Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hats off to Bob Bateman

This appeared in AOL News today. It's sad that his spot on OpEd isn't being printed in every major media outlet in the land.

My sincerest and most enthusiastic cheers to Bob.


P.S. But then for every step forward, there comes someone who wants to take two steps back!

Might I add the words of an Officer's Commission from the President.

To all who shall see these presents, greetings:
Know ye that reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity
and abilities of _____________________________, I do appoint (him/her) a ____________________ in the United States Army.

To rank as such from the ______________ day of ____________, two thousand and _____________This officer will therefore carefully and diligently discharge the duties of the office to which appointed by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging.

And I do strictly charge and require those officers and other personnel of lesser rank to render such obedience as is due an officer of this grade and position. And, this officer is to observe and follow such orders and directions from time to time; as may be given by the President of the United States of America or other superior officers, acting in accordance with the laws of the United States of America.
This commission is to continue in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States of America, under the provisions of those public laws relating to officers of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and the component thereof in which this appointment is made.

Done at the City of Washington this ____________ day of ___________ in the year of our Lord, two thousand and _____and of the Independence of the United States of America the _________________________

By the President: (Signatures of the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army)

A lot is written about our Oath of Office, but ever so little about the Presidential Commission that makes us officers in the US Military. Without the above, issued by the President and signed by his duly authorized representative and with the concurrence of Congress, no one is an officer in the US Armed Forces. In fact, the Oath of Office is just one of the requirements to receive a Commission. A very important and solemn requirement, but the Oath alone is insufficient to be an officer.

After six years in the Marine Corps, where every promotion was done in a public formation, and included reading the Commission (for Officers) or a very similarly worded Warrant (for Enlisted) for each person being promoted, I found the Army practice of typically just reading the brief promotion order sorely lacking. Why? Because if one carefully reads the Commission above, it is a public proclamation, not just to the Officer/Enlisted person being appointed, but to every service member senior and junior to him or her. I also found the practice of "private" promotions ceremonies quite odd, as no promotion is private. It effects the entire military.

Once I rose to company command, I would have a DD Form 1A (Commission) prepared for every officer receiving a promotion, or an equivalent Warrant for Warrant Officers (prior to the time where they became Commissioned Officers). Fully appropriate and authorized by law and regulation, but a practice that was not done. The Forms were always on hand at our servicing publications office, complete with the current Sec Army and Chief of Staff signatures, and never issued, except for "souvenirs" at initial commissioning. Since the Army did not have "Appointment Warrants" for enlisted personnel, I simply had a modified version of a Marine Enlisted Appointment Warrant read in lieu of simply the promotion order. I continued this practice through to retirement whenever I commanded or as a subordinate, could influence my commander. Further, I never conducted a "private" promotion ceremony, nor allowed subordinate commanders to do so. A few of my subordinate commanders continued the practice through their careers. Further, I made a review and discussion of our Oath and Commission a part of my regular mentoring of my subordinate officers, and expected them to do the same.

The Oath of Office and Commission tell the Officer and all service members quite clearly what their service is all about. Sadly, they seem to be seen, at least in the Army in which I served, as one time inoculations, simple job requirements or souvenirs. Every Marine I served with was able, after a year of service, to recite the words of a Commission or Warrant from memory. They were a part of our very existence. And important words they are.

Obviously, Bob Bateman agrees, at least in concept, and LTC Terrence Lakin does not.


  1. "We who carry arms and fight the nation's wars do not serve the Republicans, and we do not serve the Democrats. We serve at the direction of the president, be that Reagan, Bush, Clinton or Obama. We serve with the authorities granted to us by the people as represented by the body of Congress, regardless of which party is in power.

    We who do the fighting for the nation swear our oath, unique among the armed forces of the nations, not to a king or to a political body or to a political leader. We swear an oath to a document and to the ideas contained therein. My oath is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

    This part seems to be inconsistent. I first thought "Oo, allegiance to a person is not good" and then he told about the oath.

    Allegiance to a person is not advisable. Let me just mention that other nations had poor experience with that.

  2. Sven-

    We serve at the direction of the president

    "At the direction" does not mean we serve the president. In the commission that is issued to all officers upon taking the Oath of Office, is is clear stated that we are to obey the lawful orders of whoever may be serving as president, not just the president who commissioned us.

    One practice common in my earliest days in service in the Marine Corps was the reading of the Appointment Warrant (Enlisted) or the Commission (Officers) at every promotion formation. What many do not realize is that these documents are public proclamations addressed not just to the individual being promoted/appointed, but to all service members. These are our "marching orders", and it is very clear that we are charged to obey the lawful orders of the president, no matter who it may be. Indeed, in the Officer's Commission, which is a presidential appointment, it is explicit that the commission binds us not just to the orders of the president who commissions us, but to anyone "who from time to time" serves as president. In short, we are not political appointments, but constitutional appointments.

    Sadly, this has been lost over the years, often with great encouragement from our elected officials. One of Rumsfeld's objectives was to make the flag officer ranks clear political appointments of a given administration. He was open about this and offered proposed legislation to that end on two occasions. Fortunately, Congress, in one of its rare and more rational moments, sent him packing.

    While clowns like Oliver North might stand up before Congress and the public and say he worked for the person (Ronald Regan), every law and document pertaining to military service binds us to support and defend the Constitution, and to obey the lawful orders of those appointed over us - by position, not by name. Been that way since the start.

  3. Was that also true of "Wood's Weary Walkers"?

    Did they bind to the president and not to Colonel Leonard Wood?

  4. Ael-

    A serving member of the US military is "bound" to no one. They are sworn to support and defend the Constitution and either sworn (enlisted) or commissioned (officers) to obey the lawful orders of the superiors appointed over them, up to and including the President. Being "bound" degenerates quite easily into personalities, which can readily result in a conflict. While it does indeed happen, it is neither encouraged nor condoned.

    The "birther" LTC is challenging the legality of the President's orders by claiming he has not seen a birth certificate acceptable to him and thus is refusing to obey the orders to deploy. Every serving member has the right to question the legality of an order. However that right is not a defense should the disobeyed order be found to be lawful. I have no idea what is driving this lunatic, but I would bet that it is partisan politics. Exactly what LTC Bateman is speaking out against.

    This is not the first attempt by the right wing to use the military to assist to nullify a presidential election. During the Clinton impeachment process, the GOP House Managers wanted to call the military service chiefs to testify whether the President's behavior had led those in uniform to be less likely to obey a presidential order. Fortunately, someone figured out that such a question was not germane to the guilt or innocence of the president, so we were spared the agony of what such a question might have elicited.

  5. Aviator,
    I understand what you are saying.
    What I was wondering (and I really don't know the answer) was whether the volunteer regiments (for example Roosevelt's Rough Riders) officers were given Presidential Commissions.

  6. Ael-

    IIRC, the Rough Riders as well as the two other volunteer cavalry units were federal troops, and thus the appointment of officers would have been either by commission or brevet. It was not a militia unit.

  7. Your memory doesn't fail, Al. The three volunteer regiments were activated in the Army Reserve. The Rough Riders were commanded by Leonard Wood, who was an RA colonel (doctor). Theodore Roosevelt was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, served as deputy commander and was subsequently promoted to colonel after his heroics at San Juan Hill.

    After the war, the officers resigned and the enlisted personnel were discharged. WRT the enlisted men, one supposes their term of service was handled in a similar fashion as to how enlisted matters were handled in WW2, i.e., "duration plus six (months)."

    Roosevelt is one of my favorite Americans. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor after San Juan Hill, but because the president and secretary or war were perturbed by some public statements he'd made about Army logistics, he was denied the medal. It was finally awarded in 2001, more than 66 years after his son, Brigadier General T. Roosevelt, Jr., had won his MOH at Normandy. Roosevelt Senior is also the only person to have ever been awarded the MOH as well as the Noble Peace Prize. Interesting juxtaposition of awards, eh?

    And from the deja vu all over again department, the primary plank of the Progressive Party, formed by Roosevelt in 1912, was "To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." Roosevelt and his adherents tarred both Democrats (Wilson) and Republicans (Taft) with this brush. Imagine having a T. Roosevelt in the public arena today.

    WRT the post on Bob Bateman, very well done, by you and by Bob. He used to frequent Phil Carter's site and some others, but I don't see him much anymore. That's a shame because he along with Gian Gentile and a few other active officers really do walk the walk and keep the faith. Too few of them, IMO, to keep the system honest. Bateman's right, of course: there is a noxious odor lingering around the military these days.

  8. Publius: He was nominated for the Medal of Honor after San Juan Hill, but because the president and secretary or war were perturbed by some public statements he'd made about Army logistics, he was denied the medal.

    And, of course, he was vindicated in the short run when the War Department was seriously reorganized at the turn of the century, as a result of the logistics problems he bemoaned, not to mention the other dysfunction the system of virtually independent "Bureaus" created.

    Back to LTC Lakin - one has to wonder if this guy is a whack job or has been pimped to make this bizarre challenge. Things do happen quickly nowadays, but his "defense fund" is up and running as well as a variety of other support groups aligned specifically with his particular case. My hope is that he is swiftly and mercilessly prosecuted - without regard to mollifying any political movements afield in the country. To do any soft shoe or tap dance around this clown only further politicizes the armed forces.

  9. Yes, LTC Lakin must be made an example and court-martialed. They swept 1LT Watada under the rug - they should not with LTC Lakin.

    Al, I doubt he was "pimped" for anything. The sudden support reminds me of that "Joe the Plumber" guy - one of those instant heroes to some faction or another.

    So far it looks like the military will prosecute this guy, which is a good thing.

  10. Andy-

    Having had my attitude poisoned way back in 1978 by learning that the "Singlaub Affair" had the backing of key GOP congress-critters, I've had a jaundiced view of this kind of crap.

    I truly hope this idiot did it in a vacuum.

  11. Andy and/or bg-

    In his letter to the President, Lakin states, "My orders included a requirement to bring copies of my birth certificate." This is new to me, as this information was required prior to his commissioning and is in his military records. He was commissioned while I was still serving, and I was very familiar with commissioning requirements.

    Further, the only time I need to provide a birth certificate to "deploy" was to obtain a passport, and that was because I was not deploying as such, but would be traveling as an individual on official government business. But then, things may have changed since my time.

    Can either of you offer any insight into the veracity of the requirement for a birth certificate?

    If you have not read his letter, an alleged copy can be found at the link below. He has basically thrown the gauntlet in his commander's face on the basis of some very tenuous claims.

  12. To all,
    Since we are required to provide birth certificates to get replacement drivers licences these days, per US mandate, then why is not reasonable to see Obamas birth certifcate.?
    He is after all a citizen in a public venue, and we do have the right to see this crummy little piece of paper.What's the big deal- i'll show him mine.

  13. Al,

    In all the times I've deployed I've never needed my birth certificate. The most recent deployment for me (outside of conus) was in 2005. The only times I remember showing my birth certificate was when I first inprocessed the Navy in 1993 and again in 2000 when I transitioned to the Air Force Reserve. Furthermore, I've never seen anything on any set of military orders about a birth certificate.

    What's possible is that his certificate might be required as part of the outprocessing process before deployment. Deployers have a bunch of hoops to jump through that require some paperwork and his unit might require their people to have their certificates handy just in case it's needed for something, but even this seems unlikely to me.


    His birth certificate has been released. It's the state-issued certificate that anyone who requests an official copy gets. There's no such thing as an "original." Even the certificates issued at birth are simply official forms with the requisite information. Here's a copy if you want to see it.


  14. I have no idea of what current "law" is, but my "hospital birth certificate" has been rejected as proof of birth since I first tried to use it when I enlisted in the Corps in 1960. I had to get a "Certificate of Registration of Birth" from the City of New York. Once, at a later time, thinking the Corps was just being "The Corps", I tried to use the hospital certificate to get my first passport, and again was sent packing.

    This is all a ration of horse-puckey, but the penultimate conspiracy theory. Obama's parents knew he was going to run for president and faked his birth records from the moment he exited the womb.

  15. Andy's link to Snopes doesn't work, but if you go to and then select the political link, you'll find links to Obama's birth certificate. It sure looks legit to me, but then what do I know? Actually, Snopes also has some more compelling evidence of Obama's birth in Oahu, namely a copy of the birth listings from the Hono paper of that day. Snopes also has a link to an interview of a lady who recalls discussing Obama's birth at the time with the now deceased OB doc. Yeah, birth certificates can be forged—although it seems the entire Hawaii public records outfit would have to be in on the conspiracy—but contemporaneous accounts from actual witnesses and newspaper archives are a whole 'nother animal.

    These certificates are tricky. They vary from state to state. I'm not exactly sure how Al's hospital birth certificate might differ from the NY City certificate. In fact, I'm not even sure what a "hospital certificate" is. In my case, I always had an old ugly black notarized copy of the hospital certificate, which was in fact an LA county certificate, and that sufficed for military, passports, etc. It's since been replaced by a nifty new certificate from LA county. My daughter was born in Dewitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir, VA and the "hospital certificate" was also a state certificate. We used it to get her passport when we moved overseas when she was three, and she's used it ever since for new passport and employment purposes.

    Bottom line is that in my experience, the hospital issues the official certificate. In other words, the parents don't need to go down to the city or county and get one. So why Al's "hospital certificate" wasn't good enough is beyond me. The only thing I can think of is that it might have been one of those documents with the baby's footprint that used to be in vogue. My wife has one of those, but that's not what she used to get a passport.

    And then there's marriage. I was married in San Gabriel, CA (Los Angeles County). I used some kind of official looking thing signed by the officiating priest and a couple of witnesses to get my bride a dependent ID card. That sufficed for years, but at some point after we'd already been married for 30 or so years, I had to write LA county and get an "official" certificate to renew her ID card. Guess they tightened up.

    "Birthers" are paranoid ignoramuses and I fully expect to see this lieutenant colonel sent packing. He won't get jail time, but if he's shit-canned and can't get retirement (I saw where he's got 18 years in), I'm OK with that. Of course, we'll have to live with him being a "martyr" out there in his own little community. Look for him to make some appearances with Sarah Palin.

  16. Oh, yeah, something else about Obama. While he was in the Senate, he was on the Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees. Even though he wasn't a heavy hitter, I'd be surprised if he didn't have at least a Secret clearance. The point here is that even though my dog can get a Secret clearance—I mean, we're not talking high standards here—he can't do so unless he's a U.S. citizen.

    The Secret clearance process relies heavily on agency checks, namely, FBI, State, CIA, INS, state criminal and birth, etc., all aimed at establishing that the person is honest, brave, trustworthy, etc., etc. So if Obama WASN'T actually born in Hawaii (the U.S.), to get a clearance, he'd have to have a naturalization certificate.

    If Obama was cleared while he was in the Senate—and I frankly don't know if he was or not—then the U.S. Government was satisfied that he was a citizen, native or naturalized. The government doesn't care about that native or naturalized distinction when it comes to clearances, but it's very important when it comes to the presidency, the only office requiring a "natural born" citizen. And, yeah, we would have heard about it if (1) Obama couldn't be cleared because he wasn't a citizen; or, (2) he was cleared, based on a naturalization certificate.

  17. Lakin wrote: An original birth certificate is the underlying document that presumably includes a hospital and attending physician's or midwife's name that should lay to rest the "natural born" dispute.

    The oldest "acceptable" certificate I have that was issued for me by the city of NY back in the 40's (five years after my birth, by the way) does not show that information. On the back, however, there is a citation of the applicable law for the recording of vital statistics and a quote that the certificate is a "prima facie record" of my birth and carries the "full force" of an original or certified copy of same.

    There are 50 states and lord knows how many counties and municipalities that define how births are to be officially recorded. That's one of the wonderful aspects of our bizarre form of government - everybody is on their own sheet of music. There is no mandated single format for a birth record. Just something which identifies date and place (and not necessarily the hospital) of birth, along with the identities of the parents, if known. What Lakin is demanding, goes far beyond any aspects of the law and or "universal custom", and to be universally applied, would be as a result of what birthers absolutely reject - a federally imposed method of record keeping.

    But beyond that, his letter is simply arrogant and insubordinate, no less a clear indication that he is not a competent interpreter of the law. Makes one wonder if he regularly oversteps his abilities in his practice of medicine.

    Oh, how we need a return to the Physician Draft.

  18. Publius,
    I have no respect for the security clearances of politicoes.
    Sure O musta had a clearance, but so did the drug users in the Clinton White House. Didn't Mel Martinez have a clearance as a Senator without a US birf cert?
    These clearances are a joke. As always-them and us.

  19. Al,

    I have no idea what he is talking regarding bringing a birth certificate. That isn't standard and I've never seen it. It sounds like he is an individual augmentee, and perhaps he needed it as part of an inprocessing regarding his status as a surgeon and medical license? That is the only thing I can imagine and that doesn't even make any sense at all.

    I wonder if this guy and the other "birthers" would be crying if it was Arnold that was running or elected President as a Rep.

  20. bg-

    I never saw it either, but I thought times might have changed. I've run units and individual augmentees through POM for at least 5 countries, both PCS and exercise deployments, and never was a birth certificate required. Our personnel records contain that information.

    Second. A US birth certificate is meaningless outside the US. It is not a form of identification in the US or elsewhere, even though it is often needed to obtain identification in the US. (Talk about Catch 22)

    Now, some overzealous local pencil head may have put it on a POM checklist, but even that's hard to conceive.

    I have read his letter a couple of times, and it is nothing but Birther Movement talking points. I wonder if he got so carried away with his fantasies that he falsely claimed he was required to present his birth certificate? If so, his letter to the Pres is just more evidence against him.

    It's a bizarre event.

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