Monday, July 11, 2005

2LT Teddy Pataki, USMC, controversial start to career

You can tell that the United States Marine Corps was quite proud that New York Governor George Pataki's son Teddy was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant last month. Their press release told the whole story. MAR 2010: Updated link.

I'm impressed. He seems like a fine young man, a natural leader of men, football player, fraternity president at Yale, etc. 'Just the kind of young officer we want leading our young Marines in Iraq.

Then I got to the last paragraph. At age 22, in the prime of life, he plans to defer the real Marine experience to go to Law School? That's part of the deal, I'm told (see comments), but he really should reconsider.

Yes, I know that the Marines will need new lawyers in a few years, etc. But don't you think that 2LT Pataki would have a lot more credibility as a military lawyer with a tour on the ground leading Marines under his belt? OCS Quantico may be tough, but not as tough as Iraq.

His father's political support for the war is not relevant, because 2LT Teddy Pataki is his own man. Teddy: We know it's the deal you signed up for, and that you're not getting paid or anything as part of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). But please consider your country's current needs. Law school will still be there.

You may not be an elephant, and I, for one, know you're not yellow. We are still impressed by your commitment to your country just by your signing up under the PLC-JAG program which allows you to defer your service to go to law school. But you can still make your own decision. Thank you.

Note to media: Look at the press release. 2LT Pataki is a public figure and is even old enough to drink. He can make his own decisions. He'll do the right thing.



At 11 July, 2005 16:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11 July, 2005 16:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New York Press:

At 11 July, 2005 16:31, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11 July, 2005 16:33, Blogger Karl said...


At 11 July, 2005 17:06, Blogger Uranus Hz said...

It is not fair to require that all war cheerleaders should enlist. After all, mabny of them are old, or fat, or simply cannot afford to give up their salaries. So in the interest of fairness, we should provide an optional deferrment. If you are a vocal supporter of the war in Iraq, and cannot or will not serve, you must make a financial contribution to help pay for the war effort. If you don't have any extra money laying around, we should be able to make the case that emminent domain justifies foreclosure on your home, all proceeds of the public auction of said reclaimed property could then go towards paying down the war debt.

At 11 July, 2005 20:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so after all the fanfare, all he did in the military so far is a 10-week course? wow, some sacrifice for your fatherland. no wonder they wrote a 500-word article about him.

At 11 July, 2005 22:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thos fasescists should all be shot

yuk yuk

At 12 July, 2005 07:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was not a deferment. As the USMC public affairs article stated, the Marine Corps needs lawyers too. If you know anything about this, you'd know he did not get a deferment. Either McCarthy misquoted or the governor misspoke. Either way, don't blame 2ndLt Pataki.

You should be citing this as a positive example of OYE. At least, he is willing to serve. Its good for the Corps and the military in general because here is someone of privilege, etc, who is joining. In economic terms, what is the opportunity cost of him becoming a Marine instead of doing whatever Yalies do (making big bucks, become senators, presidents, etc) If you think Gov Pataki's son is not doing right for the US, why don't you go and look up Gov Bush's (Fl) son and see what he's doing. You can find him on Martindale-Hubble. Yeah, that's right, he's a lawyer too. 2ndLt Pataki will be serving and has made a commitment to the US -- be happy with that. Its a bigger commitment than you think.

Marine officers are all line officers (unrestricted), even the lawyers, and this has significance in that he must be able to fight/command regardless of his background. Besides that, even if he decided to switch to another MOS (occupational specialty) he'd have to go through additional training that would take at least another 9 months or more depending on what he does. You can't just send a person off to war with 10 weeks of OCS.

I'm not a Republican, I'm not Pataki, nor do I know Pataki. I am a Marine, but I fortunately (or unfortunately) do not have rich, well-known parents. I'm sure members of the military would be glad to know the public thinks so highly of their service. In case you didn't know, the percentage of combat arms (infantry, etc) military members is not that big. So who do you have serving? You have a bunch of people supporting (aka pogues) the tip of the spear (the grunts) and sometimes you have those people (the pogues) getting in the fight too. Thanks for showing how much you guys care.

At 12 July, 2005 13:18, Blogger Karl said...

Anonymous Marine-

Thank you for your comment, and for your service to our country.

You should know that OYE does care about our servicemembers; that's why we're trying to encourage highly patriotic, motivated young people to consider enlisting.

I certainly understand that the USMC will need lawyers in 2008 (and later) and that 2LT Pataki, who deserves respect for his commitment to service to our country, is not responsible for media or PAO-type errors. I also know that additional training, e.g., TBS (?) at Quantico, would be required in any case.

Were we at peace, I would be cheering for him 100%. Had the Marines not missed their quota this year (for the first time in quite a while), no problem!

But we're not at peace, and our military needs more and better qualified recruits. That's where the responsibility of leadership comes in.

Please take a look at OYE 101 so I don't have to repeat it here.

We're talking about leadership responsibility, or setting an example.

And 2LT Pataki can do a lot more for America asking to be assigned to command troops in the near future than he can going to law school for the next three years.

The fact that the USMC issued a press release strengthens the point.

Thank you again for your comments. Please join us in continuing to encourage well qualified young people to consider serving.


At 12 July, 2005 14:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with anonymous marine over this. Pataki signed up for the PLC-Law program, and was accepted into it with the express intention that he would go to Law School as part of his contract with the USMC upon graduation. He's not asking for a "deferment", in fact that was granted de facto when he signed his PLC contract. Of all the services, the Marine JAG program is among the most unique, because Marine JAGs are considered to be "line officers" unlike all the other branches where JAG is a staff-corps billet and they are not eligible to command other Sailors, Airmen or Soldiers in combat. Marine JAGs can, because they go throught exactly the same pre and post-commissioning training (OCS/TBS) as a "line" officer does.

Had Pataki signed up for PLC-Aviation, he would have gone straight to TBS, and then on to Pensacola for flight school. He would not have reached the "fleet" for anywhere from 18 to 24 more months after TBS, depending on how well the aviation training pipeline was flowing and his "community" (rotary-wing, jets or props (c-130's/OV-10s)) selection. The difference, if Pataki is IRR as the article says, he's not getting paid; if he were partying in the Naval Air Training Command (and I partied a lot there), he'd be getting full pay and allownances plus flight pay.

Pataki is fulfilling his half of the PLC contract. When I first saw this, I was not too happy about it either, but when I read it was a PLC-Law deal, I realized it's just a normal officer-accession path. Whether or not being named Pataki got him into the program, I can't say and won't guess about. But he'll be doing his time soon enough.

I have been in the forefront of those encouraging YR's to sign up or shut up. I'm all for giving 2LT Pataki the benefit of the doubt here. If he asks for a an assignment to a reserve unit or something after law school, well that's another matter altogether.


At 12 July, 2005 14:08, Blogger Karl said...

JF, Anonymous Marine-

Thanks for the clarification. We'll consult with The General.


At 15 July, 2005 14:27, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they need lawyers to defend themselves from WAR CRIMES charges

At 15 July, 2005 16:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 05 August, 2005 16:40, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get your facts before speaking.

First, the quota issue for recruits has nothing to do with Officers. I suspect you have little/no military experience if you are making this mistake.

“And 2LT Pataki can do a lot more for America asking to be assigned to command troops in the near future than he can going to law school for the next three years”

Now this is practically comical, because it shows that you really have no idea how MOS selection works for Marine officers.

People don’t just sign up to be infantry, or Arty. They have to fight for those spots, as they are currently some of the most coveted slots out of TBS. Marine officers, except for pilots, NFO’s, and lawyers, don’t have any idea what MOS they will get until the end of TBS. That’s right, you can’t just ask to go lead a platoon into combat (many people ask for exactly that, and can’t because there aren’t enough slots for everyone to do that).

There are also a lot of MOSs that are easier to get and are much less likely to see combat. Currently, Marine Lawyers are often operating in hot areas. And yes, they do get killed. And yes, they do have to sling rounds downrange.

Also, despite what you see on TV, it is hard to LAT move in the Marines to a different MOS. Going to a law contract from a ground/air MOS is extremely difficult, and rarely seen. Why would the Marines want to pay to train someone twice?? If you want to be a Marine Lawyer, you pretty much have to go through the Law Program (or at least enter OCS as a Law Contract).

Thankfully we have people Like T. Pataki. He knows he joined the only service where he is a honest-to-god line officer and a lawyer. He could have joined the Navy as a lawyer where it is almost guarenteed that he wouldn’t actually see combat.

He didn’t.

He could have taken a path of much less resistance and gone on to make a large amount of money as a civilian.

He didn’t.

And Frankly, as a Combat Marine, I am thankful that he is joining us as a Lawyer. We need good people in every MOS, including Law. He is in no way tring to avoid combat. He just wants to be a Marine and a Lawyer. And I find it extremely ironic that all these people who clearly have no military experience, and more importantly no idea of how the Marines operate, want to attack him. Get educated or keep your mouth shut.

At 20 October, 2007 14:11, Blogger OYE said...


Well, by now LT (?) Pataki should have completed two years of law school, set to graduate in 2008.

And, of course, the U.S. is still in Iraq even though the Marine Corps is now trying to switch to Afghanistan exclusively.

Is it because of LT (?) Pataki? We certainly hope not.

At 21 August, 2008 22:00, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marine Officers in the JAG Corps (Law) are no different than any other Officer of Marines... they can be pulled out of their JAG billet at anytime and sent to the front lines.

That is the fundamental difference between being an Officer of Marines in the Marine Corps and in any other service, Marine lawyers are not "sacrosanct"... they are expected to be able to lead combat Marines out in the field, should they be plucked from their existing billet (job) to do so, and then go back to their job.


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