Lt. Col. Terrence (“Terry”) Lakin
Dr. Terrence (“Terry”) Lakin — then a US Army Lt. Col. Military Doctor — appeared on the scene in March of 2010 with a slick site (SafeguardOurConstitution.com, registered March 23, 2010) and a claim that he planned to refuse deployment or all military orders unless Obama proved his eligibility to be Commander-in-Chief.
Over the coming months he and various spokespersons stated repeatedly that the ‘Long Form Birth Certificate’ would be enough to ‘make this whole thing go away.’ (The already-released COLB was not considered sufficient because it was: simply a ‘digest’ providing insufficient information to serve as a legal birth certificate [false]; ‘just an image on the internet’ [false]; ‘anybody could get one of those’ even if not Hawaii-born [false]; and a LFBC was readily available for a small fee [false].) All this despite the fact that his own birth certificate, which he proudly offered as being available for inspection, was a Colorado COLB similar to Hawaii’s, without doctor or hospital name. Lakin’s parents have gone on record as being Obama supporters (paywall).
Of course the discussion of birth certificates is a red herring anyway. As the drama unfolded, it became clear that military justice views the Officer Oath quite differently than ‘birthers’ do — not as a tool for undermining the Constitution, but rather as integral to discipline and order in the greatest fighting force on Earth. Lakin’s command to report for deployment was not illegal on its face, and would not have been even if it were known that Obama was illegitimate — or even if there were no acting Commander in Chief whatsoever at that moment. Ultimately all arguments related to Presidential eligibility were barred from testimony on Constitutional grounds, and in the end Lakin pleaded guilty and admitted his crimes.
Lakin’s initial spokesperson was Margaret Hemenway, birther writer and daughter-in-law of birther attorney John D. Hemenway. Lakin was first represented by Paul Rolf Jensen, and they appeared on CNN together. Through the Safeguard site Jensen and other individuals backing Lakin — even before he missed his deployment and was charged under UCMJ — were trying to raise as much as $500,000 for his ‘defense.’ It is unknown how close they came to that goal.
Partway through court martial proceedings, Lakin separated from Jensen and got a real military law attorney (Puckett) in an attempt to escape severe punishment. It didn’t work.
Lakin’s court martial concluded in December of 2010, with a sentence of six months’ confinement, loss of pay and pension, and dismissal from service. He was released in May 2011 after serving five months of his sentence.
He remained in the military for a short time pending the appeal to which he was automatically entitled under the UCMJ, and was not paid, promoted, or assigned during that period. He ultimately chose to withdraw the appeal, and was formally dismissed in November of 2011, and has lost the right to be called by his former rank as a result.
Over the months of his drama, the ‘birthers’ reached pinnacles of euphoria, sure that the challenge of a decorated officer would compel discovery of Obama’s history, which Obama would fail at, resulting in his downfall and nullification of the 2008 election. Their disappointment was foreordained, not by conspiracy, but by truth, and the law.
Lakin’s is by some accounts a tragic tale. We may never know to what extent he was coaxed by others who sought a ‘military’ plaintiff with ‘standing’ in order to better attack Obama’s Presidency in the courts; and to what extent he was a fool acting on his own delusions. As far as we know his wife and children are the true victims, as he threw away his pension and an honorable career on a misguided attachment to the lies of strangers. As of this writing (2012) there remain scattered links around birther web sites inviting contributions to his cause; though it is practically certain that others, like World Net Daily, profited from his saga, even while Lakin himself fell into obscurity.
Thanks to BadFiction for much of the above, and to Maine Skeptic for useful edits.