Carry On Podcast, Ep: 11 – Cpl Thae Ohu
Cpl Thae Ohu, 27, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2013. She was born in a Burmese refugee camp in Thailand. Once her family received political asylum, her father brought his three daughters to the United States, settling in Fort Wayne, so they could have a future built on freedom. Two of his three daughters, Thae, and her older sister Pan Phyu joined the military, intent on serving the country that had granted them political asylum.
Thae’s first duty assignment as an Administrative Specialist was Okinawa, Japan. Here a fellow Marine would sexually assault her. It’s unclear exactly when she first reported the assault to military officials, but in 2018, now stateside, she is diagnosed with PTSD. It is important to note that over her seven-year career, she earned many awards and was known to be a trusted and hardworking Marine. However, after having revealed her issues and sexual assault, command failed her time and time again, degrading her mental health to the point where she attempted suicide several times while on active duty.
Eventually, she is recommended for medical retirement by a medical board for service-connected mental health conditions. During an April 5, 2020 fight with her then-boyfriend, she has a flashback of her assault. The civilian authorities arrest her for assault. No one is physically harmed and her then-boyfriend does not press charges. Two months later she is charged by the Marine Corps and placed into a military brig.
Fast-forward to today, she has been incarcerated now for over eight months in the Navy Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake. She is charged with attempted murder, among other charges and is expected to face a general court-martial in the next month or so. Many see this case as a systematic failure by the US Marine Corps, with a laundry list of injustices. Thae’s story has been shared widely online and in advocacy circles, as symbolic of broader issues, with how the military treats sexual assault victims, particularly those with resulting mental health issues.
Her lawyer, Eric Montalvo is a former Marine who retired from active duty after 21 years, he is a founding partner of the Federal Practice Group, located in DC. He has earned an international reputation as an aggressive, thorough and respected trial attorney. Mr. Montalvo also has been recognized as a national leader in military law.