Professionalism IS A Virtue. But If You Need Another Reason....


Up. Identified. Lase. Fire. On the way.
PREMO Member
The Supreme Court decided last week not to review the case of a retired Marine who was court-martialed and convicted of sexual assault in 2015, upholding the Pentagon’s authority to prosecute retirees for crimes they commit even after leaving the service.

The decision leaves the possibility open for retirees to face punishment, such as sailors involved in the Navy’s “Fat Leonard” scandal and retired Army Gen. David Petraeus — who pleaded guilty to providing classified information to his biographer.

Larrabee’s petition argued that considering a retired service member a continuing member of the military is “anachronistic.”
“He receives pay in the form of his military pension, but he holds no active rank; he has no commanding officer or subordinates; he lacks the authority to issue binding orders; he has no obligation to follow orders; he performs no duties; and he participates in no regular military activities,” Larrabee’s petition reads.

In 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to expand the peacetime authority of the secretary of defense to recall retirees in part to deal with the Air Force’s pilot shortage.

Dunlap also said that retirees are not forced to collect retirement pay, but instead choose to keep a relationship with the military. Larrabee, in particular, was still a member of Fleet Marine Corps Reserve.
As I've noted in previous posts one would never have known my political leanings while I served on active duty. One serves the Commander-in-Chief, not the "Commander-in-Chief I Happen to Like or Agree With." A number of times throughout my career I had to put halt to conversations that were really quite out of bounds. Did it throughout: Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama.

And though I'm now retired I try to be "proper" in my criticism of our Commander-In-Chief (be it, so far, Obama and Trump). Why? Because it's the proper and professional thing to be/do.

But if that's not enough, SCOTUS has reaffirmed the government's ability to recall retirees back to active duty to face criminal charges for crimes committed AFTER retirement. While this is generally considered to be for "hard crimes," for officers (especially) it also applies to "conduct unbecoming."

Retirees often forget that retirement pay (at least as far as the old 20-year/30-year system went) is NOT a pension; it is a retainer. How it plays out down the road with the newer, vested-from-Day 1 401k-style retirement plans may very well (probably will) be different. But it is clear Larrabee's defense rested on what people believed was true and not what the law says (or what the retirement system is set up to be).

I remember folks guffawing at Nelson DeMille's premise in his book "Word of Honor" (a superb book; movie adaptation good, but not nearly as great) because the recall to active duty thing seemed so ridiculous (even when the character in the book is recalled for something that occurred while on active duty). Nobody believed (or, I bet, believes today) that this long arm of the military exists...

This is a good read; urge every military retiree (or those interested in these matters) to take a full read-through. The article links to other articles that flesh out this subject.

Link: Military retirees can still be court-martialed, Supreme Court affirms

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