Is an officer who returned fire at the Chattanooga recruiting station going to face charges?

 
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Is an officer who returned fire at the Chattanooga recruiting station going to face charges?

The short answer is, no, it is VERY unlikely he will.  But it is getting a ton of press so I might as well address it.

The short story is this:

A Navy officer and a Marine fired their sidearms hoping to kill or subdue the gunman who murdered five service members last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to multiple military officials familiar with internal reporting on the tragedy.

It remains unclear whether either hit Muhammad Abdulazeez, who was shot and killed on July 16 after he gunned down four Marines and a sailor at the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga. It's also unclear why they were armed, as it is against Defense Department policy for anyone other than military police or law enforcement to carry weapons on federal property.

From there, people immediately began to worry that both would face charges.  Those fears were stoked by a Facebook post by LTC (and former Congressman) Allen West.

Ladies and gents, resulting from the text message I received yesterday, I can confirm that the United States Navy is bringing charges against Lt. Cmdr Timothy White for illegally discharging a firearm on federal property. 

The text message asked if it would be possible for Lt.Cmdr White to reach out to me. To wit I replied, affirmative.

What kind of freaking idiots are in charge of our Armed Forces — pardon me, our “unArmed Forces”? What would they prefer that Abdulazeez had been able to kill all the Marines and Sailors at the Naval Support Reserve Center? Let me draw an interesting contrast: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is more concerned about lifting the ban on transgendered Sailors. Mabus has a problem in that for the first time since 2007 the US Navy will not have a Carrier Battle Group operating in the Persian Gulf. But this knucklehead has no problem with the Navy seeking to destroy the career of a Sailor, a commander of an installation, returning fire against an Islamic jihadist attack. I do not care if it was his personal weapon, he deserves a medal for facing the enemy.

And then Jim Webb seemed to endorse the story as well:

Allen West is not the only person to make this allegation about the Chattanooga shooting suvivor. Jim Webb is a former Secretary of the U.S. Navy from the Ronald Reagan administration, and on August 2, 2015 he confirmed West’s report by speaking to an unidentified defense official.

“Navy charging LCDR Tim White with a crime for trying to defend our sailors and Marines in Chattanooga? He deserves a medal, not an indictment,” Webb wrote on Twitter. “Before tweeting last night, we confirmed with a defense official that the Navy was seriously considering charging LCDR Timothy White. The charge being considered is illegally discharging a firearm on federal property. No on the record comment was offered.”

Now, as believable as it is, and I don't put anything by the military in this regard, it appears simply to be not true:

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tim White has not been charged for firing his personal weapon at a lone gunman during the July 16 attacks on two military sites in Chattanooga, according to the Navy, despite weekend rumors that White had been charged for his actions.

The Navy denied that White has been charged in a statement on their official Facebook page on Saturday. The statement did not refute the claim that the Navy is planning to charge White.

"There is still a long way to go in reviewing the facts of this tragic incident, but at this time we can confirm no service member has been charged with an offense," the statement read.

So here is my reading on it all.  LCDR White clearly violated policy.  Hard to even argue that.  Easy to argue that the policy is idiotic and short sighted, but there is a policy, and it was clearly violated.  So, LCDR *could* face some sort of judicial proceeding.  But it is beyond my ability to believe that the Navy would be so stupid as to actually try and do something about it.  This is one of those times when it's best for everyone concerned if nothing happens.  However, being that it is the military, they did have to do an investigation.  Generally when someone ends up dead outside a recruiting station, they need to do an investigation.  And during the course of that investigation, it no doubt came out that LCDR White had taken actions which showed he was violating a specific policy, to wit, discharging a firearm he shouldn't have.  And thus everyone got worked up.

But if the Navy tried to prosecute him, they'd get blistered from the 99 percent of Americans who realized that  Marine under fire from a Lone Wolf Jihadi ought to be able to fire back.  I just can't imagine the Navy would be stupid enough to prosecute a guy for firing back.

Then again, this is the same navy which once paid $26 per gallon of fuel.  So I won't give them TOO much credit, but charging LCDR White would be about the dumbest thing imaginable.  It'll take me some convincing that even the Navy is capable of such idiocy.


Posted in the burner | 87 comments
 
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Officers bear the ultimate UCMJ authority including that of protecting their troops and protecting the American people at large against all enemies foreign and domestic. Bravo sir!

If you took the time to read the updates available from the Navy Times and DOD Updates, you would see that the whole and complete issues around this attack are being looked at. We do not need " Those fears were stoked " and from Mr. West " Ladies and gents, resulting from the text message I received yesterday, I can confirm that the United States Navy is bringing charges against Lt. Cmdr Timothy White for illegally discharging a firearm on federal property. ". Since when is he briefed on future events. I wonder what my dues are paying for. And this whole article, even though it is in "Burn Pit", is extremely biased. I would rather expect this in " Duffle Blog".

You obviously dont know how this works. If you actually read the article you will notice sections in yellow (Khaki). The sections in yellow were not written by Mothax. They are bits and pieces from articles about the topic. His comments are in between these yellow boxes. Mothax even said that the fears are largely unfounded and he does not believe there will be an issue.

Please take your drama elsewhere as it does not belong here. Thank you.

Semper Fi

As a military man, we are bound by policy and rules of the military world. Therefore, I would the Lt. Cmdr. guilty but my judgement would be time served and 15 days probation. And comment that I agree that the policy regarding carrying firearms be changed for situations as this one.

Whatever happened to the right to self defense? Are we just supposed to be sitting ducks waiting to be picked off?

While being a Marine in the early 50's we first walked guard posts during darkness with an unloaded M1 Garrand and the Officer of the Day and NCO of the Day would play games with us.. Then we were issued 2 rounds, yes 2 rounds, of ammo... All the game playing stopped....

As a retired Air Force veteran and Lawyer . This is the stupidist thing I have every heard. Please someone Mr. Obama or otherwise step in before we are the laughing stock of the world.

KICK HIM (RAY MABUS) out of the Navy...

Too bad, they ALL should have been armed !!!!

IF he is I fact charged, this country has LOST every bit of common sense that it ever had. IF he has/had a CWP to carry a firearm as a private citizen , it should be considered he was fully with in his rights. As a Leader in the military, he SHOULD HAVE been allowed to have a sidearm "available" for contingencies such as this event. attacks have happened before...the Navy Yard and other places, and will NO DOUBT occur again.

Outstanding - to bad they couldn't get him first!

this is a very stupid idea to start with. However, as former two term navy recruiter, I do not agree that recruiters should be be armed. all military do not receive training for that to happen. If it happens, The recruiters should receive special fire arms training, more than they give in boot camp.
The American Legion guy who said he should be charged is wrong.
Our problem is like of leadership in the White House, a retired Navy CPO>

Johnny Evans. I certainly agree that recruiters should have training to carry pistols. They do not receive that training in basic (I was a Drill). I do not agree with you that they shouldn't be armed. I think they should be.

I may have mis stated, thought I said they would need more training, than they receive in basic.
All do not receive training the army and Marine corp receive, I am very thankful for the course I took from a Navy national instructor and competition shooter, then receive trainng for river boats, Forever thankful for the training I received from the national master shooter, and competition shooter. My instuctor not me. It came in handy, will never forget the training. Then receiving surprise orders to pbr's served with some recruiters who in my day would make me little nervous walking around armed, without additional training. Additional training with the use, and being alert . I guess the key words are additional firearms training

I may have mis stated, thought I said they would need more training, than they receive in basic.
All do not receive training the army and Marine corp receive, I am very thankful for the course I took from a Navy national instructor and competition shooter, then receive trainng for river boats, Forever thankful for the training I received from the national master shooter, and competition shooter. My instuctor not me. It came in handy, will never forget the training. Then receiving surprise orders to pbr's served with some recruiters who in my day would make me little nervous walking around armed, without additional training. Additional training with the use, and being alert . I guess the key words are additional firearms training

I may have mis stated, thought I said they would need more training, than they receive in basic.
All do not receive training the army and Marine corp receive, I am very thankful for the course I took from a Navy national instructor and competition shooter, then receive trainng for river boats, Forever thankful for the training I received from the national master shooter, and competition shooter. My instuctor not me. It came in handy, will never forget the training. Then receiving surprise orders to pbr's served with some recruiters who in my day would make me little nervous walking around armed, without additional training. Additional training with the use, and being alert . I guess the key words are additional firearms training

I may have mis stated, thought I said they would need more training, than they receive in basic.
All do not receive training the army and Marine corp receive, I am very thankful for the course I took from a Navy national instructor and competition shooter, then receive trainng for river boats, Forever thankful for the training I received from the national master shooter, and competition shooter. My instuctor not me. It came in handy, will never forget the training. Then receiving surprise orders to pbr's served with some recruiters who in my day would make me little nervous walking around armed, without additional training. Additional training with the use, and being alert . I guess the key words are additional firearms training

As an retired warrant officer who served during the Bush regime, I remember the rule regarding firearms being in place before President Obama ever took office. One of our USAR unit members, as a police officer, was required by his job to be armed off duty, so he had to obtain special permission from the U. S. Army to carry his privately-owned firearm on post.

I say give the TWO BRAVE men a medal of apprication, If they had not fired in attempts to stop the SHOOTER, HOW many more people would he have KILLED, HONOR THEM NOT DEGRADE THE HEROS.

Keep us posted. I will happily call all of my elected officials and complain if disciplinary action is taken against Lt. Cmdr. Tim White. Can we do something about the policy so these installations at least have some minimal level of defensive capability?

Given that the source on this is a disgraced former Army officer who was allowed to retire in lieu of trial by Court Martial, I put no stock in it at all.

Here's a suggestion. How about training all military personnel in the use of small arms, and issue them a license-to-carry both on and off duty and concealed.

As a Retired Marine and Deputy Sheriff I honestly believe that the Commander should be awarded a Commendation for his actions. He responded exactly as he was trained and did an outstanding job in taking out this miserable perpetrator. Well done, Commander. You have every right to be proud of your actions under the circumstances. The Navy should not only be proud of you but should give you the appropriate Commendation, at least a Navy Commendation or Bronze Star Medal.

I am a combat verteran of Viet Nam and whether in the field or on the street,,,if we are put in harms way then we are taught to recon, adapt and overcome, and that certainly means lethal force if attacked.

1967 VN Central Highlands

Has everyone lost their minds!-Lets just turn over EVERTHING to our enemy terriorists and let them have their way.What an insult to every American (parden me-TRUE American) to try to punish these brave men.

Jim Hart

That's a bunch of CRAP I'm a ole Viet Nam Vet , that man should get a metal.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even if the Navy is pressured not to prosecute Lt. Cmdr White, his career is probably over. He will no longer be considered for promotions. The military has ways of getting even. Technically, he broke the rules, and the rules are sacred, no matter what. Remember the Pueblo affair?

If White is charged , we have gone completely nuts as a society. Discharging a fireman on federal property regulation pertains to an illegal discharge, not to defending ones self and others. Does the govt. expect our military members to stand around like pop up targets? Our ARMED FORCES should be ARMED all the time!

In the early 60's. when standing quarter-deck watches in-port. the Petty Officier (EM) always carried a loaded 45 at the gangway. Never had any problems with people trying to sneak on or off.....

I wonder if Obama's people have weapons, I mean after all the white house is a
gun free zone, that is right isn't it. should have been ten more shooting the bastard
good riddance.

If the Navy brings charges against Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tim White it will be an outrageous move and I would hope all American Legion Members and Leadership express the condemnation of such an action. Leaving our military personnel unarmed to defend themselves and their brothers and sisters is not acceptable. The American Legion needs to stand tall and fight if charges are brought.
David J. Porcher-Veteran

I spent 7 years in the Marine Corps from 1965-19732. This officer should be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, which is given to risk their lives to save others in a non-combat event.

why not go after H Clinton? She killed 4 times the people. Just because she thinks she is president already? She needs to be accountable and now.

Is this current engagement not called the Global War on Terrorism? Any warrior assigned duty off post should be armed. Except for Chaplains, of course.

First, thank God (yes God) for actions taken by LCDR Tim White and any other military personnel which may have helped save true American lives. Yes, there are laws that they violated but that event is when your training kicks in and you simply react. Any charges should be dismissed regarding all military persons involved. This is a civil matter for local authorities since there is no standing military order (that I am aware of) that states they could not be armed and defend themselves off base.

There are several questions that need to be addressed. Who should be authorized to carry firearms arms on a military base. Who should be allowed to carry firearms off base?

We all remember Maj. Nadal Hassan. Should he ever have had a firearm? The question is how do we prevent these types of individuals from performing the horrific deed he undertook. He thought he was right - but he was a terrorist at war with his own country. We unfortunately have a leader who cannot come to grips with the fact that war has been declared on the U.S. We treat them as JV terrorists and not as a religious military "State" that has declared war on us. All Americans have the Constitutional right to defend themselves against any individual or organization that supports those that have declared war on us.

Every military person should not carry firearms either on base or off. Military persons do have the right to own a permitted gun and to obtain a concealed gun permit without the military preventing them from doing so. Once they enter a military facility the rules change. That's the Constitution. We need to decide who, when and where they can legally carry arms when on duty. Then, under what circumstances they can engage the enemy, foreign or domestic.

My ancestors came to this continent in the earliest days of settlement. My family has a long history of serving in the armed forces of this country in every war. I am Viet Nam vet and damn proud of it.

LCDR White should be honored and be given both a military medal and a citizens medal for his actions.

Any person in the chain of command above him who disagrees should immediately be relieved of duty up to and including the Command and Chief.

We wonder why our US morale and expectations are low, these idiots are the root of that rot. Get these liberals out of our government, including the Supreme Court idiots.

the reason "not verified" is coming up, is that as we scroll down the page, we stop at the box following this one and do not see the verification block. I dont think I even hit save, therefore my comment did not go through.

I carried a weapon every day I was on recruiting duty. No advertisement, no comment. I was careful to avoid asking if any of my troops were armed in their stations, in their vehicles or in their homes. It was their lives that I COULD NOT PROTECT. They were on their own with my unannounced blessing.

Only the military would consider charging this hero: Can you imagine the pain and suffering this lone wolf could have inflicted? It is time that we recognize the ISIS is waging a war on the military and police in our borders. The time has come for arming our senior NCOs and officers for defense of our Nation. These men and women are defenseless as a clay pigeon on a shooting range. We trust them with nuclear weapons , but not a sidearm? For shame!!!!

At the time this policy was written no ever heard of ISIS and the ignorant cowards shooting innocent victims in theaters and other public venues. Since ISIS declared their intent to kill military personnel AND their families, I would hope others are doing the exact same thing as LCDR White. To me he is demonstrating true leadership and using common sense in perilous times. And, back to policy - remember the laws and procedures police officers followed to the letter that were subsequently overturned and declared unconstitutional. This policy seems to be in that category and needs strengthening. Kudos for Commander acting like a member of our armed forces directly engaging the enemy. Can't wait to hear which medal the Navy feels appropriate for his demonstrated heroics.

I can understand why not all military personnel should be allowed to carry firearms at all times, but this is like a remote outpost (not on a Military Instalallion). I was a Military Policeman when I was serving in the Army and I went on quite a few domestic disturbance calls onpost. If they want to punish a soldier for trying to defend himself and others, then we are going to have to post MP's at all recruiting offices. Thankyou LCDR White for doing your DUTY!

It's called exigent circumstances. Laws, standards and policies are violated all the time by law enforcement when in thwir sole opinion the exigent circumstances warrant it. Some might even call it common sense. In other words we leave room for when policy dosn't cover every potential circumstance for people to do the right thing anyway.

I'm not sure whether military people should be allowed to carry arms while state side. I do think this whole argument misses the mark. These recruiting places and all military places should be protected by armed trained guards. It could get dangerous if everybody carried a weapon and fired at will . What would the policemen and innocent citizens do if they were caught in that situation. We need law and order not just everybody shooting in this country. Its not a war zone. I was in the Marine Corps in the sixties and seventies. We were under strict supervision. We were not allowed to carry guns and do as we pleased until we were deployed in Vietnam. I don't blame this man for defending his life but this is a civilized country not a mad house. Why is everybody coming to these thoughtless conclusions.

Mr. G. Smith has earned his right to his opinion by servicing his country. I also served, in Vietnam and would defend this country and what it stands for to my last breath. This country is in a war zone In fact we are on the front line. We must address those weaknesses that exist here at home, not when it's too late. Thank you to those that serve and to you G. Smith welcome home. Why not utilize veterans that have the training and let them stand guard.

Thank you, G. Smith, for the insightful post. Like you, I do not see this country as a “war zone”, thus no need for EVERYONE to carry weapons while on a stateside tour. Yes, there seems to be a war of ideas, but NOT a “war zone” as the term implies.

What I do see is that many citizens are angry, frustrated and fearful, thus, sharing their anger and frustration over this confusing situation: why and how did Muhammad Abdulazeez get his weapon on Federal property! The simplest answer is, probably because many recruiting stations are unpretentious storefronts, where any interested citizen can enter and sign-up for military duty. Over the years, along with home and military training, I learned not to react or respond in anger or fear; they only compound already incendiary situations. Lastly, turning this situation into a political and current administration issue is more harmful than helpful. In 1992, the DoD sought to disarm stateside personnel on federal property, NOT Presidents Clinton or Obama, but during President G.W. Bush’s administration [can't insert link, but search "when did the military disarm stateside personnel"]. It helps to know facts, thoroughly research items rather than parroting and fostering misinformation. Misinformation has been a bane and tool in civilizations for eons; as Franklin Delano Roosevelt so eloquently stated “the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself”, so stop aiding all enemies by circulating misinformation.

I also agree that recruiting installations, and possibly all federal properties with personnel, should have the protection of “trained armed guards” due to the current climate; which means the regulation/law could change when the threat permanently and dependably decreases.

Can't believe this man is not honored and given a medal and a citizen's cash reward for his actions. What a screwed up Nation we have become.

Commander,
I, AND ALL AMERICANS, SALUTE YOU. GODSPEED.

Would surmise a REACT Intl big wig would come up with something like that. Yeah, those idiotic
right wing bloggers also want to do stupid stuff like preserving the Constitution our founding fathers
pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in order for us , and eventually the entire world would
have a shot of freedom. What Vet believes that Mr. O would not LOVE to roast Cdr. White IF there would
not be too much political fallout. (PC and politics MUST be observed in DC).

In the military in a situation like this ...You are Damned if you do...And Damned If you Don't..In Vietnam The Idiots Told Us not to Fire on The Viet-Cong unless we were shot at us first.You Guys Who Served In Infantry No this For a Fact.However What they Don't know won't hurt them right...I'm not that Damn Stupid was You???

Here's what will probably happen to the LCDR in the now "PC DoD".....no charges (the Murican public would have a fit...and the Navy doesn't want to do anything to hurt recruiting efforts). The story will die, and then this will happen to the LCDR...nothing....no advancement, no selection for leadership roles, NOTHING! ... The navy will be told (by the political "leadership" to hang him out to dry as "an example".

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.