JAG Corps Alumni
The Navy JAG Corps values those who have gone before us – the JAG Corps alumni. Whether they spent an entire 20-plus year career in the JAG Corps or just five years, these men and women are always members of the Navy JAG Corps. Many have gone on to exciting second careers. This section features a few of our Navy JAG alumni. Please check back often to read new profiles.
Capt Alexander Whitaker
Chief of Staff - Berry College
After his command tour at Naval Legal Service Office Southeast, Capt. Alexander Whitaker retired in 2007 and returned to his undergraduate alma mater, where he is now the college's chief of staff. Berry College is a top tier liberal arts college in northwest Georgia that boasts the nation's largest campus and largest student work program. It has an undergraduate student body of over 1,900 students, a $100 million budget, and endowment of over $650 million.
Whitaker's duties include coordinating the activities of the school's governing board as corporate secretary and overseeing various program areas of the college. He is involved in the various legal issues that arise at the school, and also does fundraising. Working as the president's principal assistant and one of the officers of the college, he describes his job as "not unlike a Navy chief of staff, staff judge advocate, and executive assistant all combined. There's never a dull moment."
Whitaker entered the JAG Corps through the Law Education Program, having been commissioned initially in 1982 as a special duty intelligence officer, serving first in USS America (CV-66). He earned his Juris Doctor at the University of Virginia and graduated with honors from the Naval Justice School.
Whitaker's first tour was at Naval Legal Service Office Long Beach, followed by staff judge advocate tours in Scotland and London. An international law subspecialist, he earned his Master of Laws in international and comparative law from Georgetown, and was head of the Law of the Sea branch in the International and Operational Law Division - Code 10 before transferring to Japan as the force judge advocate. In Japan he managed the U.S. lawsuit that shut down the Shinkampo/Envirotech incineration plant, the first tort action overseas of its kind.
After an executive officer tour at Trial Service Office East in Norfolk, Va., he served as deputy assistant judge advocate general for General Litigation - Code 14 before going to command in Jacksonville. When he retired he had over 25 years of service. During his Navy years he had traveled to 27 countries on five continents.
"I always viewed my Navy service as making possible another career of service after I took off the uniform," he said. "I was delighted to have the opportunity to return to my college and give back to the place that I credit in many ways with making my JAG Corps career possible and so rewarding. In the same way, I credit the Navy and JAG Corps with preparing me well for my current responsibilities."
"I am very thankful for the tremendous leaders I had in the JAG Corps to learn from and for the many exceptional shipmates of all ranks I was privileged to work with," he said. He says he continues to stay in touch with those he served with through e-mail and Facebook, and in his travels.
His advice for junior JAG officers? "Cherish the opportunity you have to practice law in direct service of your country: that's not something many lawyers get to do. Appreciate the exceptional quality of those you work for and with, and the camaraderie that you will never replicate in any other setting. And invest yourself fully in those who work for you: you will have no greater satisfaction through the years than seeing them succeed and do great things."
Capt Bill DeCicco
Clerk of Court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Since his retirement in 2001, retired Capt. Bill DeCicco has been the clerk of court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), the civilian appeals court for the military justice system. DeCicco began his career at CAAF just days after he retired from the Navy, having served 26 years as an enlisted sailor and commissioned officer.
As the clerk of court for CAAF, DeCicco is responsible for the administration functions of the court, including scheduling oral arguments, ensuring dockets are updated and decisions are published, issuing all orders and opinions, and editing opinions.
His final assignment in the Navy was as a judge and then as the Chief Judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
"I had many great experiences in my career, but the thing I value most is the service to my country," said DeCicco.
A native of San Francisco, Calif., DeCicco enlisted in the Navy reserve after graduating from St. Mary's College of California. DeCicco served two years before he was commissioned in the Naval Reserve and began law school. He graduated from the University of San Francisco Law School in 1975.
DeCicco's Navy JAG Corps career began at the Naval Legal Service Office in San Diego, Calif. Before heading to his next assignment at the U.S. Naval Support Office in La Maddalena, Sardinia, DeCicco's attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he mastered Italian.
After his assignment in Sardinia, DeCicco headed to Washington, D.C. to serve as an Appellate Defense Counsel at the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. After completing three years as an appellate defense counsel, DeCicco spent a year at George Washington University where he earned his Masters of Law in International Law.
Cdr Ingrid M. Turner
Prince George's County Council - District 4
One could never accuse retired Cmdr. Ingrid Turner of lacking ambition. Just days after Turner's JAG Corps retirement, she was running for public office and three months later she was sworn into public office.
In December 2006, Turner became the first African-American representative for Maryland's District Four on the Prince George's County Council.
Turner is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and she received an MBA from Golden Gate University in 1989. Then she completed her Juris Doctorate from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in 1993.
Turner's first assignment after completing Naval Justice School was at Naval Legal Service Office Southwest, where she served as the legal assistance department head and then senior trial counsel. She ended her 20 years of military service at the Washington Navy Yard where she served as director of Reserve and Retired Personnel Programs (Code 62) at the Office of the Judge Advocate General.
Turner served as a judge advocate from 1993 to 2006, and during that time she witnessed the evolution of the role of women in the Navy and in the Navy JAG Corps. "I left a Navy that was more integrated and had greater opportunities for female advancement," said Turner
As for alumni advice, Turner recommends, "To those who have decided to make the JAG Corps their career, take advantage of all the JAG Corps has to offer. Try to enjoy every moment of your time. It truly is the ride of a lifetime."
For judge advocates who have not yet decided on whether they will make a full career in the JAG Corps, Turner advises, "Take advantage of the mentoring and camaraderie the JAG Corps offers."
RdML David Hardy
Chief of the Record/Information Dissemination Section, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Retired Rear Adm. David Hardy is currently the Chief of the Record/Information Dissemination Section at the FBI where he is responsible for the FBI's Freedom of Information/ Privacy Act, document declassification, and prepublication review programs.
Hardy retired in July 2002 after 25 years as a Navy JAG (plus five years as a Surface Warfare Officer). Hardy became a JAG through the Law Education Program.
In 1972, Hardy earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas Law School in 1980 and his Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1986.
While his career gravitated toward international and operational law positions, he was fortunate to experience a rich variety of jobs. "Each was sufficiently distinct so as to present new challenges and fresh perspectives. I thoroughly enjoyed my work as a trial counsel, learning the inter-agency process and international negotiations while in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and at Naval Forces Europe, and command of a Naval Legal Service Office and Office of the Judge Advocate General's Civil Law Division," said Hardy.
Hardy felt that his time on the E-Ring was challenging and the equivalent of graduate school in learning how government really works. "I have found that the bumps and bruises of the E-Ring were superb preparation for my current position as a senior executive in a civilian agency," said Hardy.
Hardy worked for many incredible senior line commanders and tried to emulate their strengths in both his personal and professional life. "I have always thought that every JAG should serve at sea at some point in their career. Otherwise, I don't believe you can really understand the Navy," said Hardy
"As a staff judge advocate you'll want to satisfy the requests of your commander, yet you must say no when it is appropriate. In those instances, always seek advice of more senior judge advocates, always. If no is the correct answer, then stay the course even if your Chief of Staff gets upset with you. In the end, you will earn true respect and trust from your commander."