Army Lawyer COL Winston Williams Signals Service Academy Cadets Can Violate UCMJ…If They Are Woke
LTG Steven Gilland hosted the 20th Annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference last month. The conference, with nearly 400 attendees, featured cadets from the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), US Coast Guard Academy, and West Point as well as US Army officers, US Air Force officers, West Point faculty, civilian university professors, Department of the Army staff, VA staff, NASA staff, and professional DEI speakers.
One of the panel sessions, “The Future of College Admissions” featured Dean Miriam Ingber, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Yale Law School and Professor Benjamin H. Barton, Distinguished Professor of Law, The University of Tennessee, College of Law, Knoxville. The moderator was Colonel Winston Williams, Department Head, Department of Law at USMA.
The USMA Department of Law’s webpage at westpoint.edu states:
“The United States was founded as a government of laws. Its history is rooted in the pledge to uphold the values of a democracy and ensure justice, peace, and prosperity. This is the same pledge that our Cadets and officers carry with them as they serve the nation. In defending the rule of law, our military officers alleviate and deter conditions that lead to instability and armed conflict, uphold the military justice system, and reduce human suffering. The law major helps to prepare graduates for careers in the military, government, law enforcement and business. Additionally, numerous graduates of the department have later enrolled at the nation’s top law schools.”
During the Question and Answer session that Colonel Williams presided over and was the ranking officer in the room, a cadet from USAFA asked:
“Can cadets and service academies safeguard the teachings of these topics? Or if we get a particularly bad batch of congressmen, are these teachings like screwed?”
Here is the first article on the incident.
UCMJ Article 88 states “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
UCMJ Article 133 states “Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
UCMJ Article 134 states “Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.”
While Article 88 doesn’t apply because the cadet is not yet commissioned, a uniformed cadet at an official government event in front of uniformed military disrespecting Congress is like conduct unbecoming of an officer (cadet) and prejudice[ial] of good order and discipline in the armed forces. Article 133 and 134 violations should be investigated.
Per www.westpoint.edu, “Colonel Williams holds a LL.M in Military Law from the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee College of Law.” He has been practicing law since 2004. In 2011, he co-authored the Commander’s Guide to Brigade Legal Teams. COL Williams is clearly well-versed in UCMJ and identifying and prosecuting military servicemembers whose actions violate UCMJ.
COL Williams was not seen or heard correcting the cadet during the session or after. Further, the same cadet asked another shocking woke question during the next panel session, so it appears COL Williams nor any other officers present said nothing to the cadet whose statement may have violated UCMJ. Recall that COL Williams is a military lawyer, head of the USMA law department, and was the ranking professor and officer in the room at the time of the USAFA cadet’s statement.
It appears COL Williams does indeed condone cadets violating UCMJ…if their public violation supports the woke DEI narrative.
The West Point Public Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment by the author of this article.
*This article was amended on 28 SEP 2023 to include a discussion of UCMJ Articles 88, 133, and 134. As the cadet was not yet an officer, Article 88 technically doesn't apply. However, Articles 133 and 134 may have been violated and should be investigated as such.
John Hughes, MD, (www.americandoctor.org) is a writer on medical and military matters. He is a 1996 West Point graduate, veteran of Haiti/Iraq/Afghanistan, and is a practicing Emergency Physician. He is a contributor to CDMedia and Armed Forces Press, has been featured in Real Clear Defense, Washington Examiner, and American Thinker, and has been a medical expert for Epoch Times. He is a leader in the MacArthur Society of West Point Graduates and a member of STARRS.US.
This letter is the opinion of the author and does not represent the stance of any organizations or corporations.