Military Retirees Can Be Court-Martialed After All, Appeals Court Decides

| February 1, 2020

Poetrooper sends us an interesting article on how Navy and Marine retirees, who actually aren’t retired in the true sense of the word until they reach the 30 year mark, may still be Court- Martialed for criminal offenses. Fair? I think so, and y’all may as well when you read the article.

By Hope Hodge Seck

In the latest turn of a dramatic and winding court saga, a naval appeals court has released a split decision finding that a Navy retiree was properly court-martialed and convicted for a crime committed after he had left active duty.

The en banc decision was published Jan. 24 by the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, with four judges agreeing with the final decision and three others dissenting. The matter concerns retired Chief Petty Officer Stephen Begani, who pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault and attempted sexual abuse of a child in December 2017, after corresponding and making plans with a Naval Criminal Investigative Service undercover agent pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.

Begani had already transferred to inactive status in the Fleet Reserve following 24 years on active duty at the time of the crime, and appealed his conviction on the grounds that it was unconstitutional to court-martial active-duty retirees like him when retired reservists were not subject to court-martial.

In an Aug. 9, 2019, decision described as a “bombshell,” the NMCCA agreed with Begani, overturning his sentence of 18 months’ confinement and a bad-conduct discharge.

Related: New ‘Bombshell’ Legal Opinion Says Military Retirees Can’t Be Court-Martialed

The victory, however, would be short-lived.

In October, the appeals court withdrew its opinion, setting up conditions for reconsideration and an overturn, which came four months later.

Begani’s attorney, Navy Lt. Daniel Rosinski, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the development and whether he plans to appeal the reaffirmation of his client’s sentence.

Delivering the majority opinion of the court, NMCCA Judge Navy Capt. Jonathan T. Stephens wrote that the decision was based in part on Begani’s membership in the Fleet Reserve, where, although functionally retired, he continued to receive some “retainer pay” and base privileges.

Members of the Fleet Reserve and the Marine Corps equivalent are enlisted and have more than 20, but less than 30, years of service; they are transferred to the retired list and receive retired pay when they hit the 30-year mark. The Air Force and the Army don’t have comparable retired Reserve contingents.

The Defense Department’s interest in maintaining authority over this group is tied to its need to be ready to fight in case of a major crisis or catastrophe, Stephens wrote.

“It appears plain that Congress intended for Fleet Reservists to be among the first ‘retired’ Service Members to be drawn from,” he said. “No declaration of war or national emergency is required by Congress. No other legal precursors are required. The Secretary of the Navy can return Appellant, and any other members of the Fleet Reserve, to active duty with a mere signature.”

I recall a whole lot of Chiefs and PO1s on Fleet Reserve were recalled to active duty when four Iowa-class fast battleships originally built during World War II— USS Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin—were taken out of mothballs and returned to active duty in the 1980s. Can’t imagine they were real happy about it, but read the fine print before you sign on the line and raise your right hand. In a way, its a compliment- your country needs your skill set, now turn to, Sailor!

Read the entire article here: Military Daily News

Thanks, Poe!

Category: Guest Link, Marines, Navy

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All I know about this is that my retirement DD214 issued in 1991 had another nine years tacked on to the Reserve Obligation (since careerists have to put in 30) and it was explained that perhaps a set of “Hip-Pocket Orders” could come in the mail at anytime.

Only when that nine plus years had elapsed could I consider myself fully “Retired” and not in a file drawer somewhere subject to recall./s


Oops, added: I was Army Enlisted.


Sounds like I need to go check my 214 as well…retired since 2013.

Comm Center Rat

I’m on the Army of the United States (AUS) Retired List. I think I’m subject to involuntary recall to active duty until age 60.

Never really understood “retainer pay” converting to “retired pay” after 30 years. Seems like all the military departments should be standardized since the Uniform Code of Military Justice purports to be “Uniform” in its application.

MSG Eric

General Schoomaker, 4-star former Chief of Staff of the Army was recalled to active duty after he was recalled to be the CSA for 4 years. He was 57 when recalled to active duty and retired the second time at 61.

Bottom line is, if the military wants you back, you are coming back. If the military wants to screw you, it will screw you even after you’re dead. (Which usually just means a bunch of dirtbag bureaucrats want to fuck with you more and will do so regardless of any other priorities.)


That was fairly common for flag officers. As I was reminded yesterday, Fleet Admiral William Leahy was recalled by FDR to AD in 1942, having retired after 42 years of service in 1939.

Also Navy, but Admiral Grace Hopper retired twice and was recalled to AD soon thereafter. She was even kept on long after the mandatory retirement age.


yes, my 214 stipulates a recall rule until age 60..which alas…is next year!


IMHO, I think the title of the article is misleading.

I think the ruling only affects Enlisted Members of the Fleet Reserve and the Marine Corps equivalent who have more than 20 but less than 30 years of service.

I don’t think this pertains to Active Duty Navy and Marine Corps Retirees as well as Army and Air Force Active Duty and Reservists Retirees.

If I am wrong, please correct me.

MSG Eric

Well just wait, I’m sure there will be some scumbag lawyers who will use to screw with other members as well!


What I am reading is that Enlisted Members of the Fleet Reserves are not considered “Retired” until they reach 30 years.

The Guy committed the offense AFTER he left Active Duty.

Please read my comment on this post about the Army 2 Star General who abused his daughter while he was on Active Duty. He was brought back on Active Duty to face a Court Martial, which was dismissed by the Military Justice system.

However, the State of Virginia got him and he is still in Jail awaiting trial.

If the Army GO sexually abused his daughter AFTER he retired, he probably would not have been brought back to Active Duty to face a Court Martial. But justice prevailed since the State of Virginia has a different ROE.

Same if that GO had murdered someone AFTER he retired. The Army would not have brought him back on Active Duty to Court Martial him. Maybe they would have if he murdered someone while he was serving on Active Duty.

Does that make sense?


5th/77th FA

“…read the fine print before…” ALWAYS! Bet rgr769 could weigh in on that subject.

Dumbass tried to screw some underage girl and is now screwed by Big Navy. And a good chance more screwing from his new bunk mates is upcoming. Way to screw up your life and piss away your service. But if you were soliciting children for sex, that tells me you were a sh^tbag that needs to die anyhow. I still gots some more rope…and piano wire.

Lubs the shot of the Floating Artillery Platform delivering some volley fire. Hubba Hubba.

Bill R.

Both my father and I retired from the Air Force. Well before I was even old enough to enlist I knew about the 30 year commitment. Less widely known is the fact that Congress can call someone back even after that. This is nothing new. My father retired in 1966 from a career that began in July of 1942.


In 2017, the US Army recalled a Retired Two Star General Officer to Active Duty to Court Martial him for sexually abusing his daughter while he was on Active Duty:

“In Rare Spectacle, Army Court-Martials A Retired General”

The US Army DISMISSED the case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled there should be a five-year statute of limitations on rape charges.

That rule only applied to the Military System Justice. The State of Virginia said the 5 year rule for rape charges does not apply to Virginia State Laws.

So, as of 28 January 2020, the Retired US Army Two Star General Officer STILL remains in custody at the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center in Virginia:

“Retired General Remains in Jail as Rape, Incest Trial Postponed Again”

You can see the Retired MG’s Mugshot picture at this link as well as background information on the story:


I found out this week one of my former(long retired) COs now farms legal marijuana in coastal British Columbia. Good investment!

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

I guess I’m safe from being recalled at 74.


In the 1950s, retired RADM Selden Hooper was recalled to AD & prosecuted at court martial after he got busted for soliciting gay sex.

Air Force General Arthur Lichte was recalled to AD a couple yrs ago & retroactively stripped of 2 of his 4 stars by SecDef Mattis. He allegedly coerced a female field grade officer for a few rolls in the hay.

A few yrs ago Ret. GySgt Derek Dinger was recalled to AD & received a sentence of dishonorable discharge at court martial for child pr0n & other charges. The sentence was upheld after appeal. Some of the acts were committed while on fleet reserve & others while on the retired list.

Like I mentioned in the WOT, Chief Gallagher should probably keep his head down.


One can see how times have changed along with perspectives.

RADM Seldon Hooper, a Naval Academy Graduate, who received a Silver Star of WWII, was recalled to Active Duty 8 years after he retired. He was caught being a Homosexual AFTER he retired and was Court Martialed, losing everything to include retirement benefits.

Ironically, he was Court Martialed and convicted under Eisenhower, who committed Adultery (a USMJ Offense) while being a General Officer on Active Duty during WWII.

Fast Forward to present times.

Folks are being recalled to Active Duty for Court Martial because of Adultery or Sexual Misconduct minus Homosexuality.

Times have changed. Perhaps better? It was so sad to read what happened to this 19 year old Navy Sailor from the early 1900s and the punishment he received because he was Gay.

However, he must have known the “rules” back then, so if he chose to break those “rules” (which he did) then in the end, he reaped what he sowed.


I was told from the jump that members of the fleet reserve are still subject to the UCMJ as well as being subject to recall at any time.

I think this is the correct ruling and if holding people accountable for crimes committed while members of the fleet reserve is “screwing” with them…I say screw away.