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In Their Own Words Force Recon

Harm    Mac    Bud

Lieutenant (j.g.) Bud Roberts

By Stacey (jaghm2@yahoo.com)

Nobody ever listens to me. All morning I kept trying to tell the Major that the file she was tearing her office apart looking for was right there on her desk, but she wouldn't listen. Then when she found it, she actually had the nerve to ask me why I didn't tell her it was there. Is this what I have to look forward to until I become a lawyer?

Our case is to investigate the reason for the training accident at the Recon Training Unit at Camp Pendleton that placed two Marines in the hospital. The officer in charge of the training unit is Captain Koonan (the Major says that the Duke is his nickname, as in John Wayne), and that he designed the recon training program. Actually he designed the Close Quarter Battle Section. Our work will be cut out for us because the Major says that Recon Marines stick together, a tight-knit group. The Commander had a good question: how does an officer with that much combat experience put his officers lives in danger? Thats what were going to find out.

When the Commander jokingly asked, "Miss me already, don't ya," like an idiot, I said yes. It was the first thing that popped into my mind. The look Major MacKenzie gave me could have melted metal. I think she got the impression that I didn't like her. This will be the first case that I have worked on with just the Major, and it has to involve Marines, so Im just a little nervous.


When we arrived at Camp Pendleton the Colonel met us himself. He informed us that he had requested a Marine to handle the investigation and when he saw the Major he was impressed, a Marine and a woman. "Outstanding ," was his exact word. I could feel the tension flow through the Major at those words. Not only did we have to deal with Koonan and his Marines, but had the added stress of fulfilling the Colonels expectations. Or at least the Major did, and this I'm sure would impact me.

The map that belonged to Koonan sure was a mess. You could barely see any of the boundary lines on it. No wonder those Marines got hurt. You'd think that the Corps could provide more than one map, especially when the safety of Marines depended on it -- unless the map was altered on purpose; and like the Major said, putting your men at risk at any time is unacceptable.


Watching the Recon Marines train, the level of testosterone they released into the air was unbelievable. It's at times like these that I seriously question my decision to become a lawyer, a decision that I worried about for weeks on the carrier, especially when the guys started teasing me about becoming a legal weenie, a decision that I still question every time I witness the brotherhood that binds men together like the Recon team. Will this doubt hang around for the rest of my life? I can only wonder if this is how the Commander feels every time we have a case on a carrier.

I have to say this for the Major; she doesn't know the meaning of the words "back down." The woman didn't even flinch when he started spouting off, pushing all her buttons, basically insinuating that since she was a lawyer that she wasn't a good Marine. I thought Id laugh out loud when she let him know that she usually had lunch by 0600. I wonder if she misses being a real Marine? I could see the pride in her eyes when she looked at the Recon team and maybe something that resembled longing. I bet she was one hell of a grunt, because she's one hell of a lawyer.


Gunnery Sergeant Post! No one informed us that the Commander was going undercover to be Gunny Kryceks replacement. You could have knocked me over with a feather when we walked into the Colonels office and there he was. He didn't look half-bad as a Marine. The Major just couldn't resist putting the Commander on the spot. Must be something about all that testosterone floating in the air earlier.

Boy, the Major sure was pissed that the Commander hadnt told her about his going undercover. The argument outside HQ started to get loud with both of them accusing the other of being wrong. Then I said that I thought they were both wrong, but somehow it got all mixed up coming out of my mouth. At least it ended the argument. It was like watching your mom and dad fight, well not my mom and dad, but maybe normal people's parents.


Taking notes for the investigator interviews for the Recon team members was a waste of time. The Commander didn't exaggerate when he said you'd get more blood out of a stone than information from the team members. Even the hurt Marines wouldn't give up anything. Corporal Bell finally woke up, and when we questioned him he said that he saw Koonan doing something to his map, rubbing it with dirt and drawing a line on it. No wonder that map was such a mess; it was done on purpose and, like the Major said, putting your men at risk at any time is unacceptable.

Colonel Malcolm must have chewed the Major up and spit her out. When she came out of his office she was as white as a sheet. She never told me what happened but I think that it had something to do with the fact that we haven't drafted any charges against the Captain yet. The Major said that there wasn't enough evidence at this point and that she wouldn't make him a scapegoat. Later at the Battery B Artillery camp during the live-fire exercise she seemed to be really nervous. Then Koonan pulled up and ordered a cease-fire. Seems that his men hadn't cleared the village that was being bombed even though they radioed that they were in the clear. Why would they go back in?

When the Colonel questioned Koonan about this, he admitted that he had disabled his teams COM gear and somehow the radios got switched. Then he told about how he smudged out the safety perimeter on his map, all because he wanted his mean to know the fear of a close barrage. Not only had he done that, he had been doing things like that the whole time he had been there. What an ass, sacrificing the safety of his men for the sake of training. It's a wonder no one got hurt before.

The Colonel got what he wanted after all -- good publicity for the Corps' Recon training program. When he congratulated us on a excellent job, the Major said that she didn't know if we deserved thanks. I know she was thinking the same thing I was: do we deserve thanks for helping to ruin a good man's career, a man who just wanted to train the best Marine possible, a man who didn't know that John Wayne was dead.

Watching the Major during this investigation I know that I made the right decision to become a lawyer. The truth at any price will protect the innocent. I only hope that I can strive to be as great an officer as the Major is while seeking this truth.


Disclaimer: While based on the JAG episode, this is for entertainment purposes only and no profit is being made.