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by CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.)

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) was approved by Congress in 1950 and went into effect in 1951. Because it does not employ a grand jury before charges can be leveled, it does not contain many of the constitutional protections of civilian courts, although both systems are prone to abuse.

(Nov. 17, 2013) — Convening authorities are prohibited from “ACTING” on a case before the court-martial record is examined and reviewed.

That means the court-martial record must be available to the convening authority and his/her staff JAG.

It is illegal for a convening authority to “ACT” on a case, or as Tim Zeller puts it, arrive at “Final Determinations” on a court-martial before the court-martial record is studied.

Zeller’s dated memo, 11 April 1990, dates both memos Zeller exchanged with Bitoff on that day. Bitoff’s large initialed “B” appears on both criminal instruments.

The “PERSONAL FOR (P-4s),” to Bitoff then carries the date of 11 April 1990 as well as its allied “FINAL DISPOSITIONS” memo. You can tell by reading the content of each.

11 April 1990 is almost five weeks before the court-martial record was ready for anyone’s inspection.

Also this: Recall my court-martial proper ran from Monday 2 April through Thursday 5 April 1990.

So, just six days after my court-martial had adjourned, Bitoff and Zeller unlawfully took “ACTION.”

The above three records are presented in chronological order. Zeller wrote his “FINAL DISPOSITIONS” memo first, the P-4 second (but on the same day). Delivery of the court-martial record is memorialized on 14 May 1990.

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  1. The U.S. Navy can do just about anything you could imagine. Why should we think the U.S. Navy can’t fix LTCDR Walt Fitzpatrick’s false accusations? If Command is aware of this and they obviously are, why aren’t they convening a private counsel to bring Walt in and settle it where it doesn’t have to be public or an embarrassment to Command. If such wrong is done and this was a special case of emotional and dedicated duty to a Command Officer that was murdered by Greek Terrorists that was well liked by the crew and Officers on board, wouldn’t the settling of this prove that dedication to rank and Naval Tradition are at the forefront? Many of us as Veterans leave Military Service whether retired or by choice but we never really leave service in our minds or reality. All the things we do and learn in service go with us for better or worse, most for the better. It makes us stronger and gives us confidence to go through life’s challenges and struggles and to try to keep a willing attitude to help others not just ourselves. I don’t understand what Command is thinking here and why they wouldn’t set up a special case to solve this and put it to rest. If they are afraid to challenge the wrongdoers here it is obvious that they should be court martialed and if not jailed or given firing squad/prison sentences, all retirement and benefits should be taken from these men ESPECIALLY Adm. Bitoff where it is clear that he originated this in it’s entirety. Though he is no longer in Command and doing damage to others and the Navy, it is necessary and proper as a lesson to others coming after him in Command or Enlisted ranks to NOT attempt these things and misuse rank or authority and that there will be consequences! Allowing this to continue does NOT leave a lesson to not do wrong things. Obviously, if the Navy does nothing about this, we have seen a major shift in Naval Procedure and etiquette that is headed in the wrong direction regardless of what present Command thinks or does. To break rank with Naval Tradition invokes mutiny of our Constitution, Sworn Duty, UCMJ and all past tradition to the point on non-sense, which is leading where? In these times, we have to ask about serious questions about not only the criminals in charge but what is happening to out Military Command Structure as running our Military as a “civilian job” is not and will not work. A squadron friend that retired 30 years told me he thought the Command was trying to operate as an environment similar to civilian jobs and he saw the structure degenerate as a result. Too many things are going wrong and having criminal Democrats in charge is only making it worse. Classically, whenever Democrats get in, they gut the Military and reward the most devious of Command that will do anything for promotion rather than follow tradition and duty. I can only hope that someone left in the Navy in Command that is a person of duty and character will go forward to move this case and prosecute the guilty whether or not it was past present time and allow the guilty to be prosecuted for the sake of Walt and Naval Tradition. If our Special Operations Teams “leave no one behind”, then I thinks Walt’s career needs to be rescued and these low character Officers that abused rules, duty and Command need to be brought to justice and pay for their disgrace they have brought to the Navy and return Walt’s name and rank to where it needs to be. When I was in the Navy most of the time things were made right. Where the hell are the real men of Command to stand up for Walt and fix this sham? You know who you are, come forward and act smartly! You took an oath, do something about it! If you allow this, it can and will be allowed to happen to all crews after! What the hell is going on, you can do ANYTHING and you can’t fix this! REVELIE!