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Entries in Discharge (6)

Wednesday
Apr252012

Marine to Be Discharged over Anti-Obama Facebook Comment

Creatas/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A conservative Marine who started an armed forces Tea Party Web page has been given an "other than honorable" discharge for misconduct after declaring on Facebook, "Screw Obama. I will not follow all orders from him."

Sgt. Gary Stein later clarified his remarks to say he wouldn't follow unlawful orders from the president and argued his online comments were protected by the First Amendment, ABC News San Diego affiliate KGTV reported.

In addition, he has expressed regret for his remark, at one point writing on Facebook, "The words that I used were tasteless and I could have articulated my point more clearly. I am man enough to admit my mistakes."

But Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo, the commanding general for Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, nevertheless upheld an earlier decision by an administrative separation board to give Stein the "other than honorable" discharge, according to a news release by the Marines.

Stein, 26, based at Camp Pendleton, was put on notice of a possible violation of the Uniform Code of Justice last month after his Obama comment, KGTV reported. The military subsequently cited other anti-Obama comments in Stein's online postings.

On Wednesday, Stein acknowledged the discharge on his Facebook page.

"I have spent the last 9 years honorably serving this great nation and the Corps," Stein wrote. "Even though I will be discharged no one can take the title of Marine away from me. I thank my family and friends for their support and love. Today is just the start of the rest of my life. Semper Fi."

The manner of discharge will hit Stein in the wallet, according to the Marine statement.

"A Marine being separated as a result of adverse conduct can receive an other than honorable characterization of discharge if the basis for separation is the commission of a serious offense which is a significant departure from the conduct expected of a Marine," the statement read. "Marines administratively separated with an 'other than honorable' discharge are automatically reduced to pay grade E-3, to become effective upon separation."

The move is expected to mean Stein will not receive benefits following his nine years of military service. His contract with the Marines was scheduled to expire on July 28.

Stein tried to stop the tribunal's processes by filing a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court in the Southern California District, but federal judge Marilyn Huff denied the request.

She told one of Stein's attorneys, "You understand it's a pretty sensitive comment that he made," adding, "He can't do that," KGTV reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct212011

64 US Navy Sailors Discharged for Selling, Using Drugs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Some of the sailors aboard the ship that buried al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at sea earlier this year have also been tossed overboard, career-wise.

According to Navy officials with the U.S. 3rd Fleet, as many as 64 sailors based in San Diego were recently busted for using or selling drugs.

The drug of choice seems to have been the herbal substance "spice," which gives users a marijuana-type high.  These "fake" pot drugs aren't legal and the Navy came down hard on the sailors, kicking some of the worst offenders out of the service.

While the sailors, all of whom received non-judicial punishment, were stationed on three vessels, 49 were from the USS Carl Vinson.  Last May, bin Laden's body was buried at sea from the deck of this ship after he was shot dead by Navy SEALs in Pakistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep202011

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Is Officially Over

Bill Clark/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With virtually no fanfare, the Pentagon's policy of forcing members of the military to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or else face discharge ended on Tuesday, meaning that all branches of the armed forces can now act on applications from openly gay and lesbian people.

"Don't ask, don't tell" -- first instituted after long debate in 1993 -- was repealed by Congress last December and signed by President Obama.  Since then, the Pentagon has reviewed its policies and had all 2.25 million current military members undergo training to ensure an orderly transition.

Before the repeal, the Pentagon conducted a survey and found that most soliders said that having homosexuals among them would not be disruptive.  The Marine Corps was the least receptive to the idea.

Over the past 17 years, 14,000 service members were kicked out of the military for being gay or lesbian.  Many said they were "outed" by others.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun032011

DADT Discharge Was Because of Voluntary Outing

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The first case of a gay service member being discharged since the signing of the law that begins the process of repealing the Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask Law involved an Airman who voluntarily outed himself to get out of the Air Force.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law barring gays from serving openly in the military is likely to be repealed in a few months, but until then the law still remains in effect.

Under the repeal signed into law last December, DADT won’t be reversed until 60 days after Defense Secretary Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and President Obama certify that the readiness of the force has not been affected.  To that end, all of the services are in the midst of training their forces for what will change when repeal occurs.  Top Pentagon officials have said they expect certification to occur in mid- summer; that will begin the 60 day clock to repeal.

But last night the Air Force confirmed that a DADT discharge had occurred on April 29.  The news was surprising because last October, Gates had raised the bar so high for a DADT discharge to occur that none had occurred since then. Under Gates’ directive a servic emember’s discharge could only occur after consultation between the secretary of the relevant service, the Pentagon’s General Counsel and top personnel chief.

That was all done to prevent a gay service member from being discharged involuntarily under the law, but it didn’t prevent a service member from declaring themselves to be gay and wanting to leave the service and that’s exactly what happened in this case.

According to Air Force Spokesman Maj. Joel Harper on that date, “the Secretary of the Air Force approved the discharge of an Airman under the provisions of 10 USC 654, after coordination with the DoD General Counsel and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Each of these officials evaluated the case carefully, and concluded that separation was appropriate.  The Airman in the case asked to be separated expeditiously.  Until repeal occurs, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' remains the law."

Harper says the Air Force expects to finish its training on June 30th, and there have been no reports of problems with the training.

In a statement reacting to news of the discharge, Alexander Nicholson, the Executive Director of the advocacy group Servicemembers United said “this appears to be a classic case of someone simply trying to use the fact that the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law is still technically on the books to get out of his or her service obligation.”  However, he said “it shows why the DADT law is flawed and harms the military - it can also be abused to allow someone to receive expensive training and then skip out on their commitment to serve, or it can simply be used to quit the military early by forcing an early separation."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

Navy Drops Discharge of Sailor Found Asleep with Another Man

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- The Navy has dropped discharge proceedings against a young petty officer accused of "unprofessional conduct" after he was found asleep in bed with another male sailor earlier this year.

Stephen Jones, 21, a student at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, S.C., had said his attempted ouster was motivated by homophobia, not a legitimate crime.

"This was an attempt to utilize supposed misconduct to get around 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' provisions," said Jones' civilian attorney Gary Meyers. "He's never said that he's gay, and no one asked him. It's irrelevant. He didn't do anything wrong."

The reprieve for Jones came Friday from the "upper echelons" of the Navy, Meyers said.

In an interview last month, Jones said he and friend Brian McGee inadvertently dozed off while watching the Vampire Diaries on a computer in his quarters Feb. 6.

"I asked several times about what was unprofessional about what I did, and every time they said it's just unprofessional. Period," said Jones.

Jones was wearing pajama pants and a white t-shirt, laying on top of the covers; McGee was in boxer shorts under the blanket on Jones' twin bed, according to both men's accounts.

When Jones' roommate, Tyler Berube, walked in shortly after midnight, the sleepy sailors woke up, got dressed and went back to their rooms.

Several days later, however, Jones and McGee were cited with dereliction of duty for "willfully failing to exhibit professional conduct in his room," according to the Navy report specifying the charges.

McGee accepted the charge and received docked pay. But when Jones refused to accept a penalty, instead hoping for a court martial to prove his innocence, he was ordered separated from the Navy for good.

While there was no evidence of homosexual conduct presented in the statements given by the three men to military investigators, Jones and his civilian attorney Gary Meyers believe homophobic suspicions were motivation for the charge.

Gay and lesbian advocates also warned the case illustrates a loophole for continued discrimination against homosexual service members complication despite the impending repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

A copy of the Navy's investigative report confirms that Berube discovered the two men asleep in bed, well before the 2 a.m. curfew Feb. 6, but does not detail how Jones or McGee may have exhibited unprofessional behavior.

"Guys are always playing video games, watching movies, in other people's quarters," Jones said. "Brian and I hung out on a regular basis. Curfew was 2 a.m. We woke up between 12 and 12:30, and were back in our rooms before 1. I have never been in trouble ever in all of my life."

A spokesman for the Naval Nuclear Training Command did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment but told the Washington Post, which first reported on the case, that "the determination was that two sailors sharing the same rack was unprofessional."

Attorney Meyers said, "If this is a problem, every kid who was ever in a fraternity or sorority or in a dorm room, wearing boxers and sitting on the bed, is going to have to look at their conduct again."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

Navy Sailor Faces Discharge for Falling Asleep With Another Man

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- A Navy petty officer facing discharge for falling asleep in bed with another male sailor last month says his ouster is motivated by homophobia, not a legitimate crime, a claim that has some gay rights advocates worried about life after "don't ask don't tell."

Stephen Jones, 21, a student at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina, says he and friend Brian McGee inadvertently fell asleep together while watching the Vampire Diaries on a computer in his quarters Feb. 6.

Jones was wearing pajama pants and a white t-shirt, laying on top of the covers; McGee was in boxer shorts under the blanket on Jones' twin bed, according to both men's account of the situation.

When Jones' roommate, Tyler Berube, walked in shortly after midnight, the sailors woke up, got dressed and went back to their rooms.  Several days later, however, Jones and McGee were cited with dereliction of duty for "willfully failing to exhibit professional conduct in his room," according to the Navy report specifying the charges.

McGee accepted the charge and received docked pay.  But when Jones refused to accept a penalty, instead hoping for a court martial to prove his innocence, he was ordered separated from the Navy for good.

While there was no evidence of homosexual conduct presented in the statements given by the three men to military investigators, Jones and his civilian attorney Gary Meyers believe homophobic suspicions were motivation for the charge.

"The roommate is concerned about what he sees, even though he sees nothing," Meyers said.  "And his statement doesn't indicate he saw anything.  Two men woke up and they left the room.  It's a bizarre overreaction."

Meyers contends that because the command had too little evidence to start an investigation under "don't ask, don't tell," which is still technically military policy, it used a subterfuge to achieve the same result.

"I asked several times about what was unprofessional about what I did, and every time they said it's just unprofessional.  Period," said Jones, who is appealing the decision.

"Guys are always playing video games, watching movies, in other people's quarters," Jones said.  "Brian and I hung out on a regular basis.  Curfew was 2 a.m.  We woke up between 12 and 12:30, and were back in our rooms before 1.  I have never been in trouble ever in all of my life."

A copy of the Navy's investigative report confirms that Berube discovered the two men asleep in bed, well before the 2 a.m. curfew Feb. 6, but does not detail how Jones or McGee may have exhibited unprofessional behavior.

A spokesman for the Naval Nuclear Training Command did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment but told the Washington Post, which first reported on the case, that "the determination was that two sailors sharing the same rack was unprofessional."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio