On November 10, 1775, Captain Samuel Nicholas founded two battalions of Continental Marines while he was with the naval infantry in Philadelphia. Roots of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) are traceable to the Continental Marines. USMC is a branch of U.S. armed forces and is primarily responsible for three functions: to support naval campaigns, coordinate use of amphibious equipment and techniques along with Army and Air Force, and the last, but not the least, is to do what is directed by the President of the United States. Not all the modes of discharge are honorable and the worst mode of exit from the Marines is the dishonorable discharge, also known as DD. It is handed over only when a marine is convicted by a general court martial for a major crime like murder, sexual assault or desertion.
1. Clayton J. Lonetree
Clayton J. Lonetree was born in 1961 and served in the 1980s as a Marine Corps Security guard at the Embassy of the United States in Russia. He is the first marine to be dishonorably discharged. He was convicted of espionage. When posted in Moscow, he was seduced by a 25-year-old female Soviet officer, Violetta Seina. She blackmailed him when he was assigned to Vienna, Austria. He confessed that he sold documents, including the blueprints of the American Embassy buildings in Vienna and Moscow, and the names and identities of the American undercover intelligence agents. He was dishonorably discharged and sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment. General Alfred M.Gray Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, wrote to the Secretary of the Navy that, the marine’s action ‘was not treason or greed, but rather the lovesick response of a naive, young, immature and lonely troop in a lonely and hostile environment.’ His sentence was reduced to 15 years but he was released after serving nine years of imprisonment.
2. Randy Orton
Randy Orton was born to Elaine and Bob Orton on April 1, 1980 in Knoxville, Tennessee. His parents, having the first-hand experience of the hardships of wrestling, wanted to keep their son away from it. Orton attended Hazelwood Central High School and participated in amateur wrestling. Having graduated in 1998, he entered the Marine Corps and received a bad conduct discharge. He held the World Heavyweight championship at the age of 24 years, as the first ever youngest person to hold the title. He was cast in the movie Marine; Home front, but the U.S. Marines reacted and remarked ‘WWE demonstrated poor judgment in signing Randy Orton for the 3rd installment of the film … Despite Randy’s popularity, the fact that he was dishonorably discharged from the USMC made it inappropriate for him to be cast in this film.”
3. Joshua Kruzik
Joshua Kruzik belongs to Lansford. He graduated from Panther Valley High School and joined the Marine Corps in 2007. While on six months training, he was staying at the Marine base in Twenty-nine Palms, California with his Marine friends. On November 19, 2010 Kruzik’s friends left their 19-month-old child, Audrey Allen, in his care. On November 20, 2010 Kruzik was arrested. Audrey was murdered brutally by Kruzik and he was convicted of the crime. Lisa Muscari, the Deputy District Attorney remarked, ‘We felt like the verdict was justice for little Audrey … She had been horribly brutalized and the defendant was held responsible.’ He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps.
4. The Camp Pendleton Marine
A female Marine, assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics, Squadron 39, had been convicted by a special court martial. The military judge, Lt. Col. Leon Francis, is said to have convicted her for making false statements, obstructing justice and attempting adultery. The woman, whose identity has been withheld, stated instead that she had been raped by another Marine, whose identity has also been withheld. Her defense council, Capt. Rafiel, stated, ‘It was not consensual. It wasn’t romantic. It wasn’t an affair. It was rape.” According to prosecution, she claimed rape after she was charged with adultery. She faced a dishonorable discharge with one year’s imprisonment on board a U.S. Navy or Coast Guard Vessel.
5. Damon Werth
Damon Werth was born to a retired officer of the British Special Air Force, in Michigan. Werth wanted to be a soldier, but he had a rare type of anemia, which was an obstacle. To overcome it, he used steroids and some masking drugs to conceal the usage of the steroids. This not only helped him join the Marines but also helped him excel in quite a few areas. When captured in Iraq, he overcame the captors and rescued his three colleagues, bringing them safely to the base camp. A senator called him the Silver Star, but did not recommend him for his promotion to sergeant, on account of his deteriorating mental health. He was in the end discharged dishonorably.
6. Jonathan Markert
Jonathan Markert was a Marine who accidentally shot his fellow marine dead while both of them were being transported for gate guard duty on Camp Hansen in Okinawa. Both of them playfully pointed their loaded guns toward one another, when Markert accidentally shot his fellow marine in the back of head. The victim, Lance Cpl. Scot Oldroyd, was conveyed to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa, but he could not survive. The 20-year-old marine Markert pleaded guilty of accidentally killing the 20-year-old fellow Marine Scott Oswald. Markert was sentenced to three years of imprisonment with dishonorable discharge.
7. Charles Chi-Tat Ng
Charles Chi-Tat Ng was born to an executive, a martinet father in Hong Kong on December 24, 1960. He had a troubled childhood and was expelled from many schools and was a university drop out. With the help of a recruiting sergeant, he succeeded in entering the Marine Corps, although he was not an American Citizen. According to his documents, he was born in Bloomington, Indiana. Before completing one year’s service, he was dishonorably discharged for stealing a heavy machine gun. He was later on believed to be a serial killer who killed more than 20 people. He was convicted of 11 murders and is presently on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
8. Nicholas Howard
Nicholas Howard was gunnery in charge of the Marine Corps recruiting in Alaska. On December 31, 2011, he was involved in a sexual assault at a restaurant in Wasilla. He faced a Military Trial in San Diego, when a 23-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault. He was found guilty of first degree sexual assault. The Anchorage Police took a long time for DNA testing, therefore the Marine Corps offered to expedite the testing, whereupon testing was handed over from police to the Marine Corps. The act was confirmed after DNA testing and he was stripped off his military rank and privileges. He was dishonorably discharged. Although a 10- to 15-year imprisonment was recommended, he was not imprisoned at the discretion of the military court.
9. Chad W. Pratt
Chad W. Pratt was a 20-year-old Marine who had served in a combat tour in Afghanistan. He attended a party in East Newark Avenue and was showing his loaded gun to a friend when he involuntarily fired it. He was drunk at the time of firing, which hit 20-year-old Clara R. Hardin, who died after two days. Judge of the Military Court, Sam Cozza, remarked, ‘This was an act of complete and total criminal stupidity at the very least.’ He was sentenced to two years of imprisonment with dishonorable discharge for the fatal shooting.
10. Sgt. Gary Stein
Sgt. Gary Stein was a Marine who behaved in a very unsocial manner on the most popular social medium, Facebook. He called his Facebook page ‘Armed Forces Tea Party.’ He called President Obama a ‘liar’ and a ‘domestic enemy.’ He also demanded to see the President’s birth certificate. Stein also commented that ‘he would not follow the President’s orders and put the commander-in-chief’s face on a Jackass movie poster.’ He was dishonorably discharged for his disrespectful comments. The Marine Corps stated that ‘An other-than-honorable discharge is given to a Marine who commits a ‘serious offense’ that significantly differs from conduct expected of a Marine.’
It is only in rare cases that a lenient view of the dishonorable discharge had been taken. President Ford, by Presidential Proclamation, granted a presidential pardon to the military personnel who resisted the Vietnam War. Their punitive discharge was changed to a Clemency Discharge. Conventional stance is very strict about it. At a White House press conference President Obama said that U.S. military personnel found guilty of committing sexual assault will be ‘prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired and dishonorably discharged.’ A dishonorably discharged marine is prohibited by law to possess any firearms and, in some states, is even deprived of civil rights.