Different spanks…

| November 7, 2020

ninja sends in this article from Stars and Stripes.

A Marine lieutenant colonel found guilty of stealing hundreds of dollars in merchandise from a base exchange in South Korea has escaped punishment, according to a published report.

Lt. Col. Samuel K. Lee, 47, was convicted Sept. 11 at Camp Foster, Okinawa, of two counts of violating Article 121 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or larceny of non-military property valued at $1,000 or less, the military news website Task & Purpose reported Thursday, citing court records.

Lee, a logistics officer for Marine Forces Korea, stole a 4K ultra high definition wire-free security camera system, Apple Airpods with a wireless charging system, Bose noise-canceling headphones and Estee Lauder ReNutriv Ultimate Diamond energy cream between Nov. 1, 2019, and March 8, 2020, according to the report, which cited Marine officials with knowledge of the charges.

A conviction for theft at or under $1,000 could bring a bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for one year, according to the manual on courts martial.

However, the judge in the case “did not impose punishment,” according to the Corps’ report on court-martial dispositions for September, “consistent with the plea agreement.”

Lee remains on active duty and is stationed at Marine Corps Forces Korea, spokesman Capt. Joseph Butterfield wrote in an email Thursday to Stars and Stripes.

A legal scholar contacted by Stars and Stripes said Lee escaping punishment is out of the ordinary.

“It is unusual in my mind that a convening authority would protect an officer from punishment under these circumstances,” Crista Kraics, a retired Marine Corps judge advocate, told Stars and Stripes on Thursday by email.

Lee, a former Combat Logistics Battalion 5 commander, has been in the Marines for more than 23 years, Task & Purpose reported. He earns approximately $10,000 per month, according to military pay scales posted to the Defense Finance Accounting Service website.

Kraics said lower enlisted Marines typically receive harsher punishments than the one rendered in the Lee case.

“An enlisted Marine at Special Court Martial, even under a pretrial agreement, would likely receive a harsher punishment and fewer agreed-upon protections for this level of larceny,” she said.

Decisions like the one in the Lee case “absolutely” erode morale, Kraics said.

“When senior officers commit misconduct, the first question that springs to mind is how many junior Marines has this officer been responsible for punishing for equal or lesser crimes,” she said. “Officers should be held to the highest of standards, as we learn from commissioning and throughout our career.”

Looks like Lee won’t be getting his wings (I read elsewhere he was on the list, now removed, for colonel).

This reminds me very much of a couple years back when an Air Force first lieutenant was restricted to base for 30 days and reprimanded after strangling a Korean cab driver when he was out after curfew. Meanwhile, at the same time, a harsher sentence were imparted on an E-4 who stole a blanket.

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Crime, Guest Link, Korea, Marines, ninja

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Hack Stone

Man, Hack Stone would have loved to be the Officer Of The Day who got to sign this guy’s restriction papers. Then he could spend two hours every evening picking up cigarette butts in the Battalion Headquarters parking lot.


Different spanks for different ranks


The LTC, a Logistian, earns about $10,000 a month, yet he felt compelled to steal from the Base Exchange items that cost less than $1000?

“4K ultra high definition wire-free security camera system, Apple Airpods with a wireless charging system, Bose noise-canceling headphones and Estee Lauder ReNutriv Ultimate Diamond energy cream”..

Estee Lauder ReNutriv Ultimate Diamond Energy Cream?

Additionally, the irony he stole a Security Camera System?

Am wondering if he pleaded having a Mental/Personality Disoder, i.e. being diagnosed as having Kleotomania…

OR…did any of his Family Members steal those items and he was held accountable for their actions?

Something is very bizarre about this.

What kind of message is his Chain of Command or the Marine Corps sending out to Junior Enlisted or even the LTC’s subordinates?

So Sad.



Gee, I was always told officers were held to a “higher standard”.
When I was in Germany some new Pv2 in the company stole one of those .99 cent plug adapters for the German wall sockets from the PX. Kid ate a field grade, busted to E1, 45 and 45, yada yada.


Really inspires trust, doesn’t it? 😉


A few rules I learned in the army.

#1. If you are going to do stupid sh!t, don’t do it on base or with other military folks. Take no videos or selfies while doing same stupid sh!t.

In fact, do it as far from base as possible.

Hack Stone

During Hack’s last tour on Okinawa, a Lt (can’t remember if he was a 2nd or 1st) got busted for swiping a wallet insert that holds your credit cards from one of the Exchanges on the island. Probably would have run him maybe $5. Great way to piss away that career.

Of course, the greatest ritual military career suicide occurred when the Assistant Secretary Of The Army was busted stealing ladies undergarments from the Belvoir Exchange. That may have been back in 1999 or 2000.

Prior Service

It was 1993 at the Fort Myer PX. It caught my eye because I was stationed there until 90. I did have to google the year though!

Hack Stone

Hack Stone stands corrected. 1993, start of the Clinton Administration, they didn’t ask, he didn’t tell.


To-Go West

USMC Steve

Hey, maybe his wife needed new skivvies, Hack?


Is it different spanks for different ranks. Or are they trying to racially balance “justice” outcomes in the military now also.

Prior Service

Speaking from five enlisted years and twenty-six commissioned years, I say hammer him.


In the words of LGEN Ayers (USMC ret), in a HEAVY Brooklyn accent:



The judge should be required to post his sentence reasoning publicly, in writing, for peer review.


If they made a habit of making “twenty at hard labor” examples out of shitbag officers, a whole bunch of shitbags would likely find some other line of “work” , much to the benefit of the Armed Forces.

Neither Justice nor Good Order and Discipline were served by the above cited farce. The perpetrators of that farce should be prosecuted for it.


I thought this type of bullshit was a no-go
With the devil dog core ????


The “Stars and Stripes” article contains an error. And that error hides the reason this . . . individual was let off IMO far to leniently. The article implies that LtCol Lee could have received a bad-conduct discharge. That is incorrect. Commissioned officers cannot receive either a reduction in rank/grade or a bad conduct discharge as the result of any court-martial. If sentenced to a punitive discharge by a court-martial, a commissioned officer (or commissioned warrant officer) is dismissed. See RCM 1003(c)(2), page II-150, of the 2019 Manual for Courts Martial. A dismissal is the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge. While I’d have had little problem with seeing that happen here (commissioned officers should be held to a higher standard and hammered for misconduct), his plea agreement may have disallowed that. Further, I’d guess most general court-martial judges/panels would also fail to order dismissal for such a relatively minor crime. Doing so would arguably be overkill. In any case: Lee was tried by a Special Court Martial, so his getting a punitive discharge wasn’t an option. No court martial can reduce a commissioned officer in rank/grade (see the same page in the 2019 Manual for Courts Martial cited previously). So even without a plea agreement, a court-martial couldn’t have reduced him in grade. His court martial could have imposed forfeitures (full or partial) and confinement. However, either the judge/panel chose not to or the plea agreement precluded same. Personally, I’d say a reduction in rank of at least 1 grade… Read more »


I saw a blurb in the British Courts Martial results list that had a army major stripped of a couple yrs of seniority – very interesting.

Mike B USAF Retired

Funny seeing the Commandant of the Marines is calling for an end of fired officers getting a “Free Pass” per se and calling for enforcing adverse Fit Reps.

Then this guy gets a pat on the wrist. Unless all this transpired before the Commandant said this type of BS needs to end.



Per Mason’s second link above, Lee’s conviction occurred on 11 September 2020. The USMC Commandant’s letter on the subject you reference was apparently dated nearly a month later – 9 October 2020.

Mike B USAF Retired

Thank you…..

Wonder if this is one of the things that pushed the Commandant to make this policy change…..?

5th/77th FA

All of this type crime, too, will be gone as soon as all of those Rebel Flags have been removed from all of the bases. Oh…and take down that statue that is right outside the gate.

Imma wid ninja on this too. Dude make 10 large a month and swipes a security system?!? ?!?DaHell!?! And some lotion? Energy cream? Wonder what part of the body he was applying THAT to? Make him the SLJO for what’s left of any enlistment he had and send this bitch home. I hate a thief.



At least he won’t make bird colonel, so punishment in a way in the pocketbook. 0-5 retirement ain’t too bad at all – I’m sure he’ll survive somehow. I wish mine was that good.


Figure his stupidity cost him around $160,000 in future retirement earnings. Must have been one heeluva TV.


Assuming this ‘fine fellow’ lives another 30 yrs after retirement, it seems like closer to 500k to 600k in today’s dollars.

Mustang Major

Army LTC Christopher James DeMure, a battalion commander assigned to Ft. Richardson, Alaska, was arrested for fraud in 2018. I haven’t read of a conviction or sentence since the news of the arrest. Anyone know what the status of that case is?


Mike B USAF Retired
Mike B USAF Retired

Here’s another link and the PDFs can be opened and are safe. Apparently he pled guilty to wire fraud etc. But is arguing over the amount to be paid.

Doesn’t really say anything else that I saw on impact to his career.


This link has a PDF on the 21 July 2020 entry which can be opened and is also safe giving a recommended 18 month sentence of home confinement. It’s 21 pages long and gives a lot of details.



Looks like Demure lost his argument for reduction in restitution amount:


He’d also requested a modification in sentence – apparently he asked the court to add one day to his confinement (he seems to have been sentenced to serve exactly one year) so he’d be eligible for “good time” credit. That also appears to have been denied.


Both orders are dated 13 Oct 2020.

Mustang Major

Thanks for the updates, gentlemen. Looks like LTC Demure 1) ruined his Army career, 2) paid back ill-gotten gains, 3) spent every penny he had on legal fees.

Interesting to see how PTSD and other trauma allegedly turned out as factors in his committing his crimes.

I wonder if Demure was a barracks thief during his West Point days.


Major fuck up by the prosecution. This clown needs to fry.


Sounds to me like mental illness. Maybe kleptomania.

Honor and Courage

Maybe he was a Democrat! They have a different justice system.I see a Pentagon assignment in the future!

USMC Steve

That is one tradition the Suck will never do away with. Senior enlisted and officers committing various crimes short of murder, and getting away with it with nothing more for punishment than not getting their end of tour award. At least this guy is not getting promoted. That is harsh.