Description

    Lee Harvey Oswald Courts-Martial Documents. Lee Harvey Oswald's military career was marred by two courts-martial, both of which occurred in 1958 while Oswald was based in Japan.
    This exceptional lot contains official documents from both of these proceedings, one of which bears his signature.

    April 11, 1958 Court-Martial:
    Partly Printed Document. Two two-sided pages, 8" x 12.5", Atsugi Japan, April 11, 1958. Being the "Charge Sheet" which contains Oswald's typed information as the accused, as well as names of witnesses, information provided by commanding officers, Oswald's punishment, and other remarks. On October 27, 1957, Oswald accidentally shot himself in the left elbow with his personal .22 derringer. Possession of such a firearm was in direct violation of "a lawful general order... by having in his possession a privately-owned weapon that was not registered." Following a three-week stay at the Yokosuka Naval Hospital and various unrelated delays, Oswald's court-martial commenced on April 11, 1958, at which time Commanding Officer and Convening Authority Lt. Col. N.D. Glenn made his judgment. Oswald was demoted from private first class to private and ordered "To be confined at hard labor for 20 days, to forfeit $25.00 per month for two months and to be reduced to the grade of private... Approved and ordered executed, but the confinement at hard labor for twenty days is suspended for six months, at which time, unless the suspension is sooner vacated, the sentence to confinement at hard labor for twenty days will be remitted without further action."

    Attached to this printed form is an 8" x 10.5" carbon onion skin of a typed statement issued by Lt. Col. Glenn on May 10, 1958, explaining the delay of Oswald's hearing. Also included is an unattached 8" x 10.5" carbon onion skin of a typed statement by Oswald's supervisor, Captain Francis J. Gajewski, who notes that Oswald "has done very good work for me. I would desire to have him work for me at any time... While I have known him he has given me the impression that he minds his business and does his job well. If I were to rate him for conduct and proficiency at this time I would award him 3.9 for proficiency and a 4.0 for conduct." These three items are in generally good condition, bearing several creases and folds, staple marks, punch holes, and small tears.

    June 24, 1958 Court-Martial:
    Partly Printed Document Signed. Two two-sided pages, 8" x 12.5", Atsugi Japan, June 24, 1958. This "Charge Sheet" contains Oswald's typed information as the accused, the names of witnesses, information provided by commanding officers, Oswald's punishment, and other remarks. Just two months after his first court-martial, Oswald was brought before a second military court on charges that he insulted and assaulted a superior officer.

    For several weeks prior, Oswald had been complaining about the duties that had been assigned to him by Rodriguez, claiming that he was being picked on and harassed. He tried to get himself transferred to another crew, but was unsuccessful. On June 20, 1958, Oswald saw Technical Sergeant Miguel Rodriguez Jr. and Staff Sgt. James Milam in the Bluebird Café in Yamato, Japan, at which time Oswald apparently decided to take matters into his own hands. Oswald's drink was either spilled or poured on Rodriguez and the MPs were called. The first charge against Oswald states that Oswald "did... wrongfully use provoking words, to wit: 'You're yellow because you won't go outside and fight me.'" The second charge states that Oswald "assault[ed] Technical Sergeant Miguel Rodriguez Jr.,... by pouring a drink on him, and saying 'Let's go outside,' or words to that effect."


    Once again, Convening Authority Lt. Col. N.D. Glenn heard the case and made his judgment against Oswald, stating that he was "To be confined at hard labor for Twenty-eight days and to forfeit $55.00 per month for One (1) month." Glenn also notes that the punishment has been "Approved and ordered executed. NAS Atsugi Brig is designated as the place of confinement." Oswald has signed the document on the final page in blue fountain pen ink.

    Accompanying this document is a "Summary of Evidence in the Case of Private Lee H. Oswald," being a carbon copy on green onion skin. Four pages, 8" x 10.5", Atsugi, Japan, June 27, 1958. This typed carbon relates official statements of Rodriguez, Milam, 1st Lt. Charles R. Rhodes (Rodriguez's superior officer) and Oswald, as they pertain to the incident at the Bluebird Café. Oswald defends himself by saying: "I walked over to talk to Sgt. Rodriguez and my drink fell out of my hand and hit him on the knee. He jumped up and shoved me away and then sat back down. I went back to try and talk to him about why he was assigning me to all those extra duties, man to man like, when the MP's came in, and took me to the MP Station. I didn't drop the glass the drink was in, it just sort of hit the edge of the table and poured out. I asked Sgt. Rodriguez to step outside to fight after he had shoved me. I don't recall calling him yellow. I didn't make any statements to the MPs because I was sort of drunk." All items from this court-martial are in generally good condition, bearing several creases and folds, staple marks, punch holes, and small tears. Prospective buyers are advised to view all items prior to bidding.

    An outstanding collection of items from Lee Harvey Oswald's less-than-stellar military career. From the John K. Lattimer Collection.



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    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
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