Sunday, October 22, 2017

Are the Service Academies an Anachronism?

The Course of Empire, Desolation - Thomas Cole
(Source)
So, about this Army lieutenant, the fellow who is, apparently, an avowed Communist. A fellow who, apparently, seeks the destruction of the government and our way of life.

Based on my experiences, one cannot enlist in the armed forces or obtain any sort of a security clearance without swearing that one does not belong to, nor adhere to, any organization which seeks the violent overthrow of the United States government. On the surface, this lieutenant (who shall remain nameless, I don't care to repeat this traitor's name) either lied about this when he enlisted, thus rendering his enlistment fraudulent, or became a Communist sometime during his enlisted service.

I have to believe that he was a Communist when he entered West Point. How that came to pass still boggles the mind. At any rate, he is a self-admitted enemy of our way of life and should be, at the very least, dishonorably discharged from the Army. A little time at Leavenworth to contemplate his sins also seems appropriate.

This letter from LTC Robert Heffington (USA, Retired), a former instructor at West Point, made me nearly physically ill when I first read it. It seems that standards at West Point have fallen drastically in the past couple of decades.

This article by Bruce Fleming, a Professor at Annapolis, had me nodding my head in agreement throughout. Do the service academies still serve a purpose?

I have friends who graduated from both West Point and Annapolis, damned good men, but I have also known graduates of those two schools who I wouldn't cross the street to micturate upon if they were engulfed in flame. That though, is neither here nor there. There are useless bastards in all walks of life and in all professions.

I have long pondered the reason for the service academies. While they have great tradition behind them, are they serving the purposes for which they were created? I wonder, I really do.

Why do we need prep schools for the service academies? (The one for the Navy is just down the road a piece from where I live.) Is it because we can't find enough qualified applicants for slots at the schools? Or is it, like some say, meant to improve the sports teams at the academies? I have my opinion on that, it isn't favorable.

I served with officers who gained their commissions from ROTC, some from Officer Training School, and a few from the Air Force Academy. All ran the gamut from very good to a complete waste of oxygen. As is the case in most professions.

But are we satisfied, as taxpayers, with those sort of results?

I'm not.

What do you think?



32 comments:

  1. You really ARE trying to get me to post that draft, aren't you. So it is written, (well in draft anyhoo) so it shall be.

    In any case, to your question, I believe Service Academies as they were originally intended are useful, maybe even necessary to provide the skeleton skills needed for Officers in the Military. I believe, however, that they gradually, quickly in the case of the one in Colorado, devolved into a training ground for pampered elites who believe they are entitled to wear stars.

    As you say, there are exceptions to that, as there are exceptions in the other commissioning sources who also believe in that entitlement. However, the other sources are reservists and have to be selected for a regular commission. That comes after a period of, I think, a minimum of 4 years of actual service. Which does allow a bit of weeding out of the chair sitters.

    Until this episode came to light, I thought the USMA was the least infected. Virtually all the officers I knew commissioned there where very competent. USNA was next, my unscientific estimate based on people I knew was 50/50. USAFA, well....I liked your sentence that used the word "micturate". A few good ones, but they were the exceptions, not the rule.

    My $.02.

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    1. From what my son told me (and he was in a position to know) the service academies no longer provide a regular commission. At least Annapolis didn't when he was accepted there.

      Your last paragraph echoes my own experience with the academies. USAFA was indeed the worst, and has not improved with age.

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  2. Having read the various posts and links on ARFCOM showing some of the social media postings from this USMA graduate, I was horrified and disgusted to see this. I concur with the Leavenworth comment but not just a little time. It appears that a thorough housecleaning is needed in the service academies after the past eight years. Any member of the US armed forces should not be a member of the Communist party IMHO. To calm down now my yard needs a thorough cleaning of leaves from yesterdays rain... sun is a coming later after church service and there's a forecast of FLAKES for next weekend with the coming cold here in the upper Midwest.

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    1. Being a member of an organization committed to the violent overthrow of the US government is (or used to be) a bar to enlistment or commissioning. (It was in the contract.) It is still a bar to obtaining a security clearance.

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  3. I don't think there is a law in this country against being a communist. We almost nominated one for President...socialist, communist whatever; but I don't think serviceman should be advocating for any party while in uniform and this particular cadet seemed over the top in his political expression. He should be given the boot.

    I like the idea of the academies, but I am a pure civilian so...

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    1. There is no law against being a Communist, but one cannot be one of those and be in the military. Nor have a security clearance.

      If you wanna be a Commie, you can. If you wanna join the armed forces, you can't be a Commie.

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  4. As another old AF Sarge, who is now a govt contractor, what I have observed of the recent USAF and Army academy grads is basically spoiled brats who overstep their authority and expect special consideration since they went to an Academy. It has gotten to the point I can pick them out. Having a military academy education used to be like an ivy league education but it has become something much less as the graduates who are good leaders are few and far between.

    I don't deal much with the Navy and Marines but as far as the AF and Army academies they need to be gutted and totally restructured or shut down.

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    1. Concur Tony. We sergeants are trained to notice those things.

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  5. IMO, the service academies were the low hanging fruit for the Obama "fundamental change" operatives. The "perfumed prince and princesses" in the military willingly went along to get along. I refer to those who have never seen a conflict between what is good for their careers and what is good for their services.

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  6. Service academies are subject to the same rot that the rest of the service is -- that the progressive movement promotes in society. I could elaborate (rant), but why. When the military exhausts trannies and sexual freaks as role models, and promotes that sort of training over genuine readiness, we should not be surprised that what once was made of iron is now made of straw - and will burn easily.

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  7. I agree that the academies need either a through housecleaning or to be shut down. I don't remember any good officers who were ring knockers.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  8. Well, y'all have already seen some of my feelings regarding the USMA, and that should be extended through all the service academies, from West Point to the Merchant Marine Academy.

    Many moons ago, to be hired as a staff assistant (secretary for us old farts) to the local police department, I went through a security check that went all the way back to where I was born, and I almost didn't get the job due to the Air Force not wanting to confirm my birth records at Hollomon AFB. Friends, neighbors, all were questioned. This was for a staff assistant position, remember?

    If my Podunk local PD could send someone to check on a future Staff Ass, why can't the service academies? And what ARE the standards for inductees? (Apparently, under the Obama Admin, a pulse was required, along with a hatred of the USA.)

    So, to continue the Academy tradition, every man-jack and woman-jill, instructor, student, cafeteria worker, whatever, needs to be retested, and if their 'values' are against the values of what the academies are supposed to be, then they should get fired at the least, and charged and sentenced for the more heinous (like the 'professor' that taught the Commie Lieutenant.)

    As to the validity of the service academies, well, they should continue. They should teach skills and materials that pertain to the service for which they should be servicing. Math, Science, Engineering, Military History, Leadership. With an emphasis on (as much as I hate McCarther) 'Duty, Honor, Country.'

    Otherwise, close them down and turn them into housing for Veterans.

    As to new students, well... New academy inductees should be the cream of the crop. If they don't meet the strict requirements, then they don't get in. No congressional waivers, no secret back deals, no family history. Do, or Don't Do. If only 20 or 30 people make the requirement one year, so be it. Small classes make for better instruction anyways.

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    1. Spot on Andrew. As we've come to expect.

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  9. I think that for generations they were keepers of the flame but they don't even try anymore and we should sell them to the highest bidder. They don't even teach navigation anymore. They self-immolated when they hired and gave tenure to liberal arts professors and chose for radical and touchy-feely Ivy League drones. ROTC and OCS produce excellent officers in sufficient numbers to meet demand.
    NAPSter long ago became another way of saying African-American. Whenever I was stationed in Newport it was blindingly obvious but never spoken of. OTOH, I long wondered why any smart youngster would tolerate a plebe year given that ROTC offers a free education without the abuse reserved for academy students.

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    1. That last sentence is the exact reason my two oldest, both accepted at Annapolis, chose the NROTC route. The youngest didn't even bother with Annapolis.

      Like my son said, "Dad, I can go to Annapolis, have virtually no life for four years then get a reserve commission. If I go NROTC, I have a life for four years and I get the same commission." I couldn't argue with that logic.

      Concur with your assessment of the term NAPSter. Sad.

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  10. Military academia has been infected with the same viral rot of entitlement, moral relativism, and especially "diversity" and fixation on sports accomplishments as have hobbled our once great civilian institutions. Nearly all (Hillsdale College being a nearly unique exception) are little better than leftist indoctrination centers where the only "diversity" not promoted is diversity of thought, especially if it involves traditional American values or conservative policies. Even the truth is unwelcome at many, although they embrace Antifa and "social justice warriors" with uncritical acclaim. The military academies were just slower reaching the current state of decay and uselessness.

    Perhaps the academies could revive their once high standards of admission, conduct, learning, and preparedness to lead men and women into combat on land, sea or in the air. But, the deeply entrenched forces of "diversity" and their (despicable scum) allies in the legal profession and the gutless politicians would likely prevent any meaningful change, especially if it resulted in expulsion or exclusion of a single protected snowflake.

    The Norks, Iranians, ISIS, and the Chinese do not give a firetruck about any of the special snowflake demands and consider us all to be equally objectionable for our religious, political, cultural or economic beliefs, and will not "play fair" if (or when) they choose to destroy our way of life. About the only hope we have of preventing that is a strong military force with the best qualified, best educated, best trained and best equipped forces we can afford. Our current spending priorities and service academy operations seriously jeopardize our ability to defend this nation and our freedoms. Truly an existential threat.

    Frankly, I do not see a change for the better. It may take an instantaneous reversion to "America-1850" living conditions via an EMP attack to refocus priorities to even survive as a nation at all. Our present course has us "in extremis" and radical changes are urgently needed but almost impossible to see happening in our present political climate with the greedy "low information voters" so thoroughly misled by the fake news media and opportunistic politicians and leftist academia (K-12 as well as higher ed).

    Pass the flask.
    John the blackshoe.

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    1. Well said John. Concur with all your points. While I still retain some hope for the future, knowing some of the kids out there on the line, it may be that those coming up aren't as well trained or as motivated.

      Definitely pass the flask.

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  11. ROTC generates direct as well as Reserve commissions, or at least it used to, as I got a direct while some of my compatriots only received Reserve. Depended on grades and 'needs of the service', as I recall, but that was lo these 36 years past.

    Can the Academies be rejuvenated and returned to their position of turning out well rounded war fighters and leaders. I'm not sure the will exists to do the hard work necessary. Inculcating spirit and traditions certainly doesn't tip the cost benefit equation from ROTC to the Academies, even if they were put back right. And ROTC can certainly do it:

    “How many Aggies served in World War II?
    There were 20,229 Aggies who served in World War II. Of these, 14,123 served as officers, more than any other school, including the combined totals of the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy.”

    Unfortunately A&M's Corps of Cadets is no longer the size it once was. And I've been gone almost too long to say how society's changes have impacted the Corps. But still.....

    /
    L.J.

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    1. Yes, top graduates in ROTC programs would receive a regular commission out of the gate. Now, no, they're all reserve commissions. I'm not sure when that changed, I'm pretty sure it was while I was on active duty.

      Things change, often not for the better.

      I served with an Aggie in Germany, a damned good officer, smart, personable, and well-respected. I would have followed him into Hell if it came down to it. A good man.

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    2. The regular commission from ROTC went away before I graduated and was commissioned. I was one of 2 DG's in my commissioning class or ~100. I received a reserve commission just like everyone else. I got a regular commission on selection as a Captain 4 years later.

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    3. My son graduated from the Corps 7 years ago. I've got a good story about his time there. Perhaps next week's post. I think you'll be comforted by how the Corps has stood up to society.

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    4. Would love to hear that tale!

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    5. Juvat: I've noticed the occasional nod to your sons' time in Aggieland, and wondered when we might hear something from there :)

      /
      L.J.

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  12. And student athletes should be students first, athletes second. When my wife was getting her on-line bachelor degree from Florida State, the center of the football team played with a broken foot and graduated with honors from a physics/science program. Wicked Smart. Could have gone pro, but chose to work for real.

    This is what we should expect from service athletes. Soldiers first, Students second, Jock third.

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  13. To add a different thread to this discussion, I think the most disheartening part of LTC Heffington's letter, if true, is the section on "Honor Boards". If in fact those are no longer anything but a slap on the wrist, then I agree, the Academy's must go. Honor is an existential part of Leadership. "Yes, Private, this objective is worth your life. Now go and do it." doesn't cut the mustard if the Private knows the Lt lies, cheats, steals, and tolerates those around him who do.

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    1. I have heard of honor code violations at the Naval Academy which were swept under the rug because they involved athletes. Not sure of the accuracy of that.

      If you have no honor, you do not deserve to lead American men and women in combat.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)