In first five chapters of Truth and Consequences I explained how the ’05 Cal Guard Spy Scandal divided the state military department’s officer corps. One group splintered into a Dynasty that deposed adjutant generals, the second striving to transform Cal Guard operating, logistics, personnel systems to support the Response Framework.
In this chapter, I discuss how the Dynasty:
- Clenched military power; and
- Changed the state’s command culture from civilian to military led.
She Refused to Leave Her Troops Behind
After allegedly deposing its third adjutant general command, the Dynasty launched its campaign to sway the California Senate Rules Committee to confirm Gov. Jerry Brown’s nomination of Col. David S. Baldwin for adjutant general.
A crusade with an imaginable theme–“when fact threatens the legend, protect the legend.” A Dynasty offensive to discredit their distractors with conceivable objectives of: preventing testimony that could expose their members’ misconduct; intimidating those with alleged “hostile workplace grievances; precluding experts’ revelations of SAD systematic flaws; and preventing leaks of Dynasty misconduct in regard to sexual harassment, sexual assault, racial discrimination, and retaliation.
The Dynasty perhaps showed their disrespect for military justice, due process, and equality of justice by purportedly firing the general on Kight’s staff who adjudicated an Article 15 for Conduct unbecoming of an officer (sexual improprieties) for one of its key members. Reportedly given the opportunity to rescind the referred OER, and general officer memorandum reprimand (GOMAR) from the officer’s permanent personnel files or be fired, the general stood his ground, receiving a telephone call from the Governor’s office shortly thereafter instructing him to clean out his desk. Despite his mandate from the Governor, the Army purportedly rejected Baldwin’s “pardon” for this officer, forcing the Dynasty to hide him from the Senate Rules Committee.
But as part of Wade’s and Kight’s command, Brig. Gen. Charolotte Miller was witness to this cover-up as well as the Dynasty’s other shenanigans. And Baldwin arguably knew it, allegedly using his appointive power and Governor’s mandate to dubiously connect her the recruiting fraud scandal to keep her from testifying before the Senate Rules Committee–perhaps using her as the fall guy to replace Dynasty’s general-in-charge who suspiciously disappeared form the recruiting fraud headlines.
But Miller refused to cower to the Dynasty. Instead, she chose to speak for all those enslaved by the Dynasty’s dictatorial administration of the Uniform Code of MilitaryJustice (UCMJ) or whose voices’ were censured through the Dynasty’s scripted command information program. Miller was a threat to expose the Dynasty’s: arrogance in flaunting recommendations of the U.S. Army’s, Army Board for the Correction of Military Records (ABCMR); retaliatory practices; and their history of sexual assaults, harassments, and racial discrimination.
She also bore witness of how Baldwin suspiciously deployed to Afghanistan to escape an investigation and accountability for automatic weapons lost under his brigade command. She was well aware of the Dynasty’s manipulation of the SAD program, calling it a “disturbing pattern of favoritism” that rewarded SAD jobs to “unqualified allies loyal to him, and punished others who were not part of his inner circle.”
The Dynasty apparently attempted to prejudice Miller’s testimony through pre-confirmation publicity. Her testimony was advertised as a “personal vendetta” against Baldwin.
“This is not about me,” Miller responded. “This is about all of my fellow soldiers in the Guard who could be denied ‘Redress of Grievance’ based on Mr. Baldwin’s layman interpretation of legal code, and who are afraid to confront someone like him who has proven he will do anything to anyone who gets in his way.”
The Senate had arguably turned a blind eye to Baldwin’s firing 114 people as part of the so-called Governor’s mandate. Insiders considered the Governor’s mandate akin to fictional character Col. Nathan Jessup’s higher Command overlooking his extrajudicial system of punishment called Code Red at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba in the movie A Few Good Men.
Miller’s stand, however, inspired others to emerge from the Dynasty’s shadow of such intimidation, refusing to be victimized, and opposing Baldwin’s confirmation before the Senate Rules Committee. A tale of two generals would transpire during those hearings. One with unquestionable physical courage, politically groomed for a political appointment, taking care of his friends. The other, a general cultured in the military tradition of leadership, with moral courage, and determined not to leave her Cal Troops behind.
Baldwin, however, received the mentoring and coaching of numerous “murder boards” to prepare for the testimonies of Miller and those she inspired. He also had the Dynasty’s information ops machine, many believe, which was now functioning at maximum strength.
During the confirmation hearings, that Dynasty machine functioned at a level that would have made Mohammed Saeed “Baghdad Bob,” envious. Baghdad Bob was Saddam Hussein’s spokesperson during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, famous for extravagant claims of the Iraqi military’s victories as the Western news showed American tanks rolling into Baghdad.
Likewise, the Dynasty promoted the exorbitant claim that four previous adjutant general commands were corrupt, having Committee Chairman, Sen. President Pro Tem, Sen. Darrell Steinberg believing, “(The) California National Guard has a long history “of trouble, low morale and good old boy favoritism forcing previous adjutant generals to leave “under allegations of fraud.”
What Steinberg didn’t see, was what Miller and oponents tried to tell him. The real “good old boy network wasn’t rooted in Cal Guard history, but a common denominator linked to commands in that scope of history Steinberg referenced. A suspected clique of ’05 Cal Guard whistle blowers, that seized the elements of political power, morphed into a political action committee (PAC) that manufactured scandal to overthrow these commands.
One must credit the Dynasty’s ingenuity and imagination in confronting its opposition. They arguably capitalized on what that controversial Col. Jessup called a “world of walls,” in which “we live,” in the movie A Few Good Men. With fewer legislators and their staffs having any military experience, their walls existed in the form being unable to relate the testimonies of Miller and those opposing Baldwin’s confirmation. The Dynasty arguably fortified the legislature’s walls of misunderstanding to keep them from peeking inside their empires of cronyism.
They apparently hushed sexual harassment, sexual assaults, racism, and retaliation testimonies with their portrayal as that of disgruntled employees, officers with grudges, and victims with unsubstantiated claims. When one riveting testimony threatened to breach these walls the Dynasty fortified for the legislature–opening to path for follow-on breaches–Baldwin apparently handled it with a propaganda minister’s confident charm.
In compelling testimony, a female Army aviator recounted hostile threats of attacks from an alleged Dynasty member. When asked to name the alleged bully near the conclusion of her testimony, she dramatically pointed to him in the audience saying, “that’s him back there, the one y’all clapped for,” a reference to the suspected bully’s pervious testimony on behalf of Baldwin.
Sen. Steinberg, almost as if on queue, asked Baldwin if he was aware of the female aviator’s case. The question gave Baldwin opportunity to pause, collect himself, and infer plausible deniability with a promise to “initiate an investigation “tomorrow.” The investigation he later reportedly stonewalled to force the aviator’s retirement, according to published reports, allowing the alleged perpetrator to evade facing justice and continue his career.
By preventing the initial rupture to these reinforced walls, the Dynasty protected one of its own within its own walls. That officer with the Article 15 for conduct unbecoming of an officer (sexual improprieties) was reportedly the same officer who altered evidence of racial slurs against an air guard NCO (See Ann’s Story). An NCO purportedly transferred from the State Headquarters to the 129th Air Rescue Wing (RQW) in the Bay Area to distance her form the confirmation hearings in Sacramento.
Baldwin’s promise to investigate the army aviator’s allegations also limited penetration of an Air Guard officer once corralled outside Righello’s office with other complainants alleging the Dynasty sexual assaults and harassment. An officer also transferred to the 129th RQW to allegedly to keep her from organizing these plaintives’ testimony during Baldwin’s confirmation hearings.
In the end, the confirmation hearings went as the Dynasty planned, confirming Baldwin’s nomination 35-0. The Senate Rules committee opted for the general groomed for political appointment, believing his promises to address the concerns of those who testified.
And although Miller’s charge failed to breach those reinforced walls the Dynasty built around the Senate, she did manage to rupture their skepticism. Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (one of the few legislators with military experience), said he found it “somewhat troubling” that some of the abuses at the guard occurred while Baldwin was a colonel. He also cited as troubling Baldwin’s failure to provide federal investigators with documents they requested, calling the decision “not his finest hour.” State Senator Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara County recommended Baldwin “form an advisory committee consisting of personnel from all levels of the CNG command, to identify and resolve issues and report back to the Senate.
But the Senate would return to more pressing business, senate term limits would erode legislative oversight, giving the Dynasty time to patch those fissures its opposition inflicted, helping their members evade justice, and retaliating against those who opposed Baldwin’s nomination. Miller’s assessment of Baldwin’s leadership as “morale-crushing,” would debatably prove prophetic. ” Some joked that it was as if the Senate confirmed the invented movie character Col. Nathan Jessup in the 1992 movie, “A Few Good Men.”
I saw perhaps something more ominous. I had observed the so-called whistle blowers of the ’05 Cal Guard Spy scandal, the Cal Guard’s Lords of Discipline, evolve from a clique of daily cigar-smokers plotting the overthrow of adjutant generals into a military PAC with leverage over its civilian leadership.
A PAC that in my opinion: overruled the state’s OES director; created the Governor’s mandate; substituted themselves for legislative oversight; Shinbone Starred the media; subjugated military justice systems to their control; and cleverly deceived Congressional Representatives into doing what the adjutant general told them to do–as one Dynasty director told me they would do.
Figuratively speaking, they replaced a Cal Guard culture that once prided itself on its deference to civilian authorities and remaining apolitical, with a new military ruling class that tells elected leaders what to do. A creditable source tells me that one of Baldwin’s right-hand-men has reportedly since bragged that he is “heir apparent” TAG after Baldwin.
Perhaps he’s right. It was after all, metaphorically speaking, a Coup d’état.
In Chapter 7, I write about the validity of the Governor’s Mandate and question whether it was a smoke screen for perhaps the most massive retaliation in California National Guard History.