Blumenthal had served in Vietnam, and had felt the sting of an ungrateful nation as he returned.

“He just kept adding to the story, the more he told it,” Mr. Shays said.

Michael Ray Jacobs, 52, is accused in federal court of wearing a naval officer’s uniform on at least four occasions in March 2010. He has been charged with impersonating a Navy officer, complete with medals he never earned. Court records in the case say that he was seen in the uniform at the Oceana Naval Air Station stables, the Oceana exchange, a Navy dental clinic in Norfolk and a recruiting office. He is also charged with stealing a uniform from the Oceana exchange.

Navy officials said Jacobs never served in the Navy.

The U.S. attorney’s office is prosecuting the case.

Impersonating a member of the armed forces has been a hot-button topic among veterans groups and in Congress, where a law was passed in 2006 making it a crime to falsely claim to have been awarded medals and decorations for military service.

Jeremy Michael Boorda (November 26, 1939 – May 16, 1996) was an admiral of the United States Navy and the 25th Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Boorda is the only CNO to have risen to the position from the enlisted ranks. He was the first CNO who was not a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

Boorda died May 16, 1996 a suicide, having apparently shot himself in the chest in his office while reporters from Newsweek magazine were waiting to interview him concerning his medals and awards. He reportedly left two suicide notes. He was reported to have been disturbed over a news media investigation, led by David Hackworth of Newsweek, into Valor device enhancements he wore on his Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal (small bronze “V” devices, signifying valor in combat), which the media report claimed he was not entitled to wear. He was said to be worried this issue would cause more trouble for the Navy’s reputation.

A new Superior Court Judge in Norwark, CA. claimed to be a Viet Nam vet. He was not. A history professor at West Point claimed to be a Viet Nam combat vet. He was not. A Connecticut State Congressman claimed to be a Viet Nam vet. He was not. Why are all these draft dodgers and conscientious objectors claiming to be military veterans??

A panel of special masters from the California Commission on Judicial Performance(CJP) found May 15, 2001 that Judge Patrick Couwenberg misrepresented his educational and military backgrounds to various sources, including the governor who appointed him.

CJP lawyer Jack Coyle argued that Couwenberg should be removed from the bench because his lies about his military service and his educational and professional experience were a factor in his appointment to the bench.

Couwenberg’s lawyers said the judge deserved an opportunity to remain in office. They argued that his statements were not malicious, but were the product of a psychological impairment, and pointed to praise the jurist has received for his work from both prosecutors and defense attorneys who have appeared before him.

Couwenberg is continuing to hear criminal cases in Norwalk, California.

The judge has admitted that he falsely claimed to hold a master’s degree in psychology and made false claims of military experience, including an award of a Purple Heart, in Vietnam.

The special masters found that he also lied to the commission itself, in sworn testimony, by claiming to have participated in covert operations with the CIA in Southeast Asia in 1967 and 1968. Couwenberg testified that those claims are true, although he no longer maintains he was with the CIA and says he doesn’t know what agency he was looking for.

A CIA official testified that Couwenberg wasn’t working for that agency and that it’s highly unlikely that any other agency would have recruited Couwenberg for operations in Laos because no such missions were authorized.

Couwenberg claimed that some of his misstatements were intended to be humorous. Other statements, he claimed, were typed onto official forms by his wife, based on statements he had made to her 20 years earlier, a claim the masters found lacking in credibility.

A psychiatrist testified that the judge suffers from “pseudologica fantastica,” a symptom of low self-esteem rooted in the judge’s early childhood in what is now Indonesia followed by difficult relocations, first to Holland and then to the United States.

The doctor said that the condition causes Couwenberg to mix fact and fantasy, but that it is treatable with therapy and doesn’t render him unfit for judicial service.

The masters, however, largely agreed with a psychiatrist called by commission lawyers at the masters’ hearing. Psychological testing data, Dr. James Rosenberg said, doesn’t show that the judge’s “repetitive lying” as an adult is due to childhood trauma, nor that he suffers from any recognized mental illness.

The CJP’s removal order, issued Aug. 15 and effective Sept. 14, 2001 followed revelations that Couwenberg had, among several other things, lied about being a Vietnam veteran, receiving a Purple Heart, serving in covert operations for the CIA and earning a master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles.

Couwenberg’s lawyers and doctors said the 1976 graduate of the University of La Verne College of Law in Ontario suffers from a pathological lying condition called pseudologia fantastica, which they tied to his childhood in an Indonesian concentration camp at the end of World War II.

Joseph John Ellis (born 18 July 1943 in Washington, D.C.) was a Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College and also at the U.S.Military Academy at West Point until 1972.

Ellis became the subject of embarrassing controversy when the Boston Globe published an article on June 18, 2001, revealing that Ellis lied about fighting in the Vietnam War (he served in uniform in America but did not go to Vietnam as he had claimed to his students and to the media).He claimed to have been a platoon leader and paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division. He said he served in Saigon under Gen. William Westmoreland. Ellis did not serve in Vietnam at all, according to military records obtained by the Globe Newspaper and interviews with his friends from the 1960s. He spent his three years in the Army teaching history at the US Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Ellis also appears to have exaggerated the extent of the involvement he claims to have had in both the antiwar and civil rights movements.

Ellis also falsely claimed to have scored a winning touchdown in a decisive game while playing for his high school football team. In fact, Ellis never played for his high school team.

On June 21, 2001 Professor Ellis issued a statement saying: “Even in the best lives, mistakes are made. I deeply regret having let stand and later confirming the assumption that I went to Vietnam. For this and any other distortions about my personal life, I want to apologize to my family, friends, colleagues and students.”

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