by Jere Beery
Sergeant Major Paul Cousins, from Stockbridge, Georgia, served for 27 years in the United States Army. He was awarded 3 Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat during the 2 tours he served in Vietnam.
Paul Cousins is a highly decorated combat disabled veteran with a distinguished military service record who has shed his blood protecting the principles and standards this country stands for. One can only imagine the pain and dishonor this proven American Patriot felt when he was told by a civil court judge that he had no Constitutional Rights in his court room.
Paul Cousins is one of the growing numbers of former military personnel faced with a broken marriage and divorce. Some studies indicate military personnel are 3 times likely to suffer a failed marriage, than non-military.
Sergeant Major Cousins was married for 14 years to a German National who is not a United States citizen. They had no children together. Cousins was not married at the time he was disabled from combat wounds in Vietnam. Yet, this combat disabled veteran was ordered to pay spousal support to his ex-wife directly from his earned disability compensation.
Superior Court, Judge Douglas C. Pullen, presided over the case of Cousins during a contempt of court hearing. A copy of a notarized statement signed by Sergeant Major Paul Cousins of some of the statements that took place in Judge Pullen’s courtroom for that contempt of court hearing in October 2005 can be found attached to this press release.
In the statement, when Sergeant Major Cousins refers to the Federal Regulations which protect his disability compensation from third party awards, Judge Pullen is quoted to say;
“WHEN I WAS ELECTED TO SIT ON THIS BENCH, I STOPPED READING THEM. I DO NOT HAVE TO ABIDE BY ANY FEDERAL OR GOVERNMENT LAW, BECAUSE I AM THE LAW. THIS IS MY COURTROOM AND I CAN DO ANYTHING I WANT TO IN HERE, DO YOU HEAR ME SERGEANT MAJOR? IN MY COURTROOM YOU HAVE NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. I AM THE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND I DO WHAT EVER I WANT TO IN HERE.”
Operation Firing For Effect National Chairman, Gene Simes says his organization is currently monortoring 38 simular cases where veterans’ disability compensation has been misused as a divisable asset in a divorce settlement.
According to Simes, Judge Pullen’s comments are totally unacceptable and Judge Pullen needs to be removed from the bench as soon as humanly possible. Simes is calling for Judge Pullen to step down immeately. “This renagade judge owes Sergeant Major Cousins an appoligy, and I am personnaly going to do everything in my powere to make certain he recieves it.” Simes stated.
Sergeant Major Cousins was ordered to pay his ex-wife $550 a month directly from his VA disability compensation, or go to jail for contempt.
Send your comments to:
Judge Douglas Pullen
P.O. Box 1340
Columbus, GA 31902
Work Phone: 706-653-4273
COUSINS DIVORCE CASE BACKGROUND:
Paul Cousins was ordered in February 1998, by Judge Douglas C. Pullen to pay his former spouse $550 per month from his Military Disposable Retirement Pay. This action is in accordance with USC, Title 10, Section 1408. This Federal Law stated that States courts/judges can only award up to 50% of a military disposable retirement pay and NOT any disabilities compensation.
In July 2003, Cousins came down with prostate cancer, which was caused from Agent Orange from combat in Vietnam. At that time the VA awarded Cousins 100% disability compensation. That action changed his military retirement pay to Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). Now CRSE is a DOD compensation to retired veterans that suffered their wounds in combat. CRSC is a tax-free compensation and it is NOT subject to the Former Spouse Protection Act of USC, Title 10, Section 1408.
In October 2005 his former spouse filed a Contempt of Court order, after waiting for two (2) years after DOD stopped paying her the $550 per month. The DOD stated that she was no longer authorized any of his disability compensation. It was during the Contempt of Court hearing in October 2005 when Judge Pullen made those unjust statements in a US Courtroom.
To learn more about this issue, visit; http://jerebeery.com/5301%20Club.htm
OFFE National Public Relations Director
Although Jere Beery only served 4 years in the U.S. Navy, he has an impressive military history. Twenty-seven months of that service was in the combat waters of Vietnam. His first duty station in 1965 was aboard the USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY, (LST-1167) as a Seaman. The WESTCHESTER COUNTY was involved in many operations within the combat waters of South Vietnam and received many awards and accolades for her service. The WESTCHESTER COUNTY was the recipient of 15 Battle Stars for her 19 years of service. LST-1167 was one of only 3 ships of her type to earn 15 Battle Stars (out of over 1200 LSTs built since before WWII).
Beery’s second duty station in 1967 was with the legendary PBRs of the Brown Water Navy. As a volunteer, Beery saw combat on a fairly routine basis with this elite group and their high-speed patrol craft. On March 1, 1968, Beery’s patrol was ambushed by a sizeable force of NVA and Viet Cong. The boat Beery was aboard took two direct RPG hits to her starboard side badly wounding four members of the boat’s crew. Seaman Beery was the most severely wounded and not expected to live. The first RPG had exploded right where Beery was standing as he manned his 50 caliber machine gun. To this day, Beery contributes his survival to the life-saving actions of his patrol officer, LT. RICHARD GODBEHERE and his other crew members. Beery spent the next year and a half hospitalized and recovering from his wounds. THE GODBEHERE PATROL
On November 1, 1968, while Jere Beery was recuperating at NAS Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY was attacked on the My Tho river. At 03:22 in the morning two very large mines were detonated on the ship’s starboard side. 25 men were killed, 17 were the ship’s crew. Several of the men killed that morning were friends and former shipmates of Beery’s. This incident has gone down in history as the greatest loss of life by the U.S. Navy in a single attack during the entire Vietnam War. USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY
In mid-1969, Jere Beery was medically retired from the Navy. His service record reflects 1 Bronze Star, 3 Purple Hearts, and 5 military campaigns in Vietnam. Beery was also rated totally and permanently disabled by the Veterans Administration.
Over the years since Vietnam, Jere Beery has attempted to do some things many thought impossible for someone with physical injuries such as his. During the early 80s, Jere Beery, as a member of the Screen Actors Guild pursued a brief career in the motion picture business as an actor. Beery landed a few small parts in a number of movies and television programs. On several occasions, to the amazement of many, Beery even executed his own stunts.
In 1986, Jere Beery gave up his career in the movies to crusade for his fellow veterans. Since that time, veteran’s rights advocate Jere Beery has been a noted driving force in the Veteran’s Rights Movement and effort to improve services for our veterans. Beery’s efforts have been extremely well documented and many articles have been written about his quest. A few of these articles can be found on this page. You can also type the words “Jere Beery” into any search engine to find out more about Beery’s efforts. www.google.com
Jere Beery’s multifaceted story is truly an amazing one. From his survival in Vietnam to risking additional injury executing stunts in the motion pictures, to fighting to protect the benefits earned by our troops, Jere Beery has forged his own trail and continues to amaze and baffle many.
– Place and Date of Birth: Orlando, Fl – 03/13/48
– Raised: St. Augustine, Fl
– Place & Date Enlistment: Jacksonville, Fl – 05/20/65
– Branch of Service: U.S. Navy
– Highest Rate/Rank: E4/PO3/Signalman Third Class
– Duty Stations: USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY, LST-1167 and TF116, River Patrol Force, River Section – 511, (PBRs), Binh Thuy, RSVN
– Date of Discharge: 5/14/69
– Type of Discharge: Honorable, Medically Retired
– VA Rating: 100% Totally and Permanently Disabled
Military Awards and Medals:
– 1 Bronze Star – w/combat “V” Citation
– 3 Purple Hearts – (1/5/68, 2/14/68, 3/1/68)
– Vietnam Service Medal – w/1 Silver Star – (5 military campaigns in-country, RSVN)
– Republic Of Vietnam Campaign Medal – w/1960 device
– Combat Action Ribbon
– Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon
– Presidential Unit Commendation Ribbon
– National Defense Medal
– Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation – Gallantry Cross Medal Color, w/Palm
– Republic Of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation – Civil Actions Medal, First Class Color, w/Palm
– River Patrol Craft Training, (PBR), Mare Island, CA
– Special Weapons Training, Mare Island, CA
– J.E.S.T. (Jungle Environmental Survivor Training) – Cubi Point, Philippines
– S.E.R.E. (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Training) – Whidbey Island, Washington State
– Vietnamese Language – Mare Island, CA.