Saturday, July 16, 2016
Marine Pvt. Robert J. Carter, 19, of Oklahoma City, will be buried July 13 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In November 1943, Carter was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Carter died around Nov. 20, 1943.
The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.
In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Carter’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 10, 1949, a military review board declared Carter’s remains non-recoverable.
In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.
To identify Carter’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including dental analysis and chest radiographic comparison, which matched Carter’s records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for this recovery mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.
One of those was Pte Fred Joslin, who was 19 when he was "killed" in machine gun fire. His mother heard from the War Office and there had already been a church service in his memory when he wrote home from a hospital in Malta.
How did these mix-ups happen?
Sometimes comrades genuinely thought a fellow soldier was dead when in fact he was injured. This is what happened to Pte Joslin - who eventually lived to the age of 95.
"It appeared to those seeing me that the blood was coming from my ears and experience had proved that wounded soldiers bleeding from the ears had little chance of survival."
He was paralysed - and the next day a lost British major heard him shouting and rescued him.
His mother was "shell-shocked" by receiving a letter apparently from her dead son - and since the handwriting was that of a nurse Fred had dictated his words to, rather than in his own script, even the War Office wouldn't accept Pte Joslin was alive.
Good luck charmsPte Joslin's son Peter, a former chief constable of Warwickshire Police, said his father's death notification had hung over their mantelpiece for years.
"The biggest problem was that it took so long before the government would accept the fact that he was alive.
"His mother was wondering what on earth had happened, because he was in hospital in another country and had to ask a nurse to write for him."
As soon as the injured solider had recovered he was sent back to the front line, so did not immediately return home to be reunited with his family and friends who had thought he was dead, Mr Joslin, from Kenilworth, said.
There were also cases of mistaken identity, says historian David Bilton, who wrote about the subject in Reading in the Great War 1914-1916 and Vol II, 1917-1919.
"Soldiers used to exchange items with their best friends when they were going over the top as good luck charms. They would wear one another's identity bracelet, or give each other their last letter home.
"Survivors who recovered bodies from the battleground would look for property on the body to identify them.
Alfred HollandIn 1914, Pte Alfred Holland's wife received a telegram from the War Office and a letter of sympathy from Lord Kitchener.
Her husband, from Reading, Berkshire, had taken out a life insurance policy which immediately paid his "widow" £25.
A later telegram confirmed that he was recovering from wounds at a prisoner of war camp in Germany. The insurance company did not ask for a refund.
"Some prisoners of war were kept in France and Belgium illegally as slaves close to the front line.
"The Germans couldn't admit it was happening so wouldn't fill in the paperwork," Mr Bilton says.
Sydney DeadmanThe parents of the ironically named Pte Sydney Deadman, of Woodley, Berkshire received a notice from the war office in 1918 saying he had been killed in action.
A memorial service was held in Woodley Church and shortly afterwards they received a request for cigarettes from him.
He had written from a prisoner of war camp in Germany where he was recovering from wounds in both legs.
"He was hit by a sniper just below the eye," Capt Maurice Turner of the 1/4th Suffolk Regiment had written to L/Cpl Hardy's father.
"I am sorry to say he was conscious... but I am quite convinced he did not realise the gravity of his wound".
But L/Cpl Hardy survived and appeared to regard his death notification with pride or amusement, military historian Taff Gillingham says.
"He had the letter framed and hung on his wall, presumably as a reminder that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated."
Laurence MarriottLaurence Marriott of the 41st Field Artillery had his name engraved on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium. He later turned up alive and well.
It turned out he was in an explosion at Hellfire Corner in the Ypres Salient - but his horse took the brunt of the blast. His identity tags were lost in the confusion and were found after he'd been moved. He was therefore presumed dead.
Once recovered, Marriott, from Sheffield, joined up for a second time. Wounded again, he was sent to recover in Bury, Greater Manchester where he met his wife Mary.
South China Sea: The French Are Coming France, also an Indo-Pacific nation, has its own stake in the South China Sea.
The U.S.-led international efforts to defend the freedom of navigation guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), aiming at preventing the entire South China Sea from becoming an exclusive Chinese lake, has just received a powerful boost in the form of the July 12 ruling of The Hague-based UN Permanent Court of Arbitration. Much to China’s anger, most of its sovereignty claims over the South China Sea are rejected in this ruling.
To the surprise of many, a seemingly unrelated European power, France, has announced its intention of coordinating the navies of fellow European Union nations to conduct Freedom of Navigation Operations or FONOPs in South China Sea. On June 5, at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian mentioned this initiative for joint EU patrols of “the maritime areas of Asia” and for a “regular and visible presence there.”
Although China was not named in Le Drian’s speech (China is not the only country with sovereignty claims in the South China Sea), the French initiative was generally interpreted as a bad news for Beijing, who was already irritated by what it sees as “outside interference” by the United States and its allies in China’s territorial feuds with countries bordering South China Sea.
From a strictly strategic viewpoint, France’s announced plan will not have a determining impact on the situation in the South China Sea. After all, despite being a major military power with global reach, France’s military presence in the region is limited. Besides, outside of France, what other EU nation has a permanent naval and air presence in the Pacific?
But however small the strategic impact may be, the French initiative promises to weigh in heavily on the diplomatic front, adding significantly to China’s already stark isolation in this case.
The scope of this diplomatic impact should be measured in the wake of the July 12 ruling of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration, in a context where China is attempting, without much success, to put together a “coalition of the willing” of countries presumably supportive of its position in the South China Sea.
The French initiative thus has the potential of further weakening China’s position by conspicuously bringing Europe in as an additional heavyweight to the international pressure for respecting the rule of law, represented by The Hague-based arbitration court’s ruling.
France in the Asia-Pacific
Contrary to general perception, France is no stranger in this volatile theater in the Far East. The announced French initiative may not be so surprising when one recalls that France is also an Asia-Pacific nation with vital interests in the region. It has territories in the Southern Pacific: French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis & Futuna islands. Combine this to territories in the Indian Ocean (La Reunion, Mayotte, Kerguelen, etc.), and France is also an Indo-Pacific nation.
These overseas territories add to those in the Caribbean’s to give France the world’s second largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (11 million square kilometers) after the United States, 62 percent of which is located in the Pacific and 24 percent in the Indian Ocean. 1,500,000 French citizens live in the French Indo-Pacific territories (500,000 in the Pacific) besides the 130,000 French nationals in various Asia-Pacific countries.
These territories, EEZ, and population necessitate adequate protection and policing. This explains the permanent presence of 8,000 French military personnel in the Indo-Pacific area (2,800 in the Pacific). In the Pacific area alone, France operates two surveillance frigates, four patrol vessels, two multi-mission ships, five maritime surveillance aircraft, four tactical transport aircraft, and seven helicopters.
Although the European Union as such does not particularly shine as a visible strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific region, France, through various treaties and agreements, maintains a network of “strategic partnerships” with Asian countries such as Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
France also has developing strategic relationships with Malaysia and New Zealand. And it takes part in almost every major regional strategic forum such as the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Pacific Coast Guard Forum, to mention only a few. France is the first of EU nations to have signed up to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the TAC.
Moreover, France is a major provider of defense equipment in Asia. It has recently inked a deal to provide 12 new submarines to Australia. It is in the process of selling Rafale jet fighters to India and it has assisted Malaysia in setting up its submarine force. France also maintains research cooperation on defense matters with Singapore. Few people know that fighter pilots of the Singapore Air Force train on a permanent basis in southern France.
On a historical note too, France is not new in the region. According to Professor Shawn McHale writing in May 2016 for the “Rising Power Initiative,” France, as colonial ruler of Vietnam at the time, in 1931 asserted its sovereignty over part of the South China Sea. French sovereignty was challenged by Japan throughout World War II and both stopped their claims only in the 1950s.
Why France and the EU?
Senate Democrats blocked a vote on the fiscal year 2017 defense appropriations bill on Thursday for the second time this month, drawing ire from Republican lawmakers. The bill would appropriate funds for the U.S. armed forces, including funding that goes toward paying American service members.
“I am disappointed that Senate Democrats are irresponsibly blocking the defense appropriations bill. Delaying consideration of this bill jeopardizes our national security and military readiness,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
“The defense of the United States and the American people is the federal government’s top priority. It’s only because of the continued sacrifices of our service members, the finest among us, that we are able to enjoy America’s many freedoms,” Johnson continued. “We owe it to our troops to ensure that they have the resources they need to protect themselves and defend our freedoms in the face of continued threats overseas.”
Later Thursday, Democrats also prevented a vote on the fiscal year Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Zika Appropriations Conference Report, legislation that contains funding to support the VA and the U.S. response to the Zika Virus.
Thursday was the last day before Congress’ nearly two-month-long recess.
Last week, Democrats used a procedural vote to block the $574 billion defense appropriations bill from coming to the floor over larger issues with the appropriations process.
Ahead of the vote, Democrats threatened to block all appropriations bills unless Republican leaders “publicly give your word that all appropriations bills considered in both chambers and sent to the president for his signature will comply with the principles of fair funding, parity [between defense and non-defense spending], and a rejection of poison pill riders,” according to a letter sent to GOP leadership.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Sent from my iPhone
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – A U.S. sailor must serve 2 ½ years of hard labor for raping an intoxicated Japanese woman at a Naha hotel, an incident that sparked anti-base protests and contributed to tightened liberty restrictions on Okinawa.
Seaman Apprentice Justin Castellanos, 24, was sentenced Friday by a three-judge Naha District Court panel. His family will also be required to pay $21,789 in restitution to the victim, in addition to $2,842 to be paid by the U.S. military.
Prosecutors had sought a four-year prison term, but the chief judge said a lower sentence was accepted for the corpsman, who is assigned to Camp Schwab, because he had pleaded guilty and shown remorse for his actions.
Judges also said the woman was partly to blame for becoming incapacitated and passing out in the hallway by the sailor’s room.
“I am sorry for what I have done,” Castellanos said June 27 during closing arguments. “My heart is filled with regret.”
He also said his required sex offender registration was a stain he would forever have to work to overcome.
Castellanos’ attorney said his client does not plan to appeal the decision.
Castellanos pleaded guilty May 27 to finding the female tourist from Fukuoka passed out in the hallway of the hotel where he was staying. He took her into his room and raped her. When she woke up and found a stranger next to her in bed, she cried out for help, which awoke her date in a nearby room.
Castellanos left the room with his belongings to seek help from a friend but returned to the hotel, where he was arrested. The victim’s DNA was detected on his body.
The incident sparked anti-base protests and contributed to tightened liberty restrictions for servicemembers on the tiny southern Japanese island. It set the stage for tensions to erupt when the alleged murder of a 20-year-old local woman by a civilian worker from Kaden Air Base came to light two months later.
Castellanos’ arrest prompted Okinawa’s highest-ranking servicemember, Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, III Marine Expeditionary Force commander, to apologize to anti-base Gov. Takeshi Onaga. The Okinawa prefectural assembly adopted a protest resolution on March 22, harshly criticizing the incident.
Crimes committed by American troops on Okinawa have typically been a sensitive issue with the island’s million or so residents. Locals have long complained that servicemembers have been shielded from justice by the status of forces agreement.
A high-profile 1995 incident where servicemembers abducted and raped a 12-year-old girl led to plans to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the island’s remote north. The rape of a local woman by two sailors in October 2012 further enflamed tensions.
Castellanos will serve his sentence at Yokosuka Prison in Yokosuka, Japan, where other convicted U.S. military personnel are incarcerated.
By Zachary D Spilman, Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Note: Later today I will be part of the a free webinar on the Bergdahl case presented by the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. You can register here.
The Army’s prosecution of Sergeant Robert Bowdrie (“Bowe”) Bergdahl (CAAFlog news page) for desertion with the intent to shirk important service and avoid hazardous duty in violation of Article 85(a)(2), and misbehavior before the enemy in violation of Article 99, was our #8 Military Justice Story of 2015.
As the case progresses many wonder why Bergdahl faces prosecution after nearly five years of brutal captivity in the hands of insurgents. The facts of his capture are relatively undisputed – in a moment of severe naivete (or narcissism) he walked away from his combat outpost and into the Afghan wilderness – and the subsequent half-decade of maltreatment he suffered is undoubtedly a harsh price to pay for his terrible decision. Yet Bergdahl faces a general court-martial and the possibility of confinement for life without the possibility of parole. Why, one wonders, would the Army subject him to such a court-martial?
It’s because the Army has no choice.
Bergdahl was in captivity for so long that his enlistment in the Army expired. The Army can keep him on active duty past the expiration of his enlistment voluntarily (with his consent) for the purpose of medical treatment (10 U.S.C. § 507). It can also keep him on active duty involuntarily for the purpose of a court-martial prosecution (10 U.S.C. § 802(a)(1); United States v. Douse, 12 M.J. 473 (C.M.A. 1982)). But if it doesn’t keep him on active duty, then it must discharge him and give him a characterization of service.
And for a soldier who is discharged at the expiration of his enlistment, only an Honorable Discharge is authorized.
Army Regulation 635–200 regulates the administrative separation of enlisted soldiers (including upon completion of obligated service) and states in two places that the only kind of discharge Bergdahl may receive upon completion of his service obligation is an Honorable Discharge:
Only the honorable characterization may be awarded a Soldier upon completion of his/her period of enlistment or period for which called or ordered to AD or ADT or where required under specific reasons for separation, unless an entry-level status separation (uncharacterized) is warranted. (See para 3–9a and chap 11.)
AR 635-200, Chapter 3-7(a)(1) (emphasis added).
A Soldier being separated upon expiration of enlistment or fulfillment of service obligation will be awarded a character of service of honorable, unless the Soldier is in entry-level status and service is uncharacterized.
AR 635-200, Chapter 4-5 (emphasis added). The same rule applies in the Air Force (AFI 36-3208, Chapter 2.2). However, a less-favorable General Discharge is authorized at the expiration of an enlistment in the in the Navy (MILPERSMAN 1910-104), Marine Corps (MCO 1900.16, paragraph 1004.2(b)(1)), and Coast Guard (COMDTINST M1000.4, Chapter 1.B.11.l).
Simply discharging Bergdahl with an Honorable Discharge is the functional equivalent of finding that he did not commit serious misconduct. However, because there are numerous controversies surrounding his capture and the search and rescue operations that followed (particularly the claim that people died looking for him), and because his return received enormous publicity, the Army can’t make such a finding quietly or summarily.
Now the Army could administratively determine that Bergdahl’s capture was an unauthorized absence caused by his own misconduct (see Army Regulation 600-8-4), and therefore his enlistment obligation was tolled during his absence (see 10 U.S.C. § 972), making it possible to administratively separate him for misconduct and give him something other than an Honorable Discharge. However that would require finding that Bergdahl did commit serious misconduct (and would likely deprive him of significant veterans’ benefits) without affording him the protections of a trial.
Both options are bad, leaving the Army with only one choice: Trial by court-martial where Bergdahl will either be convicted (and receive an appropriate punishment) or acquitted (and subsequently honorably discharged).
...and at last we come to what we called for here, and others as well.
Via Dave Larter at NavyTimes;
The Navy is moving to place armed watch standards at recruiting stations nationwide, a move that comes a year after shootings at a recruiting station and a reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, claimed the lives of four Marines and a sailor.We have a serious problem in our Navy that it took a year to get here.
...“We are in the final stages of preparations for implementation” of the policy, said Cmdr. Dave Aliberti, policy branch head for Fleet Forces Command’s anti-terrorism, force protection directorate. “It is going to be a system put in place to arm personnel that are there for deterrent value and to provide protection.”
The guards will be trained, uniformed sailors, ...
As the attacks today in Nice, France have shown us - the enemy is inside our lifelines and will strike when and where they want to. Even the middle of the US is not safe.
Let's look at what I wrote a year ago just a few days after the attack;
We have Duty Officers, Petty Officer of the Watch, etc etc. You can also keep people at Condition 4 if you really want to be safe, but I'll tell you what - I will take a negligent discharge once a month over the slaughter we saw last week - and so will 98% of those in uniform.We need to do better.
As I mentioned Friday - I spent months - as have hundreds of thousands of other sevicemembers, many who can say "years" not "months" - carrying a weapon around in Condition 3 - and only going to Condition 1 only when outside the gate. Condition 3 or Condition 4 should be more than fine for recruiting duty ... and no chance for "accidental discharge" as there is no round in the chamber at all. But again, even if there were - look at the string of attacks where those in uniform were ordered to be defenseless. Worth a accidental discharge or two? My clearing barrel says, "Yes."
For now, we have a paralysis at the Federal level.
What these leaders know is that the enemy has seen that the attack in Chattanooga was a successful attack, and there are thousands of other targets that are just as easy to get to - and are just as legitimate of a target in war.
To not understand the threat as it is, is not to be worthy of someone in a position of authority and leadership in 2015.
Having servicemembers to die unarmed in the face of a determined enemy for your own vanity, and petty career comfort behind your reserved parking space, duty driver, six-figure retirement income, and security detail? Ponder that.
Right call - wrong timeline.