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December 16th, 2010
12:15 PM ET

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

Eliott C. McLaughlin
CNN

(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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