Monthly Archives: October 2012

Awards, Farewell in the Midwest

Chief Legalman Myron Chism, attached to Region Legal Service Office Midwest (RLSO MW), was recognized at an awards ceremony and farewell lunch for outstanding service during a recently completed individual augmentation and successful tour of duty at RLSO MW. Chism received the Joint Service Achievement Medal for his work during a nine month individual augmentation. He also received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. Pictured with Chism are Chief Legalman Stacy Kebe and Chief Legalman Michelle Murray.


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My JAG Corps Story – Lt. Audrey Koecher

My JAG Corps Story: View Navy JAG Corps videos showcasing the diverse work of enlisted Sailors, officers, and civilians.

Meet Lt. Audrey Koecher, an attorney with the Legal Assistance Policy Division. The Division provides support to legal assistance attorneys in the fleet.  In addition, the Division serves as the JAG’s legal assistance representative to other Services, government agencies, legal organizations and the private bar. The U.S. Navy is unique among the services in its ability to project power in all domains: on land, at sea, and in the air.  As a Navy judge advocate, you will experience the most diverse legal practice available to an attorney.  For more information, check out the U.S. Navy JAG Corps Careers or U.S. Navy JAG Corps Facebook Fan Page.


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Three Civilian Employees Retire After 52 Combined Years of Service

Ms. Joan Robinson, Mrs. Barb Baskin, and Mrs. Norma Padrigan wave goodbye to Naval Legal Service Office Southwest (NLSO SW) on their last day. The three civilian employees retired after 52 combined years of service to NLSO SW. Baskin retired after 27 years at NLSO SW, Robinson, served NLSO SW for 16 years. Padrigan, retired after nine years of service to the Command. Upon departing they stated, “We are like the Three Musketeers of NLSO SW riding off into the sunset.”


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Legal Assistance Aboard USS Truman

Lt. Nakku Chung, attached to Region Legal Service Office Midwest stands on the flight-deck of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). Chung participated in a one-week underway on-board USS Truman where he provided legal assistance to ship’s company. During this underway, USS Truman conducted operational drills. “It was a privilege to go underway with Team Truman. Although it was only a week, I came back with a renewed respect for our service members who serve at sea and away from the comforts of their homes,” said Chung.


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Victim Witness Assistance Program, More than Just Filling out a Form

By Legalman 1st Class (SW/AW) Justin M. Wiser, USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77)

This past April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign reiterated the importance of providing this critical support to victims.  As the Victim Witness Assistance Coordinator (VWAC) aboard USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77), I am always on the alert as to how I can meet the Navy’s Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) expectations.

The Victim Witness Assistance Program assists victims of crime — including sexual assault — by providing information and access to resources. The program is also allows victims and witnesses of crime to elect to be notified of the results of court-martial, confinement status and release of Navy prisoners. 

The JAG Corps is very clear about its stance on VWAP:  the program “is of paramount importance to the Navy and the JAG Corps. Victims and witnesses have the right to be treated with fairness and respect and to be reasonably protected from the offender.”

DD Forms are provided to ensure information is recorded clearly and concisely, but an effective VWAP is far more than just filling out a form.  A successful program is dependent on good communication, with both the victims and witnesses, and among the various professionals involved in the process. 

When I first checked aboard the ship, I volunteered to assume the VWAC collateral duty.  From the beginning, my chain of command has been supportive of the program.  I was fortunate enough to attend the U.S. Marine Corps VWAP Training Conference at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.  This was an excellent networking opportunity and I left with an extensive list of references and resources. 

An aircraft carrier can be a difficult setting for a victim or witness.  Stress, the inability to escape and close quarters all contribute to a challenging situation.  I have found that victims and witnesses are often receptive to receiving help from outside of the ship environment. 

Lt. Rob Nelson, Chaplain Corps, explained that the Command Religious Ministry Department is an invaluable shipboard resource.  “Most Chaplains today come in with years of experience in counseling for various traumatic situations, and many have served in clinical rotations, or have advanced post-graduate education with counseling,” said Nelson. 

Communications with a Chaplain is generally protected from disclosure under Military Rule of Evidence 503 (“Communication to clergy”). 

“We can help them sort through the confusion, and gain clarity, even closure, throughout the entire process,” said Nelson.  “We are the only ones equipped, and commissioned, to guide someone through the situation in a manner that is in keeping with their faith issues like forgiveness, justice, and guilt.”

For all who work in the legal profession and for legalmen in particular, it is important to be on the look-out for victim and witness issues.  In meeting the challenge of the daily workload of disciplinary cases, victim and witness concerns may be at risk of being marginalized.  This should never happen. In every case, there should be a quick analysis:  Are there victims or witnesses in this case?  What type of help does this individual need?  Simply taking a few minutes to listen can be incredibly beneficial.

Only with support from the chain of command, observant legal and security personnel and a desire to help those who require assistance will VWAP meet the needs of victims and witnesses and enhance the efficiency of the command’s military justice system. 

The legal team aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). From left to right: Chief Legalman James Conner, Lt. Cmdr. Anne Marks, Legalman 1st Class Michael Monteith, Legalman 1st Class Cassandra Hunt, Legalman 1st Class Jonathan High, Legalman 2nd Tiffany Williams, Legalman 1st Class Justin Wiser, and Lt. Andrew Clayton.

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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Fleet News, Legal Services, Legalman Paralegals, Military Personnel, Uncategorized


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Judge Advocate Awarded Bronze Star

Capt. Daniel E. Eldredge, commanding officer, Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington presented the Bronze Star Medal to Lt. Michael Hughes for meritorious service in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as the staff judge advocate, Special Operations Task Force-Southeast, in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 5, 2011 to February 15, 2012.


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Capt. Iglesias at the Federal Trade Commission

Capt. David Iglesias delivers a speech at the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the Federal Trade Commission. Hispanic Heritage Month first started in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.


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JAG Corps Stands Up New Command at Washington Navy Yard

By Lt. j.g. Matthew Budow and Lt. j.g. Brian John

The Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps underwent one of the largest and most ambitious restructuring efforts in its storied history Oct. 1. In order to offer clients focused defense services and more experienced defense counsel, the JAG Corps stood up four new Defense Service Offices across the Navy, including the Defense Service Office North (DSO North) headquartered in Building 200 at the Washington Navy Yard.

DSO North’s area of responsibility spans an area in excess of 7,000 miles, stretching from Great Lakes in the west to Bahrain in the east. DSO North will have attorneys and legalmen stationed in seven locations on three continents, and within the area of responsibility of four different combatant commanders.

In establishing Defense Service Offices, the JAG Corps formally disestablished its Naval Legal Service Offices (NLSOs), which had previously been tasked with providing defense and legal assistance to service members and their dependents. Legal Assistance services are now provided by Region Legal Service Offices throughout the Navy.


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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Legalman Aboard USS George Washington


PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 10, 2012) Legalman 2nd Class Jeffrey Greener, from Phoenix, reviews legal documents aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Pittman/RELEASED) 


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JAGs in Afghanistan

Lt. Adam E. Inch, Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan (ROLFF-A), Lt. Wenhong You, Joint Legal Center, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 (CJIATF 435), Lt. Margaret M. Villagran, US Forces – Afghanistan – North, Lt. Jonathan M. Hawkins, CJIATF 435, and Lt. Sara P. Neugroschel, ROLFF-A at an evidence conference in Afghanistan.


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