War Stories – 74

Written by: Dana Coen; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

The JAG,Chegwidden C, assigned Mac (M) and Bud (B) to defend Commander Thomas Risnicki, leader of SEAL team 8, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter and disobeying orders. He had delayed his assigned rescue mission for 2.5 hours due to adiabatic fog (which probably would have killed the team) then found that the three NATO hostages had been hung. They had been killed by an ultra radical faction of the Yugoslav army who had given NATO one day to leave the country. When the team arrived 37 minutes late the observers were dead and the SECNAV told C “you could hear NATO Commander, Major General Richard Plesac’s screams all the way to the White House.” Chegwidden appointed Harm (H) to act as JAG during his “forced” use of vacation time.

Brumby (Brum) asked H about defending a tuba player who struck a “flatulent note” as the president sat down, and Harriet (Ht) asked about naming their son. When H suggested naming the baby after naval hero’s they all commented that H seemed “different,” “older,” and “getting taller.” With Plesac on the stand, M brought out the fact of his previous reprimand for “ignoring intel, being ambushed, and the 14 men who died were not worth another bar on his shoulder.” Plesac shouted at M then tattled to the SECNAV who then demanded to see Harm. Mac said she was going to call Plesac to the stand again because he had a “history of loosing men under fire” and wanted to “contrast his apparent disregard for lives with Risnicki’s concern.” When H disagreed with Ms need to “shift blame” onto Plesac in order to win the case, M told him that when he “got power he became as political as the SECNAV.”

Unable to find anything to do, C kept calling H and told him to “call or stop by anytime.” Then he finally drove to JAG headquarters only to find Fran Glass producing a movie, “Field of Gold” starring Dan Lander, being shot in front of the building. After mistakenly dressing down an actor, thinking he was a disgraceful soldier, Glass convinced him to work as “technical advisor” for the show. When H came to visit and talk to C that night, he found C with the co-star as a date. Harm complained that M had not taken his advice and now he had a meeting with the SECNAV about it. Chegwidden reminded him of all the times Harm had ignored the advice he had given him. Chegwidden said that he had to “decide what was best for the case: defending your authority or the choices of the people who define it.” Then he advised H to “get a handkerchief.”

The SECNAV ranted and raved in Hs face about maligning Plesac and said that “if M called him again he would make him personally responsible for the fall out.” Harm told M that it would be her call. Risnicki discovered that B hadn’t taken the bar yet and threatened to dismiss him. Harm told Risnicki that his “best shot was to use his strongest ally” so he didn’t fire him. Bud realized that all the reports said the bodies were already cold and stiff when the team found them (only 30 minutes late) which meant that they must have been killed at least a full day beforehand. Risnicki’s delay had actually kept them from falling into a trap and being killed. Risnicki was found Not Guilty of manslaughter but guilty of disobeying an order. Risnicki apologized to B; and, when told he didn’t need to, advised B to “accept any and all acts of contrition because you don’t often see it.”

Chegwidden was fired from the movie because he dressed down the director for rudeness. When he returned he had become used to all the snacks on the set so told Ht to see that the JAG office got some. They asked if they could name their baby after C and he said he was honored. They all were happy until C revealed that he expected them to name him “Albert Jethro Roberts.”

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