Coakley served in the U.S. Marine Corps 1994-2001 and in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve since 2001. An Iraq veteran, Coakley is a member of the pro-war in Iraq Republican front group Vets for Freedom's National Leadership Team. 
Coakley was "mobilized in January 2002 and spent the first nine months of that year with the Second Marine Expeditionary Force doing anti-terrorism work in the United States and overseas. ... He later was sent to Africa, and then to Kuwait and Iraq with the First Marines Expeditionary Force."
Coakley came home in June 2003, but "did a second tour of duty in Iraq from August 2004 to March 2005,... [when] he was a judge advocate with the First Battalion, 23rd Marines." In June 2006, Coakley was serving "as an international law instructor for a unit based in Washington, D.C." 
stay the course in Iraq
"'We can't leave now. For us to fail now would deal a devastating blow to our national prestige and our ability to use American force in the future. We need a credible use of force against terrorist threats,' said San Antonio lawyer Thad Coakley, another Iraq veteran," Reuters reported December 14, 2006.
Coakley graduated in 1991 with a degree in political science from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, after which he "focused his sights on becoming a military pilot. When military recruitment was reduced after the Gulf War and his aviation contract wasn’t renewed, he decided to enroll in law school at St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, Texas). The Marine Corps soon offered Coakley a law contract and he was placed in the Reserves while he completed law school. In 1995, he reported to active duty," Vickie Pleus wrote in the Fall 2005 Alumni Record.
"Coakley served first as an administrative law attorney and criminal prosecutor at Camp Pendleton, California, where he tried an estimated 300 courts-martial, including the first contested anthrax vaccine refusal trial in the Department of Defense. In 1999, he was designated a special assistant U.S. attorney and legal advisor to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing and was transferred to Miramar, California. The birth of daughter Madyn prompted him to rethink his career, and in 2001 he made the difficult decision to resign from the Marine Corps and accept an associate position with Gendry & Sprague, P.C., a San Antonio-based firm specializing in aviation law.
"The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, caused Coakley to have a change of heart, however, and he returned to active duty just four months after his resignation. As deputy staff judge advocate for the Marines’ new anti-terrorism brigade, Coakley trained Marines on how to lawfully act and respond to terrorist activities. The following year, he was sent to Africa, where he helped build schools and medical camps.
"Then, in March 2003, came his first tour in Iraq and a dangerous trek to Baghdad with 80,000 Marines. Coakley was responsible for drafting procedures and instructing the Marines. After Baghdad fell, he worked to establish legal advisors for military commanders acting as interim provincial governors. Coakley left Iraq in June 2003 ... In the fall of 2004, he was deployed to Iraq for a second time, to act as a legal advisor overseeing detainee operations, creating prosecution packages for Iraqi criminal courts, and capturing insurgents," Pleus wrote.
In summer 2005, "Coakley returned to San Antonio and Gendry & Sprague, P.C., where he works side by side with 11 lawyers. He doesn’t plan to return to active duty in the Marine Corps," Pleus wrote.
Resources and articles
Related SourceWatch articles
- Lawyer Profile: Thaddeus Coakley, FindLaw.com, accessed August 15, 2007.
- Profile: Thaddeus Coakley, StateLawyers.com (Texas), accessed August 15, 2007.
- Profile: Thaddeus Coakley, Lawyers.com, accessed August 15, 2007.
- About: National Leadership Team, Vets for Freedom, accessed August 15, 2007.
- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys, "Firms Deal With Caseloads, Pay Policies for Attorneys Called to Active Duty," Texas Lawyer (Law.com), June 16, 2006.
- "Unpopular Iraq war still has U.S. supporters. Many conservative Republicans in South and Southwest remain unfazed," Reuters (MSNBC), December 14, 2006; also posted by NewsMax.
- Vickie Pleus, "Thad Coakley, '91: Man on a Mission," Florida Impact/Alumni Record Fall 2005, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.
- David J. Lynch, "Marines take heed at rules-of-engagement briefing," USA TODAY (MilitaryCity.com), March 19, 2003.
- Donald Sensing, "Account of a Fire Fight," One Hand Clapping Blog, August 3, 2005.
- Mark Walker, "Stone case may set tone for Haditha prosecutions," North County Times (posted at Free Republic), May 5, 2007.
- Mark Walker, "General testifies Haditha killings appeared as combat deaths," North County Times, May 11, 2007.
- Mark Walker, "Marine Corps reinvigorating its battlefield ethics training," North County Times, May 26, 2007.
- Mark Walker, "Author knew of Fallujah POW allegations for more than a year," North County Times, July 6, 2007.