Guest post by Lt Col Michael E. Uecker, USAF (Ret.)
As a proud graduate of the US Air Force Academy (Class of 1971), I feel compelled to share my thoughts on what has happened to our alma mater and suggest a course of action to reinstitute education and training that will emphasize that which unites us so as to make teamwork and leadership more successful. I hope it will also provide a reminder of what has made our Nation the most attractive goal for immigrants and refugees the world over.
Being at the leading edge of the Baby Boomers generation, I am old enough to remember the failures of the War on Poverty in the 1960s and the Stagflation of the 1970s, and I experienced the success of the boom of the 1980s. In each case, it was clear that the leadership of the Nation was critical to the direction we pursued and the results we achieved. It was also clear that central planning and high taxes did not work.
It is truly amazing how quickly the United States went from winning the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan to being at each other's throats over pronouns and having half the Nation believing socialism works.
To me, it is evident that too many of my generation turned our collective backs on politics and decided to turn our swords into plowshares, minding our own business and allowing others to run things with the expectation that they would continue the course of policies that brought us peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, those we left in charge had other ideas.
Little did we know that the radicals of the '60s and '70s would become the tenured professors and department chairs in the '80s and '90s and turn their attention to teaching Howard Zinn (Marxist) history, Critical Theory sociology, and Saul Alinsky tactics with the goal of "fundamentally changing our society." They now dictate who gets tenure in colleges and universities and what is taught to future teachers at all levels.
At the same time, the Air Force Academy decided to replace active-duty officers on the faculty with these liberal professors. One wonders if that was just poor judgment or intentionally done with the goal of replacing military role models for the cadets with civilian intellectuals who never had to experience the horror of war, the art of leadership, or the reality of being wrong. Indeed, the daily contact with the military faculty left a deep impression on me of what it meant to be a career officer – at least as significant as the officers from the Commandant's staff.
So now we are faced with a new generation of cadets who are not taught that talent, hard work, integrity, and "content of their character" will enable them to be successful. How does one engender teamwork and unity when the seeds of distrust based on immutable characteristics are sown by the faculty? Having served with men and women warriors of all races, colors, and creeds, I can attest that the Air Force I served in was the closest thing to a pure meritocracy I have ever experienced.
I hope the leadership will spurn their current efforts to sow the seeds of distrust and destruction and return to pursuing the goal that "all men are created equal." Doing anything less is a clear violation of their oath to "protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic…"
Lt Colonel Mike Uecker is a 1971 graduate of USAFA who served 20 years on active duty. His duty assignments included eight years flying in the FB-111A and the B-52H, and the balance as a program manager in both aeronautical and space systems. Since retirement, he has worked in program management, information technology, operations, marketing and proposal development, and engineering in the defense industry. He has been active in local politics since 2009 and has served as a member of the local school board and the Republican Party.