UPDATE: A spokesman for the U.S. Navy on Sunday denied reports that disciplinary charges will be filed against Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White for discharging an unauthorized weapon on federal property.
According to a post of Facebook and other social media sites, a statement reads, “Stories of Navy personnel being charges with an offense are not true. There is still a long way to go in reviewing the facts of this tragic incident, but at this time we can confirm no service member has been charged with an offense.”
Several news outlets, including this one, jumped on a report by national columnist Allen West on Saturday that stated he was enraged after he had confirmed that LTC White, who drew his personal sidearm in the July 16 terrorist attack on a Navy Reserve Center in Chattanooga, would face a reprimand and could possibly be court marshaled.
The reaction by the public was immediate after the columnist West urged readers: to “Flood the phones of SecNav Ray Mabus and SecDef Ash Carter and ask them whose side they’re on. Demand the charges being brought against Lt.Cmdr White be immediately dropped. If those charges are not dropped, (Allen West) will personally lead the charge to have Carter and Mabus removed from their positions.
West, a former Lt. Colonel in the Army writes, “There are things which make you just upset, like the liberal progressive left and media accomplices’ rage over the shooting of a lion in Africa but abject disregard and disdain reference Planned Parenthood dismembering babies and selling their body parts. But this story has me dog fighting mad and seriously p***** off.”
The former Congressman also wrote, “What kind of freaking idiots are in charge of our Armed Forces — pardon me, our ‘unArmed Forces’? What would they prefer that (the killer) Abdulazeez had been able to kill all the Marines and Sailors at the Naval Support Reserve Center? Let me draw an interesting contrast: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is more concerned about lifting the ban on transgendered Sailors.”
Mark Caldwell, whose highly acclaimed “Patriot Post” is known for its keen insight on political and military issues, was leery after reading West’s column and posted this on his website Saturday:
“In our PatriotPost.US commentary on the Islamist assault in Chattanooga on 16 July, we noted that sources advised there were at least two personal weapons belonging to military personnel, which were recovered at the Reserve Center. We also noted the unfortunate restrictions against such weapons, and that if there were personal weapons in the possession of some military personnel on the scene, that would be a UCMJ violation. BY LAW, Navy JAG will be obligated to review the case. Navy JAG can't pick and choose which felony violations they will review and which they won't, nor should they be condemned for being obligated to review this case.
“Indeed, Lt. Cmdr. Tim White has now indicated that he was in possession of a personal weapon and did return fire, either suppression cover fire to allow his personnel to take cover, or perhaps he fired directly at the assailant. Again, by law, this would be subject to review -- and that has been understood from the moment personal weapons were recovered,” The Patriot Post.
“I would hope that White would not be subject to any punishment under the circumstances, but my friend Allen West has trumpeted what WE ALL ALREADY KNEW -- there is a constitutional obligation to review this case. West knows this and frankly, the email in question, however well intended, looks a lot like a publicity stunt.”