OFFICE OF THE STAFF JUDGE ADVOCATE UNITED STATES DIVISION - CENTER
ıron advocate MARCH 2010
Th e sta ff judg e advocate LTC IAN COREY Dear family and friends, What a month! We have literally had front row seats to a major event in the history of Iraq: the 2010 national elections. While many were on pins and needles in the days leading up to and during the election itself, the consensus is that election day was very successful – LTC Wells discusses this in greater detail. People were again apprehensive about what might happen in response to the release of the election results. Officials re cently released those results. We learned that former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc of parties narrowly edged out Prime Minister Maliki’s State of Law bloc in terms of number of seats won in the Council of Representatives (parliament). So far so good, however. While Maliki and his supporters are seeking a recount, Iraq has been quite peaceful. Hopefully that will continue to be the case. March also brought the rotation of our higher headquarters. We said goodbye to COL Jeff McKitrick and his I Corps team as they headed back to Fort Lewis, WA, and welcomed COL Stu Risch and the III Corps OSJA from Fort Hood, TX. Both are great organizations. We appreciate all the support from I Corps and look forward to working with III Corps. I’m proud to report that the Division Special Troops Battalion selected yet another of our outstanding paralegals, PFC Tamika Tutt, as hero of the week for the fantastic work she has done in the military justice section. In that vein, your Soldiers continue to receive kudos for their tremendous legal support, from outstanding legal assistance to Soldiers in remote locations, to quick processing of disciplinary actions, to thorough reviews of fund expenditures, to responsive advice to investigating officers, to insightful input on operational legal matters. MSG Chouinard and I were finally able to visit the 1/3 Falcon legal team on the south side of Baghdad, led by MAJ Steve Ranieri and SFC Keisha Alvarenga. They are highly motivated and doing a great job. Over the next few weeks we will bid farewell to the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade team as they end their year in Iraq and return to Fort Hood. It has been a real pleasure to work with CPT Josh Smith and SFC Gina OnestoPerson, and their terrific organization. Thanks for all your hard work and support. Your Soldiers work hard, but we also make time to have some fun. This month the Contract and Fiscal Law section planned a barbecue and volley ball tournament—on the one day it rained. We still had fun with a movie night instead. We miss you but the days continue to pass quickly—it’s hard to believe we are already closing in on 90 days. Some Soldiers will also start taking rest and recuperation (R&R) leave in the coming weeks for some welldeserved time off. As always, thank you for your continued support and encouragement. Iron Soldiers – Army Strong!
SSG Danielle Lagano—21 March (Military Justice)
Another SSG Christy Article?
MAJ Kevin McCarthy—27 March (RearD OIC)
Desk Surfing w/ eyepro
F ro m t h e C o m m a n d Pa r a l e g a l N C O MSG CHRISTOPHER CHOUINARD Okay, so I have been a bit wordy for the past two articles. But, there is quite a bit to say. So much information is out there that needs to be shared with the families back home. In a promise to the human eating machine at the bottom of the page, I’ll keep it brief this month so he can talk more about the food at the dining facility.
take place in the next few months. Don’t be surprised if your loved ones return a few pounds lighter and in a bit bet ter shape. There are also plenty of educational opportu nities and professional devel opment courses that your para legals can take. So, they do keep quite busy.
You ask, what is there to do in our down time. Nearly all of us would say, “What down time?” If there is any time to ourselves most of us focus on reading, watching movies, going to the gym or running. Given any amount of time the MWR gives us plenty of avenues of escape from the reality that is Iraq. Earlier this month, LTC Corey was able to unwind to the soothing sounds of Five Finger Death Punch. I Thanks again for the continued can see you all shrugging your shoulders and furrowing your brow in a support. You are always in quizzical look. But, if it helps our fearless leader unwind, I’m all for it. our thoughts and prayers. There are many 5k, 10k and 20k races that have taken place and will Iron Soldiers. Army Strong.
F RO M T H E D E P U T Y S TA F F J U D G E A DVO C AT E LTC WARREN WELLS March has been a busy month for the USDC Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. We began with final preparations for the sec ondever Iraqi national elections. Election day morn ing dawned with the sound of explosions. The booms woke many of us and worried us. So many good people, Iraqi and American, had done so much to make this event a safe
and secure one. Many of you watched the reports on television. We were all relieved to learn that most of the explosions were plastic bottle explosives – lots of bark, but little bite – and their morning ignitions failed to intimidate the people from pouring into the polling places that afternoon. As we gathered for a final daily update briefing, it was evident that the elections were a success despite the efforts of freedomdespising terrorists. Everyone here knew that we had helped Iraq at a historic moment. Since that time, Oplaw has been helping draft plans for future operations designed to stabilize the country and draw down the force; Military Justice has been helping commanders en force discipline and preparing for several
trials; Client Services has been figuring out ways to help settle claims and traveling to small outposts to counsel Soldiers with legal problems; Adlaw has been helping investi gating officers find facts that will improve Army and unit performance; and Contract/ Fiscal Law has been reviewing lots of con tracts aimed at helping the Iraqi government provide services to its people. Everyone is working hard. Every member of our team is important. Everyone knows that if we can leave Iraq better than we found it, we can leave with a legitimate hope that this nation can flourish some day. We appreciate your support and prayers for us as we serve the men and women of our Army and of Iraq.
F ro m T h e L e g a l A d m i n i s t r ato r CW2 CRAIG PEEL This month I would like to update you on something but rather an article to inform the folks at home that we that plagues us all – Coffee Snobs. When we first ar rived in Iraq, the 1st Cavalry folks left us a pink coffee pot to help us out. The pink coffee pot was very appre ciated even with the many questions directed our way, producing the standard response of “Yes, it’s pink.” A few weeks into the deployment however, the love for the pink coffee pot depreciated due to the arrival of a French Press. The coffee pot was still used on occasion but its usefulness was on the decline. Then a New Yorker (Long Islander?) showed up with a Tassimo and the coffee pot is now collecting dust. Sorry I digress, this is not a tear jerking story of a forgotten coffee pot
are caffeinated and awake enough to get the job done. Yes, we have evolved to drinking some caffeinated brews from the best fresh ground beans. We continue to work long hours and remain busy. Rest assured that we do so with a refined palate and our pinky fingers raised. Take pride in the fact that regard less of how long and lonely our days down range are we still maintain standards at all times. Thanks again for all your love and support and sleep well knowing that we won’t fall asleep on our watch.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF...
Life on the doc floor By spc maili fuller
When you think of a deployed Army paralegal, what comes to your mind? A happy Soldier typing away, enjoying the morning sun in their quiet, clean, organized office while sipping on a White Chocolate Mocha Double Latte from Green Beans Coffee Shop? Snap out of it! Welcome to reality, the truth, the REAL Army. This is your introduction to a paralegal’s life on the Division Operation Center (DOC) floor. First, enjoying the morning sun is a relative concept. Whether you work day shift or night shift, your glimpse of the sun only lasts a few precious moments, if any. You either come to work before sunrise or just at sunset. Second, the DOC floor is all but a quiet, com fortable, easy work space. Whether it’s the multiple ringing of phones, the hundred individ ual conversations, or the dissonant keyboard pecking, the room is constantly filled with noise. And there is always someone trying to talk over the whole room. No one however beats what’shisface, the proud overhang of the DOC floor. With coffee cup in hand, he’s con stantly yelling, “What’s the status on this?!!” Additionally, my office is no way near clean or organized. Imagine if you can the room I’m about to describe. As you walk through a set of double doors, you are greeted by a BIG white room. To your right, there are three enormous TV screens with live video feed of surrounding areas. The screens provide around the clock
(24hours) surveillance. It’s like watching a really bad episode of the “World’s Worst Police Car Chases” on repeat. To your left are rows and rows of staggered wooded workstations filled with Soldiers working away on multiple computers. The staggered rows remind you of those old bleachers from high school, except here each level is staggered so high you cannot see below or behind you. Of course it’s works perfectly for viewing the screens. No one’s big head in is your way. Working on the DOC floor is not an easy job. Professionalism is a must, and the work itself is very tedious and involved. It is a multitask job where you are the “voice” of your section. Completing daily tasks in a timely order and manner is challenging with constant research projects, reports, and briefs. While the DOC floor is not a perfect dreamy place to work, it’s not that bad either. Don’t get me wrong. There are many annoying things from the constant ringing of phones, smell of coffee and energy drinks, or mixed personalities of the many Sol diers. But overall, working on the DOC floor is great. It ensures you will never have a dull day. Working close together in one big room allows you to meet new people and form great rela tionships. It also provides a great audience for amateur standup comics. Being able to make the whole room laugh is not an easy task, but somehow someone everyday pulls it off and keeps morale high. I must admit, some of the
SPC Maili Fuller laughter is caused by OSJA. Between SPC Waybright’s quickwitted responses and my now famous Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet, every day we contribute to the smiles. The old saying that “Your day is what you make of it,” really sticks here. You must come in every day knowing that it’s going to be a good day. You never know what is going to happen, from the time you arrive until seconds before you leave. It truly makes you think about life and want to live it to the fullest love your brothers and sisters in arms, and laugh every chance you get. Otherwise, life would be just miserable. And who wants that?
AL ASAD, Paradise of iraq By SGT Geoffrey teza
they’re a rip off ($5/movie). We also have the usual AAFES ex change, carpet and jewelry shops, and a food court, complete with Cinnabon, Pizza Hut, Burger King, and KFC. These are not what makes Al Asad paradise though. This base which is known for its historic references to Abraham stop ping at an oasis here (a natural Since I’ve arrived here, a lot of my time has been spent getting the spring), is also where the Baath word of my existence spread out around the base, and doing everything Party tried to establish a “super” airbase and stocked it up with a I could to establish a base legal office in a new location months after outdoor stadium and an indoor the Marines’ legal office closed its doors. With the help of CPT Sud deth (Chief of Client Services), the Navy Judge Advocates at the Base Olympicsize swimming pool, all of Command Group, and the rest of the 1AD Soldiers already on Al Asad, which are still being used by the I was able to get everything I needed, which then gave me the opportu occupants of Al Asad. Combine all of that with the Wifi and free AFN nity to enjoy all the amenities that my new home had to offer. in the rooms, and this is by far the Like other bases throughout Iraq, I have a vast variety of Iraqi and best deployment experience I’ve had to Turkish shops, although I don’t suggest the movies to anyone since date. Although the title of this article may sound fairly sarcastic, it is actu ally not what it seems. As this is my third deployment, and my first with 1st AD, I’ve seen my fair share of the bases in Iraq, from large bases such as Speicher or Victory Base Complex, to the smaller FOBs, Patrol Bases, and safe houses, some of which were so small that that the entire compound was within a single building. Now, 6 years after my first deployment, and thanks to the mission requirements of setting up a new client services office in Al Asad, I’ve had the fortune (although some would call it misfortune), to be stationed at Al Asad.
SGT Geoffrey Teza
THE “TO DO” LIST
Fitness opportunities in iraq By msg Christopher chouinard
ter and 20 kilometer races. The runs are a great way to stay in top cardiorespiratory shape as well as a way to pad the wardrobe with race T shirts. Our fearless leader, LTC Corey, moti vates us all to get out and participate. Many of our SJA fitness fanatics take advan tage of a “Rocky Balboa” type gym which we call “The Iron Gym.” The gym is stocked with freeweights, Nautilus machines, treadmills, stairclimbers and stationary bikes. A cardio room offers the opportunity to participate in CPT Kevin “Do I look Huge?” Ley CrossFit and boxing classes. It is not uncom mon to find our attorneys and paralegals taking In this little corner of the world, the primary advantage of these facilities to “pump” them focus of the 1ST Armored Division Office of the selves up, Arnold style! CPT Ley has been Staff Judge Advocate is to assist the Iraqi peo down to the supply room begging for bigger ple to take the reins of a brand new democracy. uniforms and pleading with the supply sergeant With little time for anything outside of our primary mission, it can be difficult to set aside that the only size he can fit into is “Double ExtraHuge.” time to maintain our physical fitness. Even though most of our OSJA staff is working 12 to 18 hour days, opportunities to maintain fitness Routinely throughout the course of this past month, the Iron Gym conducted contests to test present themselves on a daily basis. the strength and endurance of anyone that was Since our arrival in January, the Morale, willing to answer the challenge. Males and Welfare and Recreation office at Camp Liberty females alike had the opportunity to participate has played a vital role in providing outlets for in a bench press competition. The males were maintaining our fighting edge. Throughout the challenged to lift a collective 10,000 pounds in course of the last three months our office has as little time as possible and the females were actively participated in 5 kilometer, 10 kilome
challenged to lift a collective 5,000 pounds. We didn’t have anyone from the office par ticipate, but look at the amazing improvements that CW2 Peel has made in the past month! Just to think, a couple months ago he would have crumbled under this weight. There are many different opportunities that give each of us unique ways of getting into the best shape of our lives. As long as we have the desire and initiative to meet our goals, the pro grams offered will provide the way. Now get out there and RUN!!
CW2 Craig “The Grinch” Peel
Education opportunities by spc Daniel waybright
While being deployed doesn’t necessarily equate to a reduced work load, there still is ample time to further one’s education. GoArmyEd offers numerous opportunities for deployed legal folk, both Enlisted and Officer, to advance their education via online courses. Based on your current level of education, however, some restrictions may apply. One restriction to note is that Officers must incur a two year Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) after the completion of a Tuition Assistance funded course.
most military MOSs, and it is all online. Not only will it increase your base knowledge, but you can walk away with a greater under standing of what your fellow Soldiers are doing! The completion of 1000 credit hours will max promotion points in the Military Education category. For Enlisted starting out, be aware that completion of an entire module may soon be required before those hours count toward promotion points. Me
As for me, I am taking advantage of both. I have been racking up correspondence course hours at an abnormal rate for promotion points, and recently signed up for two courses (part of a five course series) In addition to obtaining a degree, Soldiers can also become licensed. that offer Microsoft System Administrator Certifications. A bonus that comes with the college courses is an iTouch GoArmyEd offers courses that provide state education credentialing (such as teaching, administration and supervision, or support services) that is yours to keep after successfully complet to teach in the US public school system. Best part of all – it’s open to ing them. With a free iTouch in the air, there everyone. So, for any and all aspiring to teach the Nation’s youth, here were multiple inquiries into the certification is your chance to get a “leg up” and start the ball rolling! courses and restrictions on enrolling. And the answer: it is open to all OSJA members! So Professional what are you waiting for? Sign up today! Correspondence courses are a great way to expand your military knowledge and skill set. GoArmyEd offers various coursework for
WHAT’S NEW? LAO on the go By cpt will suddeth
Greetings from the travelers of the OSJA! The legal assistance office is getting in the frequent flyer miles. A combat brigade stuck out away from the division has many hats to wear: military justice, administra tive law, operational law, contract and fiscal law, and legal assistance. Because some of the units do not have enough attorneys to meet their mission, we at 1st Armored Division are helping fill the gaps.
know when we might be camp ing out in the passenger termi nal, such as it is! We have all gotten in day trips recently or even overnight trips (some of them unplanned!). One recent Everyone in the office has gotten a chance to get away from Camp sandstorm out west was like Liberty and see new some places. Although a lot of the places look the something from a movie – same, many FOBs have their unique quality that makes them very trees bent by the blowing different. wind, sand so thick you could Travelling can be difficult at times due to frequent sandstorms that n’t see twenty feet in front of blow in and shut down visibility for hours or days. It only takes a you, and a few moments out in small sandstorm to slow the traveling down for a bit, so we all try to the weather left uniform and pack snacks, toiletries and clean clothes even for day trips. You never face covered in reddish dust.
CPT Will Suddeth
Al faw palace By ssg daniele lagano
When you think of Camp Victory, the first picture that comes to for hundreds of years. mind for most people is the Al Faw Palace, which serves as the Once you enter the palace, there is a huge rotunda. The chandelier headquarters for United States ForcesIraq (USFI). On 28 February is the focal point of the rotunda. Being in a palace, you would expect 2010, 8 members of the legal team went on a tour of the Al Faw Palace. that the chandelier is made of crystal, but it is actually just plastic and We arrived at the palace and met up with our tour guide, SSG Grant, glass. Also in the rotunda is a chair that was given to Saddam Hussein from Camp Victory MWR. by Yasser Arafat. This chair is one almost every visitor to the palace The palace sits in the middle of one of the large lakes on Camp has their picture taken in, and we were no exception. Victory. To fill this lake Saddam turned off the water to the city of Baghdad for three days. Once the lakes were filled, the water was turned back on. The water level is now maintained by a pipeline off the Tigris River. The first thing we got to see on our tour was the huge fish in the lake that surrounds the palace. The lake is filled with Tigris Salmon and carp. The fish swim right to the wall of the walkway, and it seems all visitors to the palace stop to feed them, which accounts for their From Left—Rubble behind the marble tiles in the palace, the size. The photo below was provided by our tour guide, it was of a chandelier, the author and her husband in the Arafat chair Tigris Salmon pulled from one of the lakes here on the Victory Complex. During the tour we learned the very interesting history of the palace told to us by SSG Grant. The Al Faw Palace is one of 89 palaces that Saddam Hussein had, and is one of 8 presidential palaces used for hunting and recreation. Saddam visited this palace only about 6 to 8 times. The Al Faw palace was built to commemorate the sacrifices made by the Iraqi Army during the IranIraq War in regaining the Al Faw peninsula located in Southern Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers From Left—Al Faw Palace, Fish in the water, a Tigris Salmon would die in the Al Faw Peninsula campaign. As a result of that victory, Saddam built this palace to honor them. The building and caught from the lake next to the palace construction of the AlFaw complex was started in 1989 and completed Although the palace looks beautiful from a distance, when you look just prior to Desert Storm, with much of the labor coming from the closely, all that is fake, and the construction is definitely not solid. The local prisons. Because it took only 2 years to build this palace, there marble that you see all throughout the palace is really just a thin layer were many shortcuts taken. One of the shortcuts was that there was over crumbling concrete. When mixing concrete you need to have a little attention paid to the proper placement of the steps. As a result the binding agent, that binding agent is usually sand, and here in Iraq there steps vary in height and depth, which we all noticed as we tripped up is no shortage of sand. The problem with the concrete here was that and then back down them. there was salt in the sand that was used. Over the past 18 years that salt has eaten away at the reinforcing bars holding the palace up and The tour was a great opportunity for us to learn some of the deteriorated the concrete holding it together. It was such a contrast to history of this area. see this palace falling apart after only about 18 years compared to the palaces we have been able to see in Germany that have been standing
BCT/REAR D SPOTLIGHT
1st Air Cavalry Brigade By CPT Joshua Smith
1ST AIR CAVALRY BRIGADE LEGAL TEAM. (Left to Right) SPC Chowning, PFC Coates, SPC Edmonds, CPT Inkenbrandt, CPT Smith, SFC Onestoperson, SPC Coleman, SPC Lee. The Legal Section from the 1st Air Cav have taken that concept and applied it to
alry Brigade bids all farewell, but never goodbye. After 12 months in Kuwait‐Iraq everyone is anxious for the new prospects ahead (which hopefully includes a short respite). Each can hold their heads up high with the knowledge that their professional ism and dedication resulted in top quality work. The Air Cav plans its missions around supporting the ground Soldier. If they suc ceed, the Air Cav succeeds. These Soldiers (SFC OP, SSG Taylor, SPC Lee, SPC Ed monds, SPC Chowning, and PFC Coates)
CPT Smith, CPT Inkenbrandt, and SPC Edmonds
their legal duties the entire deployment. We came in under the motto, “First Team, Team First” and have not shied away from its standard. Working diligently to facilitate the Commander’s intent – Stan dards and Discipline – the report card has all high marks. While maintaining this motto, these last few months of the fourth quarter, we strive to remain “Iron Strong” as we exit leaving this field of play in the capable hands of the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade.
SPC Rachel Chowning hard at work
SPC Chowning, SGT Squires, SFC Onesto‐Person, SPC Edmonds, SPC Lee, PFC Coates
SPC Travis Lee looking up “Redeployment” in Webster’s
BCT/REAR D SPOTLIGHT
1/82 aab (ABN) By MAJ Steve berlin
Right—CPT Kalin Boodman swearing in SGT William Chibatto at his reenlistment.
SFC David Ventura, MAJ Steve Berlin, Hadaringay, CPT Patrick Hopple, and CPT Kalin Boodman outside the Camp Ramadi DFAC. Hadaringay is a valued member of the DFAC staff
The Devil Brigade had another exciting month. As SFC Derrick Riley of 3/157th Field Artillery (Colorado National Guard) finished his deployment, we began running a Legal Assistance Office at Camp Ramadi. It is always pleasure to help our Troopers. Additionally, SGT William Chibatto chose to stay Army and reenlisted. That leads us to our Legal Team profile. SGT Chibatto is a native New Yorker who spent his career with 1st Brigade and has deployed twice with the Devil Team. He is the paralegal for the Brigade Special Troops Battalion. He and his wife, Hannah, live in the greater Fort Bragg community. SGT Chibatto is an avid Mets fan who also enjoys family time, jumping out of planes, weight training, Ninja Turtles and drink ing YooHoo.
SGT Chibatto Choosing to Stay Army
Studying Nomenclature in Hopes of Pursuing Jumpmaster School
PFC Tamika Tutt enjoying the view from the Balcony at Al Faw palace in Baghdad, Iraq
MAJ Steve Ranieri (1/3 BCTA)(Left) reenlists SGT Spencer Brotherson
OSJA Personnel take a photo with Judge Fa’eq (Center with suit and tie) , The Chief Investigative Judge for the Central Criminal Court of Iraq
Newly promoted SSG Lornce Applewhite ponders the new Brigade Judge Advocate Activity Report
SPC Elijah Willis, SPC Edward Shin, and PFC Antonio Namwong attempt a “Wave gone wrong”
USDC and 4/2 SBCT SJA Personnel gather for the 1AD Patching ceremony in January
Five Finger Death Punch performs at Camp Liberty, Iraq as part of a USO tour
SGT Maria��Risser assists SPC Kyle Scurlock during simulated training in March
SFC Vernisha Mitchell working hard in the Military Justice section at the Legal Center
SPC Edward Shin and CW2 Craig Peel receive packages from “Operation Grattitude”
Justice League—Legal Center Style!
From Left—MSG Christopher Chouinard, SFC Keisha Alvarenga, LTC Ian Corey, MAJ Steve Ranieri, and SGT Spencer Brotherson at FOB Falcon during a leadership visit to the 1/3 BCT Legal Team
CPT Chad McFarland takes a break in a chair that was gifted to Saddam Hussein by Yasser Arafat
Left—SSG Lornce Applewhite promotes Sherri Walsh to Specialist while MAJ Rob Samuelson (Center) looks on.
LTC Lane Turner (left, DSTB Commander) presents PFC Tamika Tutt a Certificate of Achievement for being selected as the DSTB “Hero of The Week” as other OSJA personnel look on
SPC Elijah Willis (left) and SGT Brad Romans at the Legal Assistance Office
Mr. Peel / Mr. Grinch I don’t even know what to say about this one!