Sunday, December 29, 2013

Prosecuting….the War on Terror?  The Docket deployed.

The big news for Docket Dynasty is that I am headed for Afghanistan.  No I’m not kidding.  Being a prosecutor and crusading against darkness and evil while juggling law school student loans on public servant pay just wasn't challenging enough.  I have therefore remained a member of the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, known as “JAG” for short.  It really isn't much like the old television show at all, though I believe I may be even more rakishly handsome than David James Elliott.  Yeah, I know…

I hesitated to post this as I don’t always know how to deal with the usual responses which range from “thank you for your service” to “Don’t go, can you get out of it?” (You’re quite welcome and No.).  I’m not doing anything that a half-million other troops haven’t done.  I don’t think myself “special”.  I’m just another guy doing his job…that happens to be in Afghanistan.  This fact will obviously change the character of my posts.  I don’t yet know exactly what I’ll be doing or if I’ll be able to post at all.  I do know that I will very likely be depressingly safe.  Yes, depressingly safe.  You see, I started my Army life as an Infantryman… a steely-eyed killer...a predator seeking America’s enemies…well, okay, I was just a grunt, but grunts are in the fight.  Though still a Soldier, my job now is that of a lawyer.  “Safe” in a combat zone is relative of course, but rather than firing my weapon and taking ground in the war against terror, I shall be reduced to an angry signature on various legal documents.   That stings a little.

From my family’s perspective, what I am most certainly going to be is GONE.  Not here.  Not gone for a minute.  Not gone for the weekend.  Gone.  This is the most difficult part for me.  It is not likely the most difficult for them.  I will have “three hots and a cot” and the camaraderie of a few thousand similarly situated brothers and sisters at arms, all of whom are willing to come to my aid and I theirs should the need arise.  Meanwhile, my lovely bride still has to cook dinner for everyone and get them to sports, music, church and school activities by herself, all while wondering if I’m okay (I will be) and whether I've told her everything ( I haven’t).  Furthermore, as a Reservist’s wife, she won’t have the usual complement of resources readily available to the families of my active-duty brethren.  Though I may covet your prayers, I covet them for my wife and family most.  If you really want to support your Troops, find a way to support their spouses.  If you’re inclined to ask, when she says “we’re fine”, help her anyway.  Nothing allows the Troops to focus on the mission like knowing their families are well taken care of in their absence.  I am learning the humility of need in ways I hope to remember.

Though still at home, the insanity has begun.  I think deploying Reservists are inherently schizophrenic.  The Soldier is ready to go and begin the mission.  The husband/father is already missing everything that hasn't happened yet.  The prosecutor is reluctantly handing off cases for others to work.   If I dwell on it much, my eyes leak.   I’m ready.  Lets get this thing going.   In the meantime, I hope to have the means and opportunity to regale you with what I’m assuming must be “one-of-a-kind” stories from the combat zone.  Here’s to 2014.  I hope it’s the fastest year ever!  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


My audience (meaning, I suspect, both my wife and my mother) notes that it has been TWO MONTHs since I've posted anything.  Time flies.  There is a good reason which I will not address now, but it may well may change the character of Docket Dynasty for a few months.  Who knows, perhaps it will be more interesting!

I wouldn't have thought that trial practice and a high school English class would have much in common, but it it seems they occasionally do.

I have posted before about the purgatory that is Trial.  Murphy is always hard at work ensuring that anything that can go wrong will.   Need to play a video for the jurors?  Did it work two seconds before the jury came back in?  It won't work now.  Have you created a brilliant closing, replete with choreographed video, background music and interpretive dance?  The timing will falter, the music won't play and the dancer will trip.  There is NOTHING in the wide world of sports than can make you sweat like a snafu in the middle of trial.  Competitive swimmers can look relatively dry in comparison.

Having just finished the book "Lord of the Flies", my daughter's English teacher had her students put one of the main characters on trial.  Naturally, my daughter was assigned as the "prosecutor" and worked diligently with her team to make the case.   Her text to me after the trial:

"Dad, we WON....It was horrible.  The copier wouldn't work, so we couldn't get everyone copies and then I dropped the papers and they went everywhere....but we WON!

I know the feeling.