Warrant officers (WO) have served alongside Army lawyers as early as the 1920s, but were not officially a part of what was previously known as the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Department—now known as the JAG Corps—until World War II, when the Department received its first warrant officer authorizations.1 Since that time, the judge advocate (JA) WO has evolved from being a “Legal Administrative Technician” who processed court-martial cases and handled clerical details to today’s “Legal Administrator” who is responsible for a wide variety of management duties in a staff judge advocate’s office, including the post-trial processing of courts-martial, budgeting and finance, information management and technology, library and files management, civilian and military personnel administration, and security.2
For many years, the highest rank that a legal administrator could attain was Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4).3 All that changed in 1991, when Congress created the rank of Master Warrant Officer Five—subsequently renamed Chief Warrant Officer Five (CW5).4 This meant that senior legal administrators in the JAG Corps were now eligible for promotion to this new WO super grade; on 1 January 1995, Rosauro L. Lindogan made history as the first member of the Regiment to be promoted to CW5.5 What follows is the story of Lindogan’s remarkable career in the Army and the Corps.
Born in Bacolod City, Philippines, on 30 August 1936, Rosauro Lucenio Lindogan was the youngest of thirteen children. He grew up in poverty and, from the age of ten, began making money by shining shoes after school. He usually earned ten pesos at the end of each day; he gave this money to his mother to help with the family’s expenses. Later, in addition to shining shoes, Lindogan worked as a house boy during school breaks. This allowed him to earn an additional thirty pesos a month. But “Lindy,” as he was known to colleagues and friends, recognized the key to success was to obtain an education. Consequently, despite his impoverished circumstances, he completed elementary, middle, and high school in the Philippines.6
Determined to have a better life, Lindogan thought about enlisting in the Philippine Army. But, at five feet four inches tall and 112 lbs., nineteen-year-old Lindogan was “too skinny and too short.” However, in the Philippines in the 1960s, a unique provision in United States (U.S.) law permitted Filipinos to enlist in the U.S. Navy.7 Convinced that a sea-going career was for him, Lindogan went to see a recruiter at the Naval Station in Sangley Point, a facility near Manila Bay. He had an interview, passed the enlistment exam, and was on orders to report to Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida.8 But then, a week before Lindy Lindogan was to report to Florida, his petition was approved for him to come to the United States to join his older brother who had immigrated and was living in Hawaii. With the plan that they would rejoin him after he was settled, Lindogan left for the United States while his wife and three children stayed in the Philippines.
Although his brother advised him that he could enlist once he arrived in Hawaii, Lindogan never joined the Navy. Why? Because, while processing through immigration in Hawaii, Lindogan signed an immigration form that made him subject to the draft. Within months, he was drafted into the Army for two years. He reported for duty on 13 March 1962.9
After completing basic and advanced individual training for MOS 11B Infantry at Schofield Barracks, then-Private Lindogan served briefly at the 25th Infantry Division before deploying to Korea for the first of two tours. He was with the 1st Cavalry Division at Camp Howze from August 1962 to August 1963 and with the 2d Infantry Division at Camp Casey from January 1964 to January 1965.
With the Vietnam War in full swing, Specialist Five Lindogan—now working as a legal clerk with MOS 71D—arrived in Saigon in the summer of 1965. He served eighteen months with 1st Logistical Command before leaving in December 1966 for a short tour of duty in Germany. Lindogan returned to Vietnam in May 1967, and spent an unprecedented twenty-nine months at U.S. Army, Vietnam (USARV). While on this second tour in Southeast Asia, now Specialist Six Lindogan received a message from the Red Cross that his wife had died. He took emergency leave to travel to the Philippines to see his children before returning to USARV to resume his duties as a legal clerk.
While Lindogan enjoyed his tours in Vietnam as a legal clerk, the experience was not without danger. As Richard H. Black, a retired JA colonel and one of Lindogan’s former bosses tells it, on one occasion
Lindy...was asked to drive three JAG officers to the barracks. He drove them there and was sitting in the Jeep waiting, when they decided to invite him into the barracks to have a beer with them. As soon as Lindy got to the barracks door, the Jeep exploded. A bomb was planted in the vehicle. I guess you could say his life was saved by circumstance. That story was legendary in the JAG Corps.10
In November 1969, he returned to American soil—along with his new wife, whom he had met and married in Vietnam. Now Sergeant First Class (SFC) Lindogan joined the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, where he was the military justice noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC). The division had an extremely busy court-martial practice, chiefly because of significant amendments to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) ushered in by the Military Justice Act of 1968.11
Prior to 1 August 1969, the effective date of changes made by the Act to the UCMJ, there were no judge advocates at special courts-martial. There also was no such thing as a military judge at special courts-martial. Rather, the “law officer” (a quasi-judicial official who was akin to today’s military judge but had much more limited authority) sat only at general courts. This meant that prior to the 1969 changes to the UCMJ, trial and defense counsel at special courts were line officers with no legal qualifications; all trials were with panels (because there was no military judge who could conduct a bench trial) and a line officer—the president of the panel—ran the proceedings. Now, however, judge advocates were at special courts where they prosecuted and defended Soldiers; a military judge presided over the trial. Also, for the first time, court reporters certified by The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) were recording testimony and producing much more lengthy records of trial (ROTs).
All this meant that SFC Lindogan was handling many more ROTs than had any previous NCOIC in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (OSJA). Another factor contributing to Lindogan’s workload was that Fort Ord had a large confinement facility, and its presence also meant that the 7th Infantry Division was trying more courts-martial. Lindogan excelled in this high pressure environment as the NCOIC, and, recognizing that his talents made him an ideal candidate to be a Legal Administrative Technician, the 7th Infantry Division’s SJA encouraged him to apply for an appointment as a WO. The result was that SFC Lindogan was honorably discharged on 28 May 1975, after 158 months enlisted service, to accept an appointment as a Warrant Officer One (WO1) the following day.12
After pinning on his new rank (JA WOs did not attend Warrant Officer Candidate School in this era, but simply exchanged stripes for bars at the time of appointment), WO1 Lindogan reported to Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he served one year before being reassigned to the Army’s Retraining Brigade at Fort Riley, Kansas. During his twenty-three months at Riley, Lindy enrolled at Wichita State University (WSU). It was a two hour commute from Fort Riley to Wichita, but Lindogan took college courses at the end of the duty day. Ultimately, he earned a two-year degree from WSU in 1981 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Orange Coast College in 1986.
After yet another tour in Korea with the 2d Infantry Division at Camp Casey, now-Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2) Lindogan was assigned to the U.S. Army Garrison, Presidio of San Francisco in July 1979. Twelve months later, CW2 Lindogan returned to the 7th Infantry Division, Fort Ord, where he served for twenty-nine months.
In December 1982, now-Chief Warrant Officer Three (CW3) Lindogan arrived at Fort Clayton, Panama, for duty with the 193d Infantry Brigade. Now designated as a “Legal Administrator,” Lindy would spend a total of thirty-two months in Panama. To say that he loved this assignment is an understatement, and Lindogan discovered that he enjoyed long distance running. He began competing in ultramarathons and was one of the few Americans who was willing to race in the intense heat of the jungle.
After Panama, CW3 Lindogan spent thirty-three months as the legal administrator at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, before returning once again to the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord in July 1988. Then-Lieutenant Colonel Richard H. Black was the division SJA. A self-described “tough taskmaster,” Black asked the newly-promoted CW4 Lindogan to be his office legal administrator. Black remembers that when he and Lindogan “first talked, he listened and had recommendations for everything [he] wanted to accomplish. [He] knew [that Lindogan] was the warrant officer [he] not only wanted, but needed.” At Fort Ord, Lindogan made “things happen for the better when no one else could.”13
The SJA office was in an old, dilapidated building, and it needed major renovation work. In addition to funding for this project, Lieutenant Colonel Black wanted money so that his judge advocates could attend continuing legal education (CLE) courses. Within months, to Dick Black’s amazement, CW4 Lindogan had convinced the installation budget officer to allocate $300,000 for the renovation and attorney CLE. When the renovation was complete, remembers Black, it looked like “a big corporate law firm” had its offices at Fort Ord.14
After forty-six months at Fort Ord, CW4 Lindogan was assigned to the Joint Readiness and Training Command, Fort Polk, Louisiana. While all recognized his excellence in the workplace, Lindogan made a name for himself at Polk as “an outstanding example of physical fitness” because he could “outrun everyone in the [SJA] office.” Lindogan loved competing in long distance road races, especially “double marathons” (52.4 miles).15
He was at Fort Polk when an Army board of officers selected him to be promoted to CW5. He pinned on this new rank on 1 January 1995. His last assignment before retiring in May 1998—with thirty-six years active duty—was as the senior legal administrator at the U.S. Army Legal Service Agency, then located in Falls Church, Virginia.16
Looking back at Lindy Lindogan’s career, it is not difficult to understand why he was the first WO legal administrator selected for promotion to CW5. There were other highly qualified legal administrators in the Corps in the 1990s, and no doubt more than a few with outstanding officer efficiency reports. But, there were no WOs in the Corps who had the breadth of experience that Lindogan had, much less his highly unusual overseas assignment history. No one in the Corps in Lindogan’s era—officer or enlisted—had forty-seven months of duty in Vietnam, and only a handful of individuals in the Regiment even had two twelve-month tours in Southeast Asia. No one had nearly four years in Vietnam plus thirty-six months on the Korean peninsula—especially when Korea during the Cold War era was considered by Soldiers to be a hardship tour (because it was unaccompanied). Lindogan had all this overseas time plus thirty-two months in Panama. When he was, finally, selected for promotion from CW4 to CW5, Lindogan had been on active duty for more than thirty-two years.17
After leaving active duty, Lindogan embarked on a second career as a Federal civilian employee. He first worked, briefly, as an Administrative Officer in the Criminal Law / Tax Division at the Department of Justice before transferring to the Department of the Army to take an Administrative Officer position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC). Lindogan worked at WRAMC from 1998 to 2010, and, when his job moved to the Office of the Command Judge Advocate, Regional Health Command-Atlantic at Fort Belvoir, he moved with it. After eighteen years as a civilian employee, Lindogan retired from the civil service on the last day of September 2016. When combined with his time as a soldier, he had more than fifty-four years of service to the United States.18
In the early 1960s, Lindy Lindogan had promised his father and his mother that when he came to the United States, he would work hard. He said, “Dad, I will promise that I will try to be successful.” According to Lindogan, his decision to join the Army allowed him “to show [that he is] trying to be faithful and love [his] country… [his] new adopted, country. [He] would be faithful and serve as much as [he] could do and help people who needed help. That’s [his] mentality.”19
This can-do, positive attitude about himself, the Army, and America helped Lindogan when he faced both overt and subtle racism during his career. In the 1960s and 1970s, some white Americans in uniform were unwilling to treat a Soldier born in the Philippines as an equal, and Lindogan remembers being called an “animal,” an “alien,” and worse names. Even when the overt signs of racism disappeared in the 1980s and 1990s, CW5 Lindogan sometimes felt he was the victim of more subtle forms of discrimination because of the color of his skin and his Filipino accent. But he never let this racism deter him from doing his best as a Soldier and legal administrator for more than a half century.20
Today, Lindy Lindogan and his wife, Iderlina, live in Maryland. While he is approaching eighty-five years of age, he continues to keep physically fit by running several times a week. Lindogan is immensely proud of his six children, all of whom have been successful in their lives.
For those members of the Regiment who want to know more about CW5 Lindogan and his remarkable career, two members of the 68th Graduate Course, Majors Daniel Ray and Mitchell Suliman, conducted an oral history with him in late 2019. A transcript of their interview will be available in mid-2020. TAL
1. On June 24, 1948, Congress changed the name of the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Department to the JAG Corps. Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Army, The Army Lawyer: A History of The Judge Advocate General’s Corps, 1775-1975, at 198 (1975).
2. U.S. Dep’t of Army, Pam. 600-3, Officer Professional Development and Career Management (3 Apr. 2019) [hereinafter DA Pam. 600-3] (providing a description of the “officer characteristics” and “unique skills” required of Warrant Officers (WO)); U.S. Dep’t of Army, Pam. 611-21, Military Occupational Classification and Structure para. 8-270a (6 Dec. 2019) [hereinafter DA Pam. 611-21] (providing specifics on skills required for MOS 270 Legal Administrator).
3. The Warrant Officer Act of 1954 established Warrant Officer grades W1 through W4. Warrant Officer Act of 1954, Pub. L. No. 379, 68 Stat. 157, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-68/pdf/STATUTE-68-Pg157.pdf#page=9.
4. Warrant Officer Management Act of 1991, Pub. L. No. 102-190, § 1101, 105 Stat. 1290, 1298 (codified as amended at10 U.S.C. § 571 (2010)). This Act created the paygrade of W5 and the separate rank of Master Warrant Officer (CW٥), since renamed as Chief Warrant Officer Five. Id.
5. Other CW5s in Corps history include (in alphabetical order): Kristi B. Estes, Russell “Rusty” Ferrell, Carol Hauck, Scott Higdon, Richard “Rick” Johnson, Michael “Mike” Lanoue (the second CW5 in history), Mark W. Mishoe (ARNG Oklahoma), Brian Peterson (ARNG California), Edward Peterson, Charles “Charlie” Poulton, Ronald “Ron” Prescott, James “Jim” Steddum, Craig Sumner, Sharon Swartworth (3d CW5 in Corps, first female CW5, and most highly decorated WO in Corps history), Dale Trexler, and Tommy Worthy. The newest CW5 in the Corps is Tammy Richmond, who was promoted in summer 2020.
6. G. H. Cureton, Legal Trailblazer Ready For Next Adventure—At 80, U.S. Army (30 Sept. 2016), https://www.army.mil/article/176102/legal_trailblazer_ready_for_next_adventure_at_80.
7. Bureau of Naval Personnel, Filipinos in the United States Navy, U.S. Navy (12 Sept. 2017), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/f/filipinos-in-the-united-states-navy.html. On 14 March 1947, the United States and the Philippines agreed that the U.S. Navy would be able to recruit Filipino citizens to voluntarily enlist as Sailors. Under the Military Bases Agreement signed by both countries, Article XXVII permitted up to 2,000 Filipinos to enlist every year. The provision was unique because it did two things. First, it permitted men to enlist without first immigrating to the United States and second, it applied only to the Navy. Id.
8. See supra text accompanying note 5.
9. Officer Record Brief for Rosauro L. Lindogan (9 Nov. 1994) (on file with author) [hereinafter Lindogan ORB].
10. Cureton, supra note 6.
11. Military Justice Act of 1968, Pub. L. No. 90-632, 82 Stat. 1335).
12. Lindogan ORB, supra note 9; U.S. Navy, DD Form 256A, Honorable Discharge, Warrant Officer 5 Rosauro Lucenio Lindogan, (28 May 1975) (on file with author).
13. Cureton, supra note 6.
14. Jennie L. Ilustre, U.S. Army Legal Trailblazer Lindogan Retires, Manila Mail, (Nov. 2016) (on file with author).
15. C. Eric Farris, JAG’s Eagle Corps’ First CWO5, Guardian (1994) (on file with author).
16. Lindogan ORB, supra note 9.
18. Program, Retirement Ceremony in Honor of Mr. Rosauro (Lindy) Lindogan, (30 Sept. 2016) (on file with author).
19. Cureton, supra note 6.
20. Majors Daniel Ray & Mitchell Suliman, Executive Summary and Oral History, CW5 Rosauro Lindogan (2019) (unpublished manuscript) (on file with author).