Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin failed to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., on Monday, showing up instead at his old job in a clinic in the Pentagon, Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, an Army spokesman, said Wednesday. Lakin was reassigned immediately to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington while the investigation is under way.
Though officials in Hawaii verify that Obama was born there, so-called birthers claim he was born outside the United States and is ineligible to be president. Lakin says he wants to see the birth certificate as proof Obama is his commander in chief and thus that the deployment order for Afghanistan is legal.
Lakin is under investigation for his failure to report for deployment and for conduct unbecoming an officer.
A Greeley, Colo., native, Lakin said in a video posted on YouTube that he was an 18-year Army veteran "choosing to disobey" orders he says are illegal, including an order to deploy to Afghanistan for a second tour. He said he was doing so at "great peril" to his career and future and "inviting my own court-martial."
A court-martial is only one of the punishment options, and among the handful of other known birthers in the military, some have merely received administrative reprimands.
On Monday, Lakin showed up for his job as a flight surgeon at the Pentagon clinic that is attached to a Walter Reed medical brigade, Garver said. His commander, Col. Gordon Roberts, summoned him to Walter Reed and told him he was being reassigned.
Hawaii Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino issued statements last year and in October 2008 saying that she's seen vital records that prove Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen. But the state said last month it was still getting between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama's birth each week, most from outside Hawaii.
A few of the requesters continue to pepper the state Health Department with the same letters seeking the same information, even after they're told state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest. Responding wastes time and money, officials have said.
Both Fukino and the state registrar of vital statistics have verified that the Health Department holds Obama's original birth certificate.