The Return – 89

Written by: Larry Muskowitz; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[Harm is back at JAG, but has lost the “fight for his client with the same tenacity he had as a naval aviator” as promised in the intro. The episode is about an emotionally abused child coping with continued abuse as an adult officer. And how easily, and insidiously, military justice can be perverted]

Harm (H) returned to JAG he said it felt like he “had left yesterday and been gone 100 years.” People didn’t know him and he missed most of the office “inside” joking around. Chegwidden (C) feigned being offended when H expected to do “scut work” like Mac (M) was forced to do after she had left then returned. “Do you think I would be so petty?” he asked as he assigned him a “good case” with a smirk- the SECNAVs son. Brumby (Brum) was in Hs old office and began baiting and pressing fights with H from the beginning.

Lt. Brian Nelson was being court martialed for standing up to his arrogant vindictive CO Cdr Wallace Burke who was treating him like his father had done all his life. After a mistake at the helm, quickly corrected by Nelson, Seaman Rivera was unjustly and summarily sentenced to bread and water. When Nelson pointed out lack of due process and refused to escort Rivera to the brig Burke relieved him of duties for court-martial. The SECNAV spoke with H and said “for the good of the Navy” it couldn’t go to trial. He said he and Brian were alienated, having expected perfection from him during childhood to the point of taking him off his baseball team for not getting straight As. Harm got Burke to agree to drop charges if Nelson would “publicly admit he was wrong and apologize.” Nelson said that Burke had been subjected him to verbal abuse, constant fault finding and rebukes in front of the crew so he wouldn’t accept the plea bargain. Brumby maligned H in front of C for not making Nelson apologize to which H responded “as usual Cdr Brum has hit the nail squarely on his thumb.” When Bud (B) asked why, Nelson said “why does any tyrant abuse his power- because he can!” Bud observed that his own father had also made him “feel like a looser.”

Gunny (G) found no official complaints about Burke but plenty of people who said he was “a hard ass” choosing one Jr. officer each cruise to “make their life a living hell” until they break. When B began his standard defense to show that the order wasn’t lawful Judge Sebring protected Burke with his rulings to the point of being similarly tyrannical to H. Harm told B to “back off” on their defense which prompted M to ask him what was going on, and say that she could advise C to have him removed from the case. The SECNAV came to Hs apartment and admitted that before the cruise he had met privately with Burke and told him to “see what his son had in him.” He offered to testify to that fact in order to get his son out of trouble. Harm didn’t take that either and instead recalled Burke. Harm finally recalled Burke and while listing the points that showed lack of due process, judge Sebring stopped him. Harm was able to trip Burke into admitting he “intentionally provoked Nelson into disobeying your order for the sole purpose of punishing him later – making the order unlawful”; but, members found him guilty anyway. In the hallway Burke wanted an apology to reverse the charges but Nelson said “I would have made a good officer.” Nelson told H “so he wins,” and H responded “No, you loose.”

Harm was told that Admiral Nash had nominated him for a second distinguished flying cross for pushing the F14 by its tail hook. Mac tried to begin socializing with H but he had other things to do. He called Jordan but she didn’t return his calls until she came over and revealed she had orders for Spain. She said “maybe when I get back from Spain.” Chegwidden told him to change his uniform from that “line officer star” and back into the JAG Mill Rinde.

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