By Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown, Army News ServiceDecember 17, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 17, 2010) -- The Army doctor who disobeyed direct orders from his superiors, refusing to deploy until he saw proof of President Obama's American birth, was sentenced to six months in prison and discharge from the Army Thursday.
In court-martial proceedings which began Tuesday at Fort Meade, Md., Lt. Col. Terrence L. Lakin, a flight surgeon formerly assigned to the DiLorenzo Health Clinic at the Pentagon, was found guilty of two violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: disobeying lawful orders, and missing his flight to Fort Campbell, Ky., for the purposes of deployment.
Lakin had faced a maximum of three years confinement if convicted on both charges, but received a six-month sentence instead.
Maj. Gen. Karl Horst, commander of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region has to sign off on the sentence, and Lakin can immediately appeal upon Horst's approval.
Lakin testified Tuesday that the period between March 30 and April 12, was "a confusing and emotional time" for him. That was when he decided to disobey orders. He also said he was doing a lot of "soul-searching," yet he believed he did what was necessary to confirm a valid chain of command.
But during the court-martial on Wednesday, Lakin pleaded with the jury not to discharge him from the Army.
"I don't want it to end this way," Lakin told the jury Wednesday, according to an Associated Press story. "I want to continue to serve."
He agreed that the Army was the wrong place to raise his concerns about the President's legitimacy, and he regretted his decision to disobey orders.
With 17 years of active-duty service, Lakin's sentence comes with forfeiture of his military pension and a salary of more than $7,000 per month.
He is set to begin serving his sentence immediately.