JAG-ged Edge
Trial Defense Services (TDS) Deployed
By: Andrew Efaw

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Friday, 7-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Random Ramblings

7 January 2005:

Today is a typical day in many respects. It is about 2100. I’ve worked a full day, mostly on organizing case files, handling the 5 (count ‘em five) more courts-martial that walked through the doors today, and chewing out one of clients who screwed up last night in his company. He almost blew our pre-trial deal which would’ve led to much more exposure for him when the day of reckoning comes. We now have about as many cases here as in Baghdad but with less than half the attorneys. But, hey, bring it. Anyway, after that full day, we are on our way 2 hours north to Navistar to drop off MAJ Schmitt so he can convoy north to Talil early tomorrow. I’ve been trying to coordinate this trip all week and everything was all set. Then at the last minute, I was told that to get him (a non-unit member) on the truck convoy, I had to get one star approval from the Transcom. So then it was a matter of tracking the general down. We finally got word about 2000 that we could do it. So here we are.

There are tons of stars here. I see at least two generals at every meal. I’ve even run into one a couple of times (literally at the coffee silver bullet—don’t stand betw. me and my java). This is the rear, so all the generals in charge of support units like Transcoms and Engineering Brigages are here. The funny thing is that the official organization in charge of Arifjan is CFLCC (pronounced C-flick) (Combine Forces Land Component Command). CFLCC’s command group is ASG-KU (Army Support Group-Kuwait) and they’re motto is “Always Forward.” Yeah, always forward of Atlanta maybe. They are definitely the rear. That’s why this place is so built up and why, I suspect, it is the place that VIPs tend to visit more than any other. One of the first days I was here, I saw one of the Senators from Missouri in the mess hall. Kitt Bond I think.

I’m getting fatter and fatter. I keep looking for new ways to eat less, but in place where you have the option of eating a cheeseburger and fries at every meal and where the cheeseburger is the best food available. And in a place where the dessert is really the only thing that tastes just like back home. Well, it results in fatness. So I am trying to exercise regularly—now that my schedule has evened out some. Yeah, right. I try to run a couple miles on the treadmill on one day and then run a 4 mile loop on the other days. I have this course that starts at the amnesty box outside my building and loops around from guard tower to guard tower around the outside of the camp and ends up at the amnesty box again. A couple of days ago, I was running out near the hospital and had a military ambulance speed up, stop, and block my way so that a hospital blackhawk could zoom in, dust swirling. Oh and if you are non-military and wondering what an amnesty box is, they are big red wooden boxes, surrounded by sandbags, with a mail-like slot on the front and they say amnesty. They are all over in theater and you see them at stateside posts sometimes too. Anyway, they are the Army’s solution to getting people to turn in contraband items, like ammo, grenades, drugs, etc. I know a guy who tried to turn in ammo a while ago and the arms room didn’t have record of issuing it, so he stuck it in the box. When I was about to run a couple of days ago, I look in the slot and there was an atopine injector stuck in it—which I shoved the rest of the way in. I saw a guy chucking something in there in the middle of the day the other day—not real bright. That’s an activity best conducted under the cover of darkness.

Mary, my erstwhile secretary from WTK, wrote and asked what exactly a 27D is. A 27D (say 27 delta) is the military equivalent of a paralegal/secretary. In its most basic form it is a soldier that has certain GT (roughly equivalent to IQ) score that has been through basic training and then has been to AIT (advanced individual training) for 10 weeks and 3 days, teaching them the fundamentals of justice military style. Beyond that, what you get is anyone’s guess. Some have a lot of rank and a lot of experience. Some have little rank and little experience. Some are motivated great soldiers. Some are something less than that. Our 27D is SPC Ellis, as I have mentioned before. He’s a baby 27D fresh out of AIT. But he has those key ingredients of being quick and being motivated. I have worked him like a stepchild and he keeps on keepin’ on. He does everything from give briefings on Article 15s to organizing my files to helping me interview witness. It’s not unusual for something to come up in a 32 that indicates that another witness may be involved. I’ll write him a note and he’ll charge off and interview the witness on the fly and bring us back the notes in court. A good Delta really is “combat multiplier”

Mark, I could tell you really liked me in a tiara. But I do not even know what some of those other accoutrements were that you were talking about, so . . . that whole thing seems to be much more your scene.

Terri, if it’s you keeping Mary under control instead of vice versa, we’re all in a great deal of trouble.

It’s well after 2200. We’re close to Navistar. Looks like I’ll see the beginning of another day before hitting the hay.

Thursday, 6-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Pics From Christmas

Wednesday, 5-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sand sand sand everywhere and not a drop to drink

You may be asking why pics of water bottles. Everywhere you go are water dumps where there are pallets of cases of water. The most common one is the Rawdaitan. Some people say it makes them sick, but I think people like the others just bec. they’re “exclusive.” The Abraaj is has picture of the official Kuwaiti shaped water towers. They don’t look like ones in the states. The look like funnels (no rounded top) and they are all painted with blue and white stripes. They actually look very artistic on this barren landscape.

Today I spent almost the whole day doing preparation for expert psychiatric testimony for an upcoming trial. WTK has prepared me well in that regard.
I did get to talk to Anastasia this morning while it was still her birthday.

Tuesday, 4-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

"Hard pressed on my right; my left is in retreat. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking. Attaquez!"
- General Ferdinand Foch (to General Joffre during Battle of the Marne)

Today was just one of those days. The network went down and stayed down, making working on the computers well nigh impossible. We managed to scavenge the day by taking a trip up to Camp Beuhring aka Udairi to interview witness in the sentencing case of a court-martial that we have coming up. Good thing we did too bec. as is often the case- what you hear from the witness is not what you’re expecting to hear. As you might recall, I’ve been to Beuhring before, but it was at night. In daylight, the place is even more desolate. It’s a huge staging area in the middle of nothingness. You turn off the highway, go 12 miles west and then 6 more north and then in the midst of featureless sand, you come to Beuhring. Met with some members of maintenance unit. They basically run a big junkyard/recovery operation. They have have offices set up in the back of 18 wheeler trailers—very cramped as you might imagine. They do the maintenance in big Quonset hut-shaped tents. The soldiers do their mechanics’ duties in OD coveralls. When night fell and it started getting cold, they kept warm by burning pallets in a barrel. It had the feel of shantytown. Got back late at night. Computers still weren’t up. Tried to call Anastasia bec. it was her birthday. But I missed her. My office sang happy birthday to her on our answering machine.

Monday, 3-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

03 January 04:

At midnight last night, we got back from picking up CPT Emery on her return from Baghdad. I stayed up until 0130 to make a call to a witness in one of my cases that had redeployed to Florida. Her dad had told me that she would be available at 0130 (5 p.m. FL time). So I stayed up and called and she was not there. Gotta love it.

This morning I got up just in time to go to Court for a 32 hearing. It appeared to be a pretty cut and dried larceny case. While I can’t get into the facts right now, let’s just say when the trial counsel asks that his star witness be read his rights the case suddenly looks better than it did.

I met an officer today from the 42nd ID which is going to be at FOB Speicher in Tikrit. I am supposed to be going the same place and am trying to get the 42nd to take some of my gear up there, so I can fly up unencumbered. I heard from the officer that FOB Speicher has been fairly quiet with the exception of some mortars on New Year’s Day. I also heard today that two of our TDS JAGs were in that mess hall in Mosul that was hit with the bomb about a week ago. They both took some shrapnel and are getting purple hearts.

Someone asked me recently if unfriendly witnesses and victims in courts-martial cases are willing to talk to us and do they have to? The short answer is yes. The rule is that the both sides must have equal access to all witnesses that the government has. The way that plays out is that we always get a chance to talk to the other sides witnesses. Usually there is no issue. You just say I am Major so and so and I need to speak to you about the so and so case and they say okay. I have seen instances when I was trial counsel where the one side told the judge that they had not had equal access to a witness. The MJ would stop the proceeding and say, “okay, how much time do you need?” Sometimes there is a wrinkle though—particularly with victims. I had a young JAG in my office a couple of weeks ago, insisting that since he was the Victim-Witness Liaison, he was entitled to be in my meeting with an alleged victim. I had to not so politely send him packing. Every once in a while, despite the side your on, you will want someone the victim knows in your meeting with you. But its your call, not the other sides. Sometimes you want to get to the witness first to lock in testimony. Sometimes, you want to get there last and develop testimony, counting on being more thorough than the other side and gaining the advantage of the “last word.” And, of course, you can’t control the candidness of a witness. For instance, CID usually is very tightlipped with the Defense but not so with the TC. Those are all things you have factor in.

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