United States Army Officer Puts Neck Out For Constitution

In what I would call one of the most risky moves to a person’s career, a light bird colonel of the US Army has made his stand.  He has refused any further orders until the Obama has furnished proof that he is in fact a legitimate holder of the office of President.

“I feel I have no choice but the distasteful one of inviting my own court martial,” said Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, an active-duty flight surgeon charged with caring for Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey’s pilots and air crew. “The Constitution matters. The truth matters.”

“For the first time in all my years of service to our great nation, and at great peril to my career and future, I am choosing to disobey what I believe are illegal orders, including an order to deploy to Afghanistan for my second tour of duty there. I will disobey my orders to deploy because I – and I believe all servicemen and women and the American people – deserve the truth about President Obama’s constitutional eligibility to the office of the presidency and the commander in chief.

“If he is ineligible, then my orders – and indeed all orders – are illegal because all orders have their origin with the commander in chief as handed down through the chain of command.”

Indeed Lt. Col. Terry Lakin is risking it all, could face court martial, lose any rights to pension benefits after 18 years, and could be imprisoned for taking this stand.  His video at the bottom lays out his concerns.

I have tried not to become a part of this debate, because like many others, it has a tendency to call a lot of chatter and name calling from the supporters of Obama, and sometimes even those on the right who cannot fathom such a thing.  So instead I have tried to stay focused on the substance of his policies and how truly damaging THEY are for the country.  No need for a constitutional crisis in my mind.

These types of events however are game changers.  The sacrifice of a decorated military career for such a challenge is nothing to scoff at.  It also points out an underlying distrust of the president’s ability to lead our armed forces, as I am sure there are others who simply would not take the same stand in this way.

The President’s answer to similar challenges ever since his election has been to lock up his records, hire an army of attorneys, and ridicule debate over the possibility he has eligibility issues.  Most should find those facts troubling.  Perhaps it gives the president an opportunity to draw out the “fringe”, but at the same time it seemingly leads to the distrust by the officers who are charged to take his commands.  It is not a game, and the consequences are indeed dire.

Lt. Col. Terry Lakin’s own words.

Update – 1542 Thursday 040110 —

As reported at familysecuritymatters.org:

Lakin has earned the distinction of taking care of many Admirals and Generals since working at the Pentagon, where he serves as Chief of Primary Care and Flight Surgeon for the DiLorenzo TRICARE Health Clinic and is the lead Flight Surgeon charged with caring for Army Chief of Staff General Casey’s pilots and air crew. LTC Lakin’s numerous awards and decorations include the Army Flight Surgeon Badge, Combat Medical Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Armed Forces Expedition Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon sixth award and the NATO service medal. He has served previously in Honduras, Bosnia, Korea, and Afghanistan.

7 comments for “United States Army Officer Puts Neck Out For Constitution

  1. April 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    The Constitution does matter, and this traiitor needs to be court martialed as soon as possible.

    • jgillman
      April 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      It poses an interesting conundrum..

      If he gets court martialed, does he have a right to a defense? And with that defense, does he not have the right to petition for supportive documentation?

      My guess is he will be relieved of his duties under a general discharge. A bad or dishonorable would require a court martial, EXCEPT that a general could order a bad conduct discharge without court martial.. Essentially writing him off.

      Awards received might also affect how his case is handled. Meritorious service could weigh heavily in his favor against a summary dismissal by a general IMO.

  2. April 1, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    There is no “interesting question.” It’s an open and shut case, despite what birthers say.

    • jgillman
      April 1, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      Your opinion matters as much as my own on this issue..
      I would argue “open and shut” is the unconstitutionality of the health care bill. Yet it will be fought from both sides.
      Open and shut are the fascist underpinnings of the desire to nationalize a majority of our economy, but you would disagree.

      So.. there is always room for argument even if there is but one truth.

  3. April 2, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Indeed he would have the right to defense counsel. I would imagine rules of evidence would be similar in UCMJ proceedings as they would be for a civilian trial.

    Here’s a link to the Manual for Courts-Martial: http://www.jag.navy.mil/documents/mcm2008.pdf.

    From what I see, LTC Lakin could potentially get hit by three articles of the UCMJ:

    1. Article 88 – Contempt toward officials.

    2. Article 90 – Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer

    3. Article 92 – Failure to obey order or regulation

    We’ll start with text of #1 (Art 88):

    Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous
    words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the
    Secretary of a military department, the Secretary
    of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature
    of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or
    possession in which he is on duty or present shall
    be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    A charge based on this particular article probably will not happen. I say this because the MCM mentions that:

    If not personally contemptuous, adverse
    criticism of one of the officials or legislatures
    named in the article in the course of a political
    discussion, even though emphatically expressed,
    may not be charged as a violation of the article.

    Like I said, probably won’t happen, but given the political climate…

    #2 (Art 90):

    Any person subject to this chapter who—

    (1) strikes his superior commissioned officer or draws or lifts up any weapon or offers any violence against him while he is in the execution of his office; or

    (2) willfully disobeys a lawful command of his superior commissioned officer; shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, and if the offense is committed at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

    I’m not going to dive into the discussion whether the conflicts we are currently involved in would make a conviction of this article fall under a “time of war” or not.

    The kick to the nuts in this case is “lawfulness of the order”:

    (i) Inference of lawfulness. An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate. This inference does not apply to a patently illegal order, such as one that directs the commission of a crime.

    However, since the question of constitutionality comes up:

    (iv) Relationship to statutory or constitutional rights. The order must not conflict with the statutory or constitutional rights of the person receiving the order.

    Obviously the question he’s posing is whether or not Obama is qualified to be President – and Commander in Chief of the armed forces – under the guidelines posed by the constitution.

    If LTC Lakin has decent counsel, and this is the particular article he’s hit on, his counsel should push for proof of the Obama’s natural borne citizenship. If anything but the official, original, birth certificate is presented, should push forward on appeal due to the prosecution not furnishing such evidence that is quite relevant to the proceedings. It is damn well within his constitutional rights to be guaranteed that the CiC is indeed qualified to hold the position as stipulated within The Constitution.

    #3 (Art 92):

    Any person subject to this chapter who—

    (1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;

    (2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by a member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or

    (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    Again, LTC Lakin could fight it based on this:

    (c) A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or lawful superior orders or for some other reason is beyond the authority of the official issuing it. See the discussion of lawfulness in paragraph 14c(2)(a).

  4. April 2, 2010 at 1:43 am

    By the way Communications Guru, I bet you were a pretty shitty barracks attorney at “Great Mistakes”, weren’t you?

  5. April 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Also, interesting point was brought up about Article 138 – and using that to request redress.

    For those with facebook and who are friends with Mark Baker, take a look.

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