Fmr. Cherry Point Commander Remains In Marine Corps, No Reduction In Rank

A former Cherry Point commander will not be kicked out of the Marine Corps, or lose any rank after pleading guilty Friday in a court martial.

Col. Douglas Denn was removed as air station commanding officer last year after his arrest by Newport police on drunk driving charges.

Denn had already pleaded guilty to charges in civilian court, while the military decided to pursue a court martial.

He pleaded guilty to drunken or impaired operation of a motor vehicle, unbecoming conduct of an officer/gentleman, offensive dereliction of duty, and driving with an open container after consuming alcohol.

After his guilty plea the military judge dismissed the unbecoming conduct charge.

Denn was sentenced to 60 days confinement, suspended for 12 months, fined $10,000, and given a letter a reprimand. He was not removed from the Marine Corps, or reduced in rank though the reprimand letter could likely hinder any future promotions or duty assignments.

Denn, who is an F/A-18 pilot, was accused of not telling his co-pilot the next morning about his DWI arrest as they prepared for flight. Asked by the judge Friday morning why he did it, the colonel said he simply wasn't ready to accept the reality that he ruined his career.


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The former commanding officer at Cherry Point pleaded guilty this morning to four charges, while others pending against him were dismissed.

Col Douglas Denn was arrested by Newport police in October and charged with driving while impaired, speeding and possession of an open container. He was quickly removed from his command. He later pleaded guilty in a civilian court to driving while impaired.

In March, he was sentenced to a 60-day suspended jail sentence and three years of unsupervised probation. His court martial began this week.

Among the charges he pleaded guilty to are drunken or improper operation of a motor vehicle, unbecoming conduct of an officer/gentleman and offensive dereliction of duty.

Later, even though Denn had pleaded guilty, the military judge dismissed the unbecoming conduct charge.

Denn, who is an F/A-18 pilot, was accused of not telling his co-pilot the next morning about his DWI arrest as they prepared for flight. Asked by the judge this morning why he did it, the colonel said he simply wasn't ready to accept the reality that he ruined his career.

Denn will be sentenced today at Cherry Point and now faces up to 16 months in a military prison.



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Military prosecutors say they expect Cherry Point's former commander to plead guilty on Friday.

Col. Douglas Denn was in court today for a hearing in advance of his court martial on charges including driving while impaired, violating an order and dereliction of duty.

Denn was arrested by Newport police in October and charged with driving while impaired, speeding and possession of an open container. He was quickly removed from his command.

In March, he was sentenced to a 60-day suspended jail sentence and three years of unsupervised probation.

Denn is a pilot who was named commander of the Cherry Point Air Station in August 2009, but was stripped of his command shortly after his arrest.

During today's hearing the military judge denied prosecutors request for documents describing Denn's visit with a psychotherapist. Prosecutors say last summer the Marine colonel spent time at a Miami treatment center.

After the hearing prosecutors said Denn is expected to plead Friday, but won't say what those charges are. If convicted of all the charges he faces, the career Marine officer faces a maximum of 21-1/2 years in military prison, dismissal from the Marine Corps and forfeiture of all future pay.



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The former commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point faces court martial proceedings after pleading guilty in civilian court to driving while impaired.

Col. Douglas Denn is scheduled to appear in a courtroom at the base on Tuesday.

Denn was arrested by Newport police in October and charged with driving while impaired, speeding and possession of an open container. He was quickly removed from his command.

In March, he was sentenced to a 60-day suspended jail sentence and three years of unsupervised probation.

Denn is a pilot who was named commander of the Cherry Point air station in August 2009.

He has received numerous decorations, including the Navy Commendation medal with three gold stars and the Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a gold star.



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The case of a former Marine Commanding Officer facing a court martial will proceed next week

The Marine Corps says general court martial proceedings in the case of Col. Douglas Denn will convene at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point on Tuesday.

Denn faces a court martial on charges including driving while impaired, violating an order and dereliction of duty.

Denn was relieved of his command of Cherry Point after he was charged with DWI in October. He pleaded guilty to the charges in civilian court.


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  • by Momof4 Location: Newport on Aug 1, 2011 at 04:32 AM
    to by Jack on Jul 31, 2011 at 12:05 AM in reply to Momof4 . Yes you are right not everyone uses . and thoses that dont should help and do the right thing and take the keys .I do see your point . his keys and wings should be taken after reading what was no reported .A Tragdy waiting to happen but saved . we all make mistakes ,maybe he will do the same for others
  • by The Captain Location: New Bern on Jul 30, 2011 at 12:07 PM
    He can, without a doubt, kiss that star goodbye. And, believe it or not, he was in line to be promoted to BG. What an absolute waste.
  • by momof4 Location: Havelock on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:20 AM
    lol 4u2c urln 4u2nv let me> write so you could understand HE did not kill anyone ,and futher more there a Big pill problem to the 3rd power c or not 2 c .this Commandor D. should help you others with his second chance and bring down a new law operation no pills . I sure get you all mad with the truth , plus I didnt bring up the meth problem opsssssss. did I say that no matter what why you so angry r u taking ritalin or pain med's that r not 4 u . not lol.goto rehab be a hero to all of us get help .Tonight again in Havlock the party goes on
    • reply
      by David on Aug 1, 2011 at 06:13 AM in reply to momof4
      I am scared to know what your 4 children go through. Where did pills come from. Why are you so hung up on pills. Judging from your typing, I see why you are so hung up on them.
  • by Visionquest Location: NC on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:12 AM
    The Marine Corps did itself an injustice by this verdict. Col Denn is an embarrassment and should have been forced to retire at the least. Why let him stay when there is not a single Marine who has any respect for him.
  • by Momof4 Location: Havelock on Jul 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM
    I apolagize for the one's seeing there buds drink or use drug's and dont do nothing .I guess this is the new dont ask dont tell? we are at war let's no beat each other arent we on the same side?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 30, 2011 at 06:12 AM in reply to Momof4
      Momof4: Please stop posting. Your lack of proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization and your rambling are making me wonder if you are on the pills. So far, you have not posted a single comprehensible sentence. Sober up and come back when you can write English properly.
      • reply
        by Momof4 on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:45 AM in reply to
        Let me spell it out for you .I wonder if the Commanders second chance is too clean up . lets hope so .Man we let a real killer go the C. Anthony but you want to hang this guy , Did he bust YOU.
  • by USMC/RETIRED Location: Formerly Cherry Point on Jul 29, 2011 at 08:18 PM
    What kind of a image has this "COMMANDER" and his actions given the Marine Corps. I mean come on.... DUI, open container, and lets throw in flying an aircraft with passengers while intoxicated. He could have killed someone with driving with his BAC where is was. Having a open container in his car when stopped.... that's minor. But flying an aircraft, WITH PASSENGERS".... I've seen far worse punishment for just a DUI hand down to a enlisted E-8. This whole event shows how much of a "double standard" there is in the Marine Corps. He risked his life, and the lives of many others due to his actions. The court martial was a real waist of time.
    • reply
      by Momof4 on Jul 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM in reply to USMC/RETIRED
      Well he was not drunk He was not pulled over by newport police while flying?yes he drinks like lots of Marines do. this man also saved thousands of lives and not on drugs . why do you hate .if this is all true pull over all the cars from newport to havelock from 23:30 to 03:00 hours we wont have anyone seriving not to mention the pill's that kill . we need support not fingers. what can you do to help other on the right track and help the one's in need. or were you railroaded my apologizes if you were . maybe no one was there to help you . but god will Judge us all. if you go by what could of happen well to night someone is drinking or doing drugs then driving . it could happen they could kill someone . that why there should be help, and Newport officer did bring him in .what more do you want more shame on him or his family .He's still a hero and we wont forget it.Are you going to gaurd the streets of Havelock or highway 70 from drunk racers , but the troopers and police will they are also heros that sometimes stop thing before they happen THANK YOU.
    • reply
      by John on Jul 30, 2011 at 12:45 AM in reply to USMC/RETIRED
      I agree Retired. I knew a young Marine, E3, who was arrested for DUI and was busted down, with pay taken, and some other things. This guy was flying a multi-million dollar aircraft, with a co-pilot. He should be restricted from flying, and lose a rank, attend AA, and lose on base driving privileges.
  • by Momof4 Location: Havelock on Jul 29, 2011 at 06:53 PM
    Im so Glad this Man Commander is a real Hero and Noted.( Thank you for serving us) . What we need to do is get rid of the pill problem even parents taking there a.d.d meds and so on those are the real problem in the service . PILL'S KILL and so does a person JUDGEMENT on these drugs like spice bath salts and so on . Marine do Drink since I can remember, but drugs no no no we cant afford that pill kill buddy.Semper Fi
    • reply
      by Jack on Jul 30, 2011 at 12:35 AM in reply to Momof4
      Momof4, I fail to see what you are talking about? Are you actually defending this officer for breaking the law, including the Marine Corps policy agains DWI/DUI? Hero? HE BROKE THE LAW!! And what the heck do pills have to do with anything? Especially parents taking medication? Marines do drink, but that is not the point of this. The point is that this officer broke the law, both civilian and military. He did not get the punishment that junior Marines receive and is still allowed to fly. Stick to the story about the alcohol. Drugs have nothing to do with this. Yes, Marines do illegal drugs, which is against Military regulations/orders, but that has nothing to do with an officer, who is REQUIRED, like all Marines, to maintain a standard of conduct, and being an officer, is held to a much higher standard. You want to see him as a hero? That's fine, but I woulnd't place him on that high of a pedastal for what he did.
      • reply
        by Momof4 on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:28 AM in reply to Jack
        well Jack lets check out Havelock and highway 70 on weekends with the Drinking racing pill popping . lets all thank Jack because Jack dont know Jack.You must not live in Havelock . Were's the Standard of conduct in Havelock ok than I quess we should look the other way like second chances .If the Commander should fry so should all of you that are using.
        • reply
          by Jack on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:05 PM in reply to Momof4
          What are you on? I do not use. I'm in the Corps (not Cherry Point) and I don't look up to people who break the law, drugs or not. All I'm seeing is pills this, pills that. This is not about drugs, it's about a man arrested for alcohol. I know you can get arrested fomr DUI on drugs. All of the retired Marines, and even current Marines are saying that this guy got off way easier than he should. So it's okay for a Colonel, who was arrested for breaking the law, to just lose his command and had to pay $10,000, while junior enlisted are busted down and kicked out? The judge threw out a lot of the charges (like conduct unbecoming an officer) which should have been taken in to account. As to second chances, there are none. If he gets one then everyone else who is charged should get one also. We can't have double standards. And I suggest you learn to use punctuation and stop saying that everyone uses. I'm sick of people saying that everyone uses.
      • reply
        by Momof4 on Jul 30, 2011 at 09:50 AM in reply to Jack
        Hey Jack you can get a Dui Doing Drugs or Drinking . Maybe we sould start a DUI club . Hall of Shame
  • by Retired Gunny Location: Richlands on Jul 29, 2011 at 03:39 PM
    Every Marine that has ever faced this sorry excuse of a Marine Officer in an NJP proceeding should consult a lawyer and have the results over turned. Perhaps this will send a message to the Officer ranks that they are responcible for their actions as well!!!
    • reply
      by Retired Enlisted Marine on Jul 29, 2011 at 05:03 PM in reply to Retired Gunny
      Semper Fi Gunny. I've seen it a million times Officers taking care of there own but hammer the Enlisted.
      • reply
        by Momof4 on Jul 29, 2011 at 06:57 PM in reply to Retired Enlisted Marine
        I wonder if your retired maybe they should watch you . Marine have always walk the line with beer or smokes .This man did no diffrent . but illegal drugs they need a crack down on the pills that are out of your system in 2 or 3 days . who's going to get the ball rolling someone has to
        • reply
          by Jack on Jul 30, 2011 at 12:41 AM in reply to Momof4
          Again, drugs is not the issue with this story. Quit talking about taking drugs off the streets, and what not. This was about a man with a DWI/DUI and not getting what he deserved from it.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 29, 2011 at 03:09 PM
    I've seen LCpls get harsher punishments. Officers looking out for there own. "DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO" Officer Creed.
    • reply
      by Jack on Jul 30, 2011 at 12:36 AM in reply to
      I completely agree Anon.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 29, 2011 at 03:04 PM
    He needs to retire NOW, he is a disgrace to the Marine Corps. His court martial was a JOKE. Any respect any Marine had for him is lost officers watching out for officers.
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