Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Final Word on Courts-Martial for Retirees

In a previous post I discussed the folly of recalling retired generals to prosecute them under the UCMJ for criticizing the Secretary of Defense. I still stand by my position that it's a bad idea, but I ran across an interesting item that should settle the debate about whether it can be done.

And the answer is, for the Navy at least, been there, done that. From Wikipedia:

Selden G. Hooper (25 December 1904 – 7 February 1976) was the only Admiral of the United States Navy to be convicted by court-martial.

Hooper was the commissioning commanding officer of the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Uhlmann (DD-687).

In U.S. V. Hooper, 26 CMR 417 (CMA, 1958), Hooper was tried by general court-martial for sodomy, conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. Hooper had retired as a Rear Admiral in 1950, and the acts for which he was tried were committed after he had retired. The defence questioned the military court's jurisdiction, but the court explained that "retired personnel are a part of the land or naval forces." The military retiree, then, is not simply a civilian. The court held that the admiral was "a part of the military forces of this country." He was described as "an officer of the Navy of the United States, entitled to wear the uniform and to draw pay as such." He was convicted and sentenced to dismissal and total forfeitures.

Hooper was the only flag officer of the US Navy to be convicted by court-martial, and strictly speaking, the only Navy flag officer to ever be tried by court-martial. In 1995 Everett L. Greene was acquitted of sexual harassment and other related charges; he had been selected for promotion to Rear Admiral but was still a Captain when he was tried.
Q.E.D. To paraphrase the court, so long as you take the King's shilling, you're the King's Man. Now, can we please get back to more important things?

Oh, by the way, I've updated the Milblogger's Rules to reflect the vulnerability of retirees.