Comment: June 8, 1967, a Day of Infamy

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June 8, 1967, a Day of Infamy

June 8, 2013

To: All U.S. naval officers who serve as captain of U.S. naval surface or submarine vessels.

Subject: USS Liberty Remembrance Day.

To wit: The following is a list of seamen and Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their ship when deliberately and brutally attacked at sea by a hostile force in an act of war forty-six years ago today. As a former Navy petty officer, I honor their service and memory.

U.S. Navy personnel:

1. CT3 Allenbaugh, William B.
2. LCDR Armstrong, Philip M.
3. SN Blanchard, Gary R.
4. QM3 Brown, Francis
5. CT2 Campbell, Ronnie, J.
6. CT2 Converse, Jerry, L.
7. CT2 Eisenberg, Robert B.
8. CT3 Goss, Jerry, L.
9. CT1 Graves, Curtis, A.
10. CTSN Hayden, Lawrence, P.
11. CT1 Hersey, Warren, E.
12. CT3 Higgins, Alan
13. SN Hoar, Carl, L.
14. CT2 Keene, Richard, W.
15. CTSN Lenau, James, L.
16. CTC Linn, Raymond E.
17. CT1 Lupton, James, M.
18. CT3 Marggraf, Duane, R.
19. CTSN Marlborough, David, W.
20. CT2 Mendle, Anthony, P.
21. CTSN Nygren, Carl, C.
22. LT Pierce, James, C.
23. ICFN Skolak, David
24. CT1 Smith, John, Caleb
25. CTC Smith, Melvin, D.
26. PC2 Spicher, John C.
27. GMG3 Thompson, Alexander, N.
28. CT3 Thornton, Thomas R.
29. CT3 Tiedtke, Philippe, C.
30. LT Toth, Stephen S.
31. CT1 Walton, Frederick, J.

U.S. Marine Corps personnel:

1. SGT Raper, Jack, L.
2. CPL Rehmeyer, Edward, E.

American civilian personnel:

1. Blue, Allen M.

I ask you as acting captains, to never forget the atrocity put upon these men who gave their lives in service to our Navy and the American people.

I also ask you to remember you have the ultimate authority to take whatever measures necessary to defend your ship and crew from attack. You also have the right and duty to deliver assistance if such support is requested by the commanding officer or senior officer in charge of other vessels commissioned in the United States Navy who are under assault from any aggressor.

No senior officer or civilian authority above you may issue a command that is in direct conflict with the safety of your ship or for those others who you deem to be in immediate peril of loss of life at sea. Such an order is unlawful and shall not be obeyed.

Article 99 of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), sub-paragraphs (8) and (9):

“Any person subject to this chapter who before or in the presence of the enemy--
(8) willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy; or
(9) does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to any troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces belonging to the United States or their allies when engaged in battle;
shall be punished by death or such punishment as a court- martial may direct.”

Article 90 of the UCMJ says all orders are presumed to be lawful, and disobedience is at your own risk: "An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful, and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate. This inference does not apply to a patently illegal order, such as one that directs the commission of a crime."

It would be a crime not to defend your ship or another that is under attack by a hostile force, even if the President of United States told you otherwise.

“This is the captain speaking. . . “, words verbalized by the man or woman who wears the command-at-sea pin above their right shirt pocket. The senior officer who is looked up to by junior officers and enlisted servicemen serving aboard ship. The captain expects each of the crew to do their job. They in turn expect their captain to perform without fear of reprisal in the best interest of the ship, crew and other U.S. naval vessels needing help.

Here is a short quiz for your FITREP.

If you had the opportunity and means to render assistance to another ship that was under assault; what would you do?

1. Proceed with all haste to defend the vessel and crew under attack.
2. Check first with Washington and ask the bureaucrats for
permission.
3. Check first with the government attacking the ship for permission
to render aid.

Answered with number one? Congratulations; you have what it takes to be a leader in the U.S. Navy.

Answered with number two or three? You care more about your personal career and less about U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel and the ships that serve in the fleet. Resign your commission and run for political office; you’re a natural for currying favor with foreign governments and the nuances of funding your campaign with bribes (i.e., “contributions”).

Each year on this day this list will remind the citizens of each of these United States of the heroic sacrifice these men gave in service to our country. The complete and satisfactory resolution surrounding their demise has not been sufficiently addressed nor have the perpetrators of these crimes of murder been brought up on criminal charges. No apology, no thirty pieces of silver, no statute of limitations will wash away the blood of corruption that allowed this to happen.

We want justice for those thirty-four brave sailors and Marines who perished and the one hundred and seventy-four that were severely wounded in battle at the hand of a so called “ally”.

It is the least we can do for the remembrance of Captain McGonagle and the crew of the USS Liberty.