December 14th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Before birther row, Lt. Col. Lakin racked up medals as flight surgeon

Eliott C. McLaughlin

(CNN) - Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin is a poster soldier for the so-called birther movement, but for 17 years prior to his court-martial proceedings, the flight surgeon served around the globe, racking up a chest full of medals.

Military prosecutors allege that the Colorado native intentionally missed a plane in April after disobeying four lawful orders from superiors. Lakin has said he refused to deploy to Afghanistan until he sees proof that President Obama was born in the U.S.

In a YouTube explanation posted before he was charged, Lakin said he had no choice but the "distasteful one of inviting my own court-martial."

"If [Obama] is ineligible, then indeed, all orders are illegal because all orders have the origin with the commander in chief," he said.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice says the maximum punishment for both offenses - missing his plane and disobeying lawful orders - is a dishonorable discharge and up to two years in confinement. A guilty verdict could also result in forfeiture of his pay, which totals $7,959 a month, according to a charge sheet provided by a group sponsoring his defense.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Diane Zimberoff

    Regarding The Birthers, tonight Jeff Toobin referred to each side as the crazies and the sane people. The so called crazies, have what we call in the field of psychotherapy a severe thought disorder. Their thoughts contain hidden underneath a false assumption, which they believe to be true. Perhaps Dr. Sanjay Goopta could teach the public about the mllions of people who have thought disorders.They certainly are dangerous and need to be recognized for who the are.
    Sincerely, Diane Zimberoff, Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor, Issaquah, Wa.

    December 15, 2010 at 2:32 am |
  2. Glen Kelley

    I thought that any child born to an American citizen, no matter where in the world, was automatically an American citizen. John McCain was born in Panama to an American father and mother and is an American citizen. Isn't that the same for President Obama?

    Thanks for again highlighting this issue, this needs to be put to bed once and for all.

    December 14, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  3. Rick

    I cannot believe that this guy would throw his career away for a silly belief. If he had any common sense he would deal with this concern after he retires. He has got plenty book smarts,but zero common sense.big difference.

    December 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  4. Karen

    It would seem that this officer is suffering from PTSD from his first deployment.
    It would be imasculating in military culture to refuse deployment and I believe he may be using this Obama thing as smoke to cover his feelings about going back to a war zone.

    December 14, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  5. Bob

    I watched the report this evening, and I have to disagree with Thomas Kenniff, when he said that the legitamcy of where President Obama was born is not a factor in this case (I know he said not an issue for the jury.), but if is a factor on whether or not is was a legal order. If President Obama was not a born citizen of the United States of America, he can not be elected to the presidential office. There fore the order was not a legal order. although the state of Hawaii has shown a document of Live Birth is not the birth certificate. President Obama, has on numerous occasions, refused to show any Certificate of Birth at all and feels he does not have too. If asked to do so, he must show proof to validate his election to that office.

    December 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  6. Connie Morris

    I think the Lt. Col Terrence Lakin is quite insane. I have been around for a while and last I heard and thought, Hawaii is part of the
    50 states. There is nothing to prove!!!!!!

    December 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  7. bob rice

    As to the certificate of live birth that Mr. Obama has, my daughter received the same when she was born in Germany. This certificate was issued to children born in Germany whose parents are American citizens by birth. She received her Birth certificate from the State of New Jersey, which we had to apply for once we returned to the U.S. Question, was both of his parents American citizens?

    December 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  8. David

    the soldier guy may be nuts but that was not a B-Cert. a B-Cert. is that one with your footprint and your parents sigs. you know the one that your mom has in closet with your baby stuff.

    December 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  9. R Steffke

    Of course the Military requires you follow orders without question. They got us when we were young and stupid to create blind followers.However during mop-up duty on Okinawa in 1945, I was ordered to take a 15 year old Okinawan down the trail and dispose of him. I refused that direct order; the Sergeant that gave the order made many threats, but they were hollow threats for obvious reasons.

    December 14, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  10. Lawrence

    This comment is from one of the "insane" that also believes President Obama is not a US citizen.
    I resent that your guest would call us insane just because we have questions in our minds that go unanswered, such as why does a person that has nothing to hide pays out millions of dollars to lawyers to keep his records hidden? Why doesn't he open up all his documents if in fact he is a citizen. How are all of you going to react when he is found guilty? What will your story be then?

    December 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  11. John Lemos

    Yes Anderson, the Lt. Col. is insane. He is also a coward.

    December 14, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Lawrence sao

    Mr. Cooper

    I was in the army ten years and i have witnessed many racial comments from officers about the president. Now it should be noted officers take an oath. This problem is just a prelude of more to come from senior officials.

    December 14, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  13. Suzi Q

    Maybe I am wrong, but I have always been told that an american citizen gives birth to a child, they are an american citizen. If this isnt true than what about all the children born over seas to military families? Give me a break.

    December 14, 2010 at 10:07 pm |