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Marine Corps

Commander Relieved For Violating Entire UCMJ

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Colonel Grant's Most Recent Command Photograph

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC – The Department of Defense has been rocked by the firing and court-martial of a high-ranking Marine officer for allegedly violating every single article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Col. Mitch Grant, once a promising VMI graduate and the commanding officer of the Eighth Marine Regiment, is now charged with adultery, forgery, arson, improper use of a countersign, espionage, stalking, burglary, making a check with insufficient funds, murder, depositing obscene matters in the mail, and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman, among other charges.

Grant is only the latest in a string of commanders fired over the past few years for alleged violations of the UCMJ, or civil and criminal laws, including sexual harassment, falsifying records, misusing official fundsbigamy, making sexually explicit videos and showing them to troops, initiating an adulterous relationship and then terminating it by faking their death, negligent handling of nuclear weapons and launch codes, and shoplifting.

These are in addition to numerous other firings motivated by “loss of confidence” that did not necessarily result in charges, but which were sufficiently embarrassing that the Pentagon and armed services wanted to keep their specifics quiet.

Col. Grant laughed throughout the reading of the charges, from chuckling at minor offenses to shaking with uproarious laughter during the reading of more outrageous charges, restrained only by his straitjacket and the wire caged mask over his mouth to prevent him from biting those present in the courtroom.

Officials have declined to disclose the specifics of how the investigation was initiated, but multiple sources have confirmed that it began when Grant was observed with his hands in his pockets before a staff meeting at Camp Leatherneck by Gen. Andrew Blake, who instructed his chief of staff, Col. Patton Callahan, to have Col. Grant report to his office to privately receive a verbal warning.

“Let’s just say it was dumb luck that we uncovered any of his crimes at all, and leave it at that,” said Col. Callahan.  The command initially intended to quietly NJP [non-judicial punishment] Grant so as not to cause any embarrassment, but Grant refused it, insisting on a court-martial instead.

“Refusing NJP was [Grant’s] last ditch effort to keep his record clean by staring down the command over the difficulties of convening a court-martial for an O-6,” says military legal analyst Joseph Baines.

“I’ll be blunt with you. It almost worked. I suspect there were probably many other NJPs Grant avoided in this exact same way. But once the decision was made to go to trial no matter what, and follow the investigation wherever it went, that’s when it really exploded.”

A Career of Criminal Acts

Though the specifics of the charges have been kept as quiet as possible, so many base residents have been interviewed that some of the incidents have been leaked. Each one seems to involve multiple violations, such as one in which Grant was talking on a cellphone while driving drunk on base, then maimed a pedestrian and fled the scene of the accident. In another, Grant allegedly exposed himself in public while making disloyal statements. After only a few days of charges piling up, the local NCIS office requested augmentation by additional personnel to help catalog them all.

“I think once he knew it was going to trial, at some point it just became a game about trying to violate more of the punitive articles,” says Grant’s guard, Sergeant Ethan Maynard. “And I think some of us might have unwittingly played along.”

“For instance, when the true extent of his crimes was being realized, the bosses elected to transport him back by ship to buy some time to prepare for the trial. That was how he managed to get charged with violating Article 134-10 for escaping custody, not to mention 134-30 for jumping from a military vessel into the water. Oh, and also those two extra murder charges for killing his guards.”

“Eventually, seeing all those charges stack up in one case became kind of a running gag,” says Daniel Sauls of NCIS.  “I don’t remember who it was that suggested, as a joke, that we compare his fingerprints with prints on the washers we kept getting reports of in base vending machines. But wow, after that actually panned out, the pieces just started coming together.”

“The next day we used voice recognition technology to prove that he was responsible for an epidemic of obscene, racist, and threatening phone calls throughout the area.  It was while we were trying to see if he might be involved with the disappearances of some dogs and cats in a neighborhood just off base that we found the cockfighting ring, which was being run by Grant’s second wife, a minor he illegally brought into the country as a sex slave and then used to claim fraudulent dependent benefits.”

“But the charges that really took us by surprise came when a procedural error during the vending machine investigation caused Col Grant’s fingerprints to be checked against Central Command’s biometric database. That’s how we discovered 5% of the improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan displayed partial or complete prints. As we reexamined some of the reports related to those IEDs, we noticed they all involved substantial numbers of destroyed weapons. When those weapon serial numbers started showing up in caches of insurgent weapons, the case took on a whole new dimension.”

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the case is not the magnitude of Grant’s crimes, but the absence of any documented misbehavior prior to the case. Not only does Grant’s service record demonstrate an unbroken chain of outstanding fitness reports, but his trial has already been briefly interrupted by notification of Grant’s selection to the rank of brigadier general.

This soon resulted in additional charges of bribery and extortion, as Grant first offered to use general officer rank to benefit his prosecutor if he engineered an acquittal, then attempted to blackmail the court, then the Marine Corps, and finally the Department of Defense, by claiming he would leak the story of his selection to the media if they did not drop all charges. Plans detailing a similar attempt to secure a presidential pardon from Barack Obama were discovered in Grant’s cell, along with several vials of heroin Grant was apparently dealing to other prisoners, and a toothbrush sharpened into a stabbing weapon and hidden in a hollowed out copy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

“Well, selection isn’t exactly the same thing as promotion, strictly speaking,” said a visibly shaken Secretary Leon Panetta during the media firestorm after the story first broke.

Several additional charges of bribery and extortion were originally entered against Col Grant following revelations of similar appeals and threats Grant made to his former co-conspirators in numerous foreign governments, criminal groups, and terrorist organizations, but Grant’s defense attorney successfully argued to have these instances treated solely as charges of espionage and aiding the enemy.

The Problem Of ‘Zero Defects’

While the DoD has attempted to paint Grant’s apprehension and trial in a positive light, indicating a professionalizing drawdown period after the chaotic expansion necessary for the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, Baines isn’t so positive.

“I think we need to accept the possibility that Grant is only the tip of the iceberg.  All the services adopted a zero defects mentality long ago. At first that seems like a great way to ensure the best get promoted.  The truth has been very different.  But while we’ve talked for years about the dangers of this producing a culture of mediocre careerists — you know, Captain Queeg types — we never realized it could also produce something like Mitch Grant.  Say what you want about Grant, but he was a decisive risk-taker who mastered the careerists’ system, and this made him much more likely to progress up the ranks than a timid mediocrity.”

“You know, when you catch a fish this big, part of you has to wonder what else is swimming around down there,” he added.

“Death is only the beginning!,” roars Grant, frothing at the mouth as he is wheeled out of the courtroom after challenging various officers of the court to duel him, resulting in six more charges of attempts to violate Article 114, which prohibits dueling, and three more violations of articles 88 and 89.

As a commissioned officer, Grant cannot be given a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge if convicted. However, he faces the most serious sentence available to commissioned officers: dismissal. If dismissed, Grant will most likely move on to accept one of dozens of job offers already extended to him by private companies, think tanks, and foreign governments.

In related news, Grant’s enlisted driver, Sergeant Adrian Green, has been charged as an accessory following the court’s rejection of pleas that he was ignorant of his commander’s crimes. Green faces reduction in rank to private, the loss of all benefits to his family, and could be executed as early as next month if Grant is convicted.

Marine Corps

Helicopter parents won’t insert son at hot LZ

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CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan — A Marine infantryman scrambled to link up with his squad after his parents refused to insert him at a hot landing, sources confirmed today.

Pfc. Martin Sikorsky pushed out on a QRF mission for the ANA his unit is training when his parents became concerned about the state of the LZ.

“Martin knows the rules of our hangar. No screen time after 4 p.m., no driving over 45 knots and no firefights. I think any parent would agree I’m being reasonable,” Sirkorsky’s father, Huey, told reporters.

Huey’s wife Lakota looked up from the baby monitor she has in her cockpit with a live feed from a GoPro on Sikorsky’s chest rig.

“If Martin is having problems with the Taliban, all he has to do is give me a CAS 9-line, and I will speak to their mothers to get this sorted out,” Lakota said.

Sikorsky’s parents were going to allow him on the mission until they received word of an enemy RPK team in the northwest corner of the hasty LZ. Normally, they are fine with their son being exposed to medium machine gun fire. Although he is not vaccinated against 7.62, Huey and Lakota rely on a mix of essential oils to keep Sikorsky safe. However, since arriving in Afghanistan, they have been unable to find a Whole Foods that sells coconut and eucalyptus oil.

Sikorsky said he was heartbroken he could not insert with his guys and get in on the TIC. Like most 18-year-olds, he worries about the effects of his protective parents.

“How am I supposed to have a social life without my own CAR?” he said.

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Marine Corps

New Marine Commandant to bring back rolled trousers

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WASHINGTON — The next Commandant of the Marine Corps has announced that the first policy he’ll instate when he takes the helm this summer is to bring back the beloved tradition of rolling trouser legs.

“From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, Marines have proudly rolled their pantaloons on many a foreign shore,” said Lt. Gen. David Berger. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, ‘Sir, when will we go back to trousers up?’ Well, Marines, your leadership has listened. It’s high time to show off those calves.”

This isn’t the first time a long-standing Marine tradition has been cancelled, only to be brought back years later. In 2011, then-Commandant Gen. James Amos infamously got rid of rolled sleeves for the entire Corps. Amid complaints from the rank-and-file, he brought them back in 2014.

“Trousers up is clearly what sets us apart visually as Marines,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Ronald Green. “And now there will be no more skipping leg day. Any Marines who have been doing their squats and calf raises will welcome this change, I’m sure.”

Marines will be required to roll their trousers in the spring and summer months and will revert to “trousers down” in the winter.

“I remember during the Gulf War, if the Iraqis saw a flash of trouser cuff and shin they would instantly retreat,” said Berger. “If we’re going to win against near-peer competitors, that’s what we need to get back to.”

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Marine Corps

Make-A-Wish kid spends day as a Marine standing in line at the armory

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kid-armory

TWENTYNINE PALMS, California — When eight year-old Conrad Greeley found out his leukemia was terminal, his family immediately contacted the Make-A-Wish foundation since he always wanted to spend a day living out his childhood dream of joining the Marine Corps.

Luckily, Make-A-Wish came through, and on Tuesday, Conrad met up with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s Easy Company at 0400 outside the armory. The company was drawing weapons to verify serial numbers for the third time that week.

As per his family’s request, the Marines treated Conrad just like any other Junior Enlisted Warrior, with Cpl. Sean Casey assigned as his team leader for the day. He took the boy under his wing immediately, officials said.

“I tried to teach him how to spin up a CASEVAC 9-line but he couldn’t figure it out,” Casey said. “At least his hair is in regs.”

At 0630, the armory gates opened and Marines flooded in. As the smallest and newest boot, Conrad dutifully assumed his place at the back of the line. At 1100, just as he was getting close to the window, the armorers cut for chow.

When they came back at 1300, Conrad was informed they couldn’t issue him a rifle because Gunny hadn’t signed his weapons cards. After standing by aimlessly until 1700 for his team leader to tell him what to do, it was time for Conrad to head home.

Conrad walked away from his short time in the Marine Corps with a new perspective on life.

“Today made me feel a lot better. I used to be sad I would never get to grow up and be a Marine. Now I’d rather just die.”

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Marine Corps

JLTVs deadlined due to faulty cassette deck

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QUANTICO, Va. — Brig. Gen. Arthur J. Pasagian, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, announced today that all Joint Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), the replacement for the Humvee, would be deadlined across the service after field testing revealed a dangerous defect with their cassette decks.

This decision comes after reports that cassette tape decks in new JLTVs were spontaneously combusting after three or four uses.

Oshkosh Defense, who holds the contract to make JLTVs, released a statement claiming that they “are not liable for this issue.”

“We wanted to equip the JLTV with an aux cord and Bluetooth technology, but the geniuses at DOD Acquisitions insisted we go with a tape deck because ‘that’s how the kids like to listen these days,’” the statement reads.

Lance Cpl. Conrad Gardner of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines was injured in an incident with a JLTV’s tape deck.

“My driver and I were listening to some Raffi, because those are the only cassettes I own,” he drawled. “Then, out of nowhere, that cassette player just exploded in our faces. These vehicles are dangerous. I’d be safer flying in an Osprey.

The effects of downing so many JLTVs at once are being felt far beyond the motor pool and the decision makers in Quantico. Marines arriving at the 7th Regiment Command Post in Twentynine Palms today encountered a Jonestown-like scene. Dozens of staff officers were sprawled dead on the ground, unable to cope with the atrocious vehicle readiness numbers.

The JLTV program cost $23 billion, with a per unit sticker price of nearly $450,000.

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Marine Corps

Marine Corps predicts future drinking incidents will be caused by near-peer pressure

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The Marine Corps published a strategic document today that predicts future alcohol-related incidents will be caused primarily by near-peer pressure.

“We need to think beyond the small-scale drinking incidents of the past 20 years of counterinsurgency and start looking at major intoxicating threats,” reads a forward from Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller. “In the future, near-peer adversaries like Russia and China will pressure us to enter into high intensity, testosterone-fueled benders. If we’re not prepared, they may even drink us under the table.”

The document claims that high tech weapons and advanced sensors on the battlefield will mean that Marines have to disperse into several smaller barracks parties if they want to get plastered. Small units seeking to close with and destroy the local nightlife will have to rethink their tactics.

“We’ve gotten too used to robust logistical support providing us all the booze we need whenever we want to tie one on,” Neller continues. “But Chinese anti-access/area denial systems will increasingly be checking IDs at the door and may prevent Marines from having easy access to local pubs. Very soon, we may have to conduct forcible entry operations through the side door of the bar just to get a drink.”

In testing, the Corps has had some success in reducing DUIs through the use of unmanned ground vehicles. However, unmanned systems also pose some risk.

“In the Marine Corps,” added Neller, “even the unmanned vehicles get drunk.”

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Marine Corps

Wait training added to Marine PFT

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QUANTICO, Va. — Headquarters Marine Corps will add wait training to the physical fitness test to reflect increased demands on the time of today’s Marines, sources confirmed today.

The test itself will feature a four-hour wait check, and the preparatory program will incorporate lengthy waits in multiple settings.

“We’ve found that Marines spend a significant portion of their day — in garrison, in the field, and on deployment — waiting around for something, and some of them are just not prepared,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller. “No hip-pocket classes ready to brief, nothing from my professional reading list and no PME homework. Hell, not even any hydration, tobacco or sunflower seeds.”

The revised training program will require Marines to wait in a classroom for 55 minutes before the instructor shows up. At the close of the classroom portion of the wait training, Marines will divide into groups and proceed to the base clinic, armory, consolidated issue facility and range. There they will participate in round-robin training consisting of sitting, kneeling or standing at each location for 75 minutes before a role player turns them away for lack of ID or appropriate attire. They will finish the training day by waiting on the word for 84 minutes.

As with any change the Corps has introduced in its storied history, there have been vocal objections from those who consider themselves “Old Corps.”

“Those millennials need training for everything. Real Marines already know how to wait. I’ve been waiting for my check-in sheet to be signed since ’89. Chesty would roll over in his …” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Jedediah Smith, before choking on the baseball-sized dip in his mouth.

Some have questioned the feasibility of incorporating so much extra training into the annual training requirements of a force that is continually preparing for war in Afghanistan, North Korea, China and Texas. However, the concerns have largely fallen on the deaf ears of leaders waiting around at DEERS.

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Marine Corps

Recruiters hate him! Marine finishes four-year contract in eight months with one simple trick

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TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Pfc. Patrick Boyd is being hailed as a genius after finishing a four-year contract in just eight months

His peers are beyond jealous at Boyd’s amazing feat.

“Boyd and I went through boot camp and ITB together,” Pfc. Hector Gomez said. “Then, we both got orders to 2/7 (2nd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment). I’d also thought we’d EAS around the same time. Now, he’s back home, and I’m stuck in the middle of the desert with my head shaved bald screaming ‘aye lance corporal’ at a bunch of dudes with no combat experience who are like six months older than I am.”

One of those Marines tormenting Gomez is Lance Cpl. Brad Williams. Williams never thought much of Pfc. Boyd while serving as his team leader. But, this turn of events has left him in awe.

“It normally takes four years to fulfill a four-year contract, but the other day I saw Boyd walk by in civvies with his DD-214,” Williams said. “He must be some kind of prodigy.”

Staff Sgt. Jose Ramos, the unit’s substance abuse control officer, was also impressed.

“The Marine Corps considers a urine sample with 100 nanograms of cocaine per milliliter to be positive,” he said. “Pfc. Boyd tested at 1400 ng/mL. He must’ve been railing lines of coke off the top of the urinal while he was pissing. It’s truly motivating to see a Marine so determined to go above and beyond the standard.”

Outside the small rowhouse in Allentown, New Jersey, where Boyd now lives with his parents and younger sister, a line of Marines snakes around the block. All are there to learn how they too can cut their contracts down to a quarter of their original lengths. They’ve drained their leave balances to come speak with a man who’s quickly becoming a prophet-like figure in the lance corporal community.

Boyd doesn’t understand their admiration.

“I went out there yesterday and told them I got an other than honorable discharge, and now I’m going to spend the rest of my life living at home and working at a gas station,” Boyd said. “They still just wanted to know how I got out so quickly.”

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Air Force

Fans excited for final season of Afghanistan

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BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Fans of Afghanistan, already America’s longest running drama, are excited for the premier of the final season of the conflict, whenever that may be.

A media darling at launch, Afghanistan has suffered from low viewership since the first season but remains a powerhouse moneymaker with an annual budget of almost $45 billion. Producers initially promised large, exciting battles and decisive story lines but thus far have had issues delivering consistently. Fans of the show place the blame for many of those issues on producers insisting the show split air time with spinoff drama Iraq.

Despite the small TV audience tuning in, a large number of Americans (about 14,000 at present) physically attend the conflict every year hoping to take part in events as they unfold.

However, many of these participants express discontent over the direction the show has taken and feel the program has been dragging for the last decade or so.

“I was skeptical at first because there had been a Russian drama about Afghanistan, but in the first few seasons, this felt very different. And when they surprised everyone by killing off Bin Laden in season 10, that was amazing,” said Capt Mike Watt, currently deployed to Sharana. “But l feel like lately it’s been the same story line every season. Just lazy writing all around.”

A quick audit of recent years supports Watt’s argument. Plot devices like COIN, blue on green insider attacks, and meeting with local leaders that end up accomplishing nothing have become repetitive. Despite these issues, there remain a strikingly large number of subplots and unanswered questions. So many in fact, that writers and executive producers have expressed that they can’t imagine wrapping this up even if they have 10 plus more seasons.

Regardless, fans remain excited for the final season whenever that may be. An online poll among attendees on who will end up on top received hundreds of thousands of votes and came back with a landslide victory for write in candidate “I don’t give a fuuuuuuck.”

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