A Separate Peace (Part II) – 117

Written by: Stephen Zito; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

Admiral Nash relieved Boone of his command and his men all saluted (even indoors and uncovered) as sign of respect. The SECNAV pontificated angrily about public relations and threatened JAG officers Mac (M), Bud (B) and Harm(H). He said that he didn’t trust Hs judgment to be the JAG attorney on the case and demanded assurance that Harm would consider the good of the service as prime. Because he had been assigned defense council, Harm stood his ground and refused to be threatened such that Chegwidden (C) had to point out to the SECNAV that under constitutional law Harms job was exclusively to Boone. None-the-less the SECNAV flounced threateningly that if H “made the navy look bad he would cut him off at the knees.”

Stuart Dunston began dogging them and Singer (S), who was sitting 2nd chair, said that she knew him and would see what she could do. Harm told her “don’t trust him” and S replied that she wouldn’t tell him anything that was true. Harm chastised M for her dislike of Boone because she refused to do any bargaining. Boone refused to tell H the full story for his defense. Harm was challenging “for cause” every potential witness who had ever disliked Boone. Mac then began asking “if they thought they could be fair,” which of course they all said they could, and the judge began overruling Hs objections. Gunny (G) struck out finding anyone who was at Tan Dien during the incident that Boone was accused for,but said that there was a marine deserter, Cpl Owen Branson, who was there but couldn’t be found.

Mac gave an excellent opening statement and Boone said that he “underestimated her. She would slit your throat on a dark night and not twice about it.” Harm replied that “oh, she would think about it before she did it!” Harm reserved his opening statement for later and M called Gen Parker who told about the decapitated head photograph. Harm turned him into support of Boone on the stand and he shook hands with Boone as he exited the courtroom. Coffin claimed that Boone used a child as a shield and then shot Tam as she was going to hide. Dunston glibly thrust an interview at H and asked if he’d ever seen Boone smile. Harm told him “you’re an idiot” on live TV. Singer offered to talk to Dunston off the record; but first, she said, he had to share. When H cross-examined Coffin he brought up the alcohol treatment and delusions that S had discovered from Dunston. Mac began objecting to everything H was asking so he let S take over. She brought up that Coffin had been paid $50 thousand for his story.

Harms opening statement was eloquent asking the panel not to “make Boone the last casualty of the Vietnam war.” Webb (W) testified that his father, Neville, had been head of the Phoenix program and that Harry Drax hadn’t followed orders and told his men to shoot people on site. Congresswoman Latham came to tell H to go to the Dew Drop Inn, which is where the deserter Owen Branson, now know as Jed Howe, was. Branson told H he didn’t know anything but H saw a tattoo on his arm which he recognized. So he called W for further information. Harm told Boone that he needed to take the stand because M had made her case and his “silence would convict him.” Boone said “I can live with that,” so H had to argue him into testifying.

During his testimony W brought Branson into the room having threatened him with removing his retirement. Boone said that he had taken the girl, who had been standing in the middle of fire, to safety and saw Tam going for a weapon so shot her. He then saw the PRU killing non-combatants so ordered them to stop. Drax came up and shot them all anyway then threatened to kill Boone before he walked away. Boone called to Drax, then had to shoot him in the back to prevent him from starting killing again. Harm called “Harry Drax” to the stand and M, finally, had no objection. Drax told Boone “if you are going to kill someone do it right.” He said that his only regret was “we didn’t kill them all” and that Boone had no part in it. Neville W had changed Drax’s name and “retired him” to avoid publicity. The real Branson was killed in Vietnam. Boone was acquitted but forcibly retired by the SECNAV.

Singer was able to help C get custody of his SUV back after seven weeks and three days since it had been confiscated. Tiner (Ti) retrieved it but it had been shot with “six holes of varying caliber.” Narcotic officers had “borrowed” it for a “sting” which had failed. Singer said “we can sue.” Bud was still studying books relentlessly about his baby’s death. He ignored Harriet’s (Ht) statement that he couldn’t bring the baby back. Harriett came to Hs apartment the feigned that “I shouldn’t be here… but…” then talked about AJs birth and baby Sara’s death. Apparently she didn’t like that the doctors had taken the baby into another room to try and save her, so had “died without me there.” She also didn’t like that B wasn’t making time for her to talk. Harriett saw B berating himself over failing to warn M of Coffin’s hospitalization etc. Harm told him that he “didn’t know what it was like to loose a child but did the woman you love.” He advised “don’t let one cost you the other.”

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