On scene: Heidi reports on Marine Lieutenant Colonel Chessani’s Board of Inquiry
Friday, 11 December 2009
A Robert Hefner illustration
Thursday, 10 Dec 2009
IF the Board of Inquiry doesn’t find Lt Col. Chessani INNOCENT of all
charges, accusations, and wrong doing, it won’t be the fault of Thomas More Law Center! Lead by Col. Shelburne and Robert Muse, this is one of the BEST, nothing gets by, DEFENSE TEAMS this court observer has ever witnessed.
A finding other than “DROP THESE RIDICULOUS CHARGES BECAUSE CHESSANI IS ACTUALLY SUPERMAN!” would be because the Board is deaf, dumb, and blind! (or the fix is in…)
As I entered the court room, late, a phone caller was giving information
on how he would figure out Chessani’s retirement based on his 22 years, 3 months service with regards to the Board’s decision of IF he had to retire, and IF as a Lt. Colonel or a Major (Considering Chessani was a fast tracked officer who would have been at least a full Colonel by now, punishment has already been instituted and THAT is a travesty! Anything lower is double indemnity if you ask me…).
Today may have been the easiest day for the Defense… One after another,
a parade of long term Marine co-officers and friends, even his pastor, as
character witnesses, barraged the Board and prosecution with a long list of detailed compliments to the great Lt. Colonel…
Colonel Paul Greg Allen Retired, a formidable man with a 30 year 8 mos.
career said Chessani was a “Natural leader on one of the most demanding tours (both Battles of Fallujah) and I was excited to get him there…”Chessani is, “Proactive… Quality exceptionally high… Never an over reaction as a commander…” When asked if there was a noticeable difference when Chessani was relieved of duty — “There was never a grievance, his work product was no different…” (And something like) lesser men sacrifice their integrity —
Not Lt. Col Chessani! (I couldn’t write fast enough!) “Highest moral integrity — Absolute integrity!” Allen had seen “many opportunities to stumble and fall and he (Chessani) has never done that.” “Command confidence under extreme conditions — no stripping Marines of
their dignity when chastised — Top 1% or 2% of ALL Marines I’ve served
ONE OF A HANDFUL OF OFFICERS I’D TRUST IN COMBAT WITH MY ONLY SON, MY WIFE’S LIFE, AND MY OWN…” (Yeah, WOW!!!)
Pastor Ernest Ferdinand (Marcus) Merritt, an exceptional man with an
exceptionally more than pleasant disposition, who had coincidentally served in the USMC… Admittedly, I was spellbound… I took no notes — I was also watching the Board Members to see IF they had any reaction, any signs of humanity, with all of the BEAUTIFUL things said so vividly about the Chessani Family, the devotion, the close friendship of their wives and kids, Mrs. Chessani’s Sunday School teaching, the Congregation always giving the most votes to Jeffrey Chessani for the top committees which Jeffrey turned down 3 years ago so as not to blemish the Congregation — at the Congregation’s insistence, he has since accepted the 2 posts… A Man For All Seasons…
Sgt. Maj. William Shaw — BAM! (They had to slow him down at one point for the court stenographer’s sake! Mine too!!) 20 years active duty and a ton of duty including amphibious assault… GREAT ENERGY! Spoke to Chessani’s always being out amongst the men, never micro-managing, “Very Patient like a father… ALWAYS open and willing to talk about concerns…” Lt.Col. Chessani was one of the top 2 commanders out of all 20 he’d ever worked with… “Great character, Moral compass, Warrior, Trainer…” When asked if he’d ever want to serve under the Lt.Col. again? “I WOULD SEEK IT OUT!”
Lt. Col. Carla Maureen Jessup, now Provost Marshall in K. Bay, HI… A
WOMAN OF GREAT SUBSTANCE! Anti-terrorist, Battalion Commander, Parris Island, a whole bunch of stuff!! She’s known the Lt.Col. and his family for almost 25 years BECAUSE THE CHESSANI’S ALWAYS HAD THE NON-MARRIEDS OVER TO THEIR HOUSE FOR MEALS AND FOR CERTAIN, CHRISTMAS!! “Most honest leader of Marines… Genuinely cares for the people around him… HE ALWAYS DOES THE RIGHT THING ‘CAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO…” Has never known him to or would never expect him to ignore ANY kind of problem…” “He cares for everybody the same… MY FAITH HAS BECOME STRONGER BECAUSE OF HIM… I BELIEVE JEFF HAS VALIANTLY SERVED THE CORPS AND HIS MARINES.”
Colonel Byrne: (After A 40 minute break, I’d entered late… Then it was
hard to keep up, I’m no pro…) Byrne was in charge of fitness reports of
Majors, (GUESS WHO WAS AND STILL HOLDS THE #1 PLACE of ALL Majors reviewed?! Yup, Chessani!). Regarding the 1st and 2nd Fallujah fights — “Exceptional!” He described a number of circumstances in a very large battle space that included Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, Zadon, etc. where information had to be communicated to his Bravo Command, 4 Marines killed in complex attack ambush… (not unlike Haditha…) The Battle for Fallujah occurred within 10 days of Chessani’s arrival, no question he knew what to do, had experienced a child being killed in a house and he knew to report up the command, Regimental Command would make the decision to investigate, if not, you move forward.
As to Military Character, “Jeff is an exceptional officer.” As to Personal Character, “Jeff has a personal sense of honor that motivates him.” (It is important to note that Chessani is accussed of never having “investigated” the civilian deaths in Haditha… RIDICULOUS!) After
Byrne had explicitly said that Regimental Command makes the decision to investigate after the reports are “pushed up and pushed down,” General Craparata asked the absurd — “But don’t you think that it is your duty to investigate every civilian death?”
Answer: NO! NOT IF IT IS A BONAFIDE COMBAT ACTION and you CAN’T investigate IF YOU’RE IN THE FIGHT! (AS IN HADITHA!!)
Then Byrne added something very poignant, “And if one of YOUR
Marines is thought to be culpable, YOU MAY NOT INVESTIGATE IT YOURSELF! (obvious reasons — but that’s exactly what the Board wanted!)
Since there was a long break before General Toolan’s testimony and my
children needed me, I had to leave.
We’ll find out tomorrow [Friday, 11 December] — AND TOMORROW IS (ARE?) CLOSING ARGUMENTS!!
IF ANYONE IS WONDERING IF THEIR DONATION TO THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER IN BEHALF OF LT.COL.CHESSANI WAS WORTH IT — IT’S THE BEST MONEY YOU EVER SPENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!