And why it has no place in military service

Complexity Is Both Our Enemy And Our Friend

Guest post by Thomas Klocek, USNA '69

The current climate of being “woke” is all about oneself. It is political correctness on steroids. It rewards conformity to ideological perspectives rather than real performance. It does not look at others, their needs (except when “virtue signaling” – trying to make yourself appear to be taking the moral high ground), or how to work with them. Some of the basic principles of being “woke” include lack of personal responsibility for one’s actions, the need for safe spaces when there is a hint of adversity, and the right to be offended at the slightest trigger.

The youth of today are indoctrinated into being afraid to think for themselves. The idea of self-sacrifice is foreign to them. Today’s counterculture and the tyranny of moral relativism have twisted their development. This culture pushes them to believe that their nation, their upbringing, their families, and their history are all based on hate. It is divisive and works to set them apart and isolate one group from another based on all the biases the elites can think of. You cannot build an effective team if the members are in conflict with each other. Teamwork requires unity, not divisiveness. Recognizing that divisiveness is prejudicial to good order and discipling, the military services have led the way in fighting racism and fostering equality of opportunity. For decades, the military has provided equal pay for equal service.

A major characteristic of military service is self-sacrifice. Military members give up time with their families to deploy for months at a time, even more in crisis situations. They put their lives on the line. One doesn’t have to be in a combat zone to be in dangerous situations. For example, just going to sea is a hazardous situation.

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A friend recently sent me a picture of a famed New England lighthouse being assaulted by the towering waves of an early winter storm. Needless to say, the lighthouse, despite having withstood the ravages of the sea for over two hundred years, suffered some damage. The photographer who caught the awesome picture noted that he was in awe of the power of nature. Given time, just about anything manmade will succumb to nature. The world, beautiful and awesome as it is, can be a very harsh and dangerous place. Talk to any sailor who has weathered a storm at sea (or just the daily conditions in the North Atlantic in fall/winter). Think about WWII when the illustrious Bull Halsey ran into a typhoon and lost 3 ships with several others significantly damaged and numerous sailors washed overboard. The ships were there when the sun went down but could not be found the next morning. Having spent over two years at the Oceanography Center in Guam, I can attest to the power of these tropical storms.

This is the stuff of songs, even in the inland seas known as the Great Lakes, such as the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The sea is not a place for wimps. You don’t get a participation trophy – you survive, or you don’t. And to survive, you need courage, teamwork (unity), and perseverance. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in the face of fear and danger, not turning your back on it. Hardly characteristics of “wokeness.”

Think of the men who signed our Declaration of Independence. They certainly were not looking for a “safe space.” The Constitution of the United States guarantees to protect every state against invasion (i.e., individually or collectively) and empowers congress to “raise and support armies” and to “provide and maintain a navy.” Our founding fathers knew the hostility of the world at large and thus provided for protection of the nation. Following the woke agenda results in weakening the defense of our constitution and the nation as a whole by changing the priorities of the services intended to protect the country to those of catering to individuals within the services themselves. It diverts attention from issues of readiness and leadership to catering to the whims of individual members. 

An organization that relies on the ability and merit cannot function effectively in an environment of equity or equal outcomes. Military service is not the subject of attendance awards but rather one of performance. The mediocre pilot is not going to fare well against an enemy who has honed his flight and dogfight skills against difficult opponents. We don’t want our fighters to be passable, we want them to be better than the enemy. A fighting unit cannot be effective in a cancel-culture environment.

Other than working to better oneself in competition with one’s peers, to advance and build a better force, the military, to be effective, is not a self-serving organization. Although there will always be a few who try to advance at the expense of others, most successful military career personnel acknowledge that their success would not have been possible without the help of others. At the Naval Academy we were introduced into the naval history of those who sacrificed themselves for others, such as Chaplain George Rentz giving his life jacket to a seaman during the sinking of the USS Houston during WWII, and telling him, “Take it, lad, you need it more than I do.” Or Lieutenant Anthony Tortoras, USMC at Guadalcanal, who wrote, “Always pray, not that I shall come back, but that I will have the courage to do my duty.”

The motto of the American Legion, the largest veterans’ organization, is “God and Country.” Military service is truly service in that it involves sacrifice. Most people who join the military do so because they believe there is something greater than themselves, not exactly a concept of wokeness. Even in the days of the draft (conscription) the underlying concept was service to the nation and to others as a necessary aspect of citizenship. Individualism had to take a back seat.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.” —Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC.

Originally published at American Thinker

I have previously explained the concept of “shipmate” through the recounting of the Navy career of my Father.  He joined right after Pearl Harbor and served 27 years, retiring as a Master Chief in 1969, shortly after I was commissioned. 

In 1948, President Harry Truman ended segregation in the military.  Growing up in the late 40s and early 50s closely observing Dad’s behavior and attitudes, I note he was an obedient sailor and accepted everyone as they came without regard to race.  In 1955-1957 he was “pushing boots” and he treated all his recruits exactly the same regardless of race or where they came from.  The closest thing I ever heard him say that even hinted of a racial stereotype was that Black recruits did not know how to swim.  It was not a criticism just an observation that puzzled him because as a recruit company commander his job was to turn civilians into sailors and everyone had to be able to swim! 

Ours was a Christian home where one of the favorites of Sunday School from my earliest memories is “Jesus Loves the Little Children” where the verse goes, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”  The culmination of the civil rights movement in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act was celebrated in my household.  And, it was already the standard that the Navy long since practiced.  Justice was served! 

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In the late 60s the biggest political issue at my university was anti-Vietnam war protestors with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protesting us military types being allowed at university.  After commissioning and school, I reported to the USS Richard L. PAGE (DEG-5) in 1970.  PAGE was named after a naval officer who in the civil war became a Confederate brigadier general.  No one, including Black crew members, cared the least bit about the ship being named for a civil war officer.  Apparently hidden from my view was the torture and anguish our Black shipmates endured over the name of the ship. (sarcasm alert!)  The modern phenomenon of Blacks’ lives being ruined at the very thought of the Civil War is a new invention of the fevered minds of academia that did not exist when I served.  

The very best sailor on PAGE worked for me.  He was a first-class petty officer and the ship’s Master-At-Arms as well.  He happened to be Black.  He set the example of squared-away sailor for the whole ship and nobody gave him any guff despite his skin color.  He was liked and respected by all.  He was also a black belt in karate.  The subject of White supremacy or systemic racism did not exist.  Everyone was trained to a unity of purpose which was to serve the ship and our shipmates and to make sure we were ready to fight and win in our nation’s defense.  Our entire focus was on the Soviet Union and the palpable daily threat that the Soviets represented to America even in the western hemisphere. The crew was laser focused on the mission of being proficient at finding and neutralizing Soviet subs… and we were good at it, as the Navy Unit Commendation that I earned attests.  Race was irrelevant to executing our mission and simply did not come up.

From Midshipman to CAPT, from GS-07 to GM-15, at 14 duty stations, and in a dozen locations I found the conditions the same as on PAGE, sailors and commands whose focus was on the mission and whose minority members shared the same values and qualities that everyone else had.  And, even very early on, at my second duty station, I worked closely with an Air Force colonel who happened to be Black and thought absolutely nothing about it.  Every duty station had minority members including senior officers.  The numbers may not have been large back then but the Navy was already diverse in racial makeup.  I don’t recall a single instance of racial tension or strife anywhere I was stationed in almost 40 years combined military and civilian service.  During Vietnam rare instances of racial strife occurred elsewhere but these were isolated instances.  Race was not a significant factor to Navy culture or readiness.  I never saw any discrimination nor even heard of complaints of it in my entire career, much of which was in Mississippi. And, from my first tour on, all over the nation, every command had minority members as part of the crew.  Not only did I not experience any of the above, no one I know reported anything different in their own experience.  The Navy I served in was focused on mission above all else.  The Navy was not focused on solving the nation’s residual race-related or cultural problems nor should it have been.  The Navy was a meritocracy by necessity as our enemy was serious, implacable and highly skilled at the art of warfare and we had to be the same or better to prevail in the event of conflict.

I am not saying that the Navy did not have race-related problems.  No doubt there were racists in the ranks and in some cases, discrimination occurred that was both illegal and harmful to the mission.  But, the institution of the Navy was committed to equal rights as was the law and largely discrimination was and is rare in the Navy and those who discriminated were not tolerated.  Up until recent years no one had ever heard of Critical Theory or Critical Legal Theory or Critical Race Theory or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion or Ibram X. Kendi’s nonsense that you have to  practice discrimination to make up for past discrimination. 

When did it become an article of faith in our nation and in our military that the exact demographic makeup of the nation had to be matched in every other institution, including the military?  What science supports that goal?  If that were legitimate, why isn’t everyone all up in arms that the NBA is 72% Black when the national demographic is 13% Black?  This is accepted as perfectly normal, but the Navy officer corps having only 8% black officers versus the 13% Black demographic nationally is a problem?

The Navy is an Equal Opportunity Employer and has been for a very long time.  Are we absolutely free of race-related problems?  Probably not.  Idiots and bigots despite our best efforts do at times still join and may cause problems.  When those surface, those people should be punished and discharged.  According to a senior attorney with DoD known to this author, as recently as 2021 survey results from all of DoD (military and civilian) conducted by the DHRA Office of People Analytics, over all, 2 percent of DoD personnel are concerned about hate crimes or racism.  This is direct evidence that racism is not the problem being portrayed by military leadership or those with a political axe to grind promoting progressive ideology. The Navy should not be an experimental proving ground for politics.  Those who join the Navy should be admitted based on qualifications, merit, and motivation.  The color of one’s skin should have nothing to do with it. 

It is not the Navy’s mission or responsibility to solve residual cultural problems with some minority groups that may still exist.  Those problems are America’s to wrestle with and solve.  Large majorities in the nation do not consider race to be a major problem nor do they favor race preference for college admissions including to the military academies.  According to Pew Research most Americans favor inter-racial marriage and the percentage of such marriages continues to rise each year.  In a few decades, most of America will be of mixed race.  To ask the Navy to solve residual racial problems that the nation has apparently not been able to fully solve is ill considered and a distraction from the mission of having ready naval personnel and forces in order to fight and win our nation’s wars.  There is no place in the Navy for social engineering. It will lead to defeat in battle.

According to longstanding doctrine, a military unit is considered “combat ineffective” when it loses roughly 30% of its end strength.   Following recent reports that the Pentagon missed its recruiting goals—in the Army’s case, by as much as 25%—America’s military is teetering on the brink of being combat ineffective.  Put simply, our armed forces are now at risk of being unable to defend the nation if called upon.  

These are America’s worst recruiting numbers since President Nixon and General Creighton Abrams conceived the all-volunteer force in 1973.  And the Biden Administration’s contention that recruiting numbers are down because of a strong economy is nonsense—recruiting soared during the Reagan and Bush years when the economy boomed.

The bottom line is that parents—even those who are themselves veterans—are no longer sending their children to the military in the aftermath of Biden’s Afghanistan disaster and his failed social policies. They refuse to support a President and a Pentagon who insist on dividing the ranks by force-feeding grievance politics to those in uniform...

To read more visit Townhall.

Putin is a bad man, but he's right about the imperialistic decadence of the West

Hate to say it, because I believe Vladimir Putin is a nasty dictator who had no business invading Ukraine ... but he's correct in his remarks about the West and moral decadence. Putin said at Valdai this week:

It is notable that the West proclaims the universal value of its culture and worldview. Even if they do not say so openly, which they actually often do, they behave as if this is so, that it is a fact of life, and the policy they pursue is designed to show that these values must be unconditionally accepted by all other members of the international community.

I would like to quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous Harvard Commencement Address delivered in 1978. He said that typical of the West is “a continuous blindness of superiority”– and it continues to this day – which “upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present-day Western systems.” He said this in 1978. Nothing has changed.

Over the nearly 50 years since then, the blindness about which Solzhenitsyn spoke and which is openly racist and neocolonial, has acquired especially distorted forms, in particular, after the emergence of the so-called unipolar world. What am I referring to? Belief in one’s infallibility is very dangerous; it is only one step away from the desire of the infallible to destroy those they do not like, or as they say, to cancel them. Just think about the meaning of this word...

To read more visit The American Conservative.

Parents Respond To West Point Recruiting Their Child With Questions That Go Unanswered

The parents of a gifted female high school senior, who recently received a solicitation to attend from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, forwarded us their response to the institution. You can read below.

From: Michelle’s Father

Subject: re: Your exclusive invitation, Michelle (to apply to the USMA at West Point)

Date: October 17, 2022 at 3:09:40 PM EDT

To: [email protected]

Director of AdmissionsWest Point, USMA

We received your kind invitation for our daughter to apply to West Point.   We realize that as a straight A-honors student, captain of multiple teams, and a 2nd degree black belt that Michelle is an attractive candidate.  A few questions however in response to your invitation:

  1. Does Michelle need to be vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine/gene therapy against the coronavirus?  
  2. How do you treat independent female leaders?  I’ve read West Point's claims to be the premier leadership academy in the world (although my alma mater, Harvard Business School, might dispute that).  Yet we also saw multiple national stories where young female patriot cadet leaders were being abusively punished, ostracized, and kicked out of West Point for refusing to take an experimental gene therapy.
  3. We are a bi-racial family who deeply believe in MLK’s adage- “judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin”.  Does the USMA coursework currently include critical race analysis, examining white privilege, and/or the "1619 Project" alternative, slavery-centric view of US History?

We look forward to your response.  


Michelle’s Father

If we can't find racism at DoD, let's create it!

An airman is facing discipline after Air Force officials found that text messages appearing to show job discrimination against a Black airman were fake.

Partially redacted screenshots of the alleged conversation spread on social media in May, prompting leaders of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to investigate.

“We won’t be sending your name up for [redacted] at the squadron,” one airman appeared to tell another in the screenshot. “You currently have a shaving waiver which isn’t a professional image, and I think the Air Force is looking for somebody of white complexion and with the image that the Air Force needs...”

To read more visit Air Force Times.

Fortitudo per aspera, strength through adversity, is the motto of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Class of 1972.  From 1968-1972 we endured intense and often brutal training that forged a permanent bond among us and taught the value of self sacrifice and loyalty. For those who have not experienced these challenges in the formative stages of life, it is nearly impossible to fathom the depth of this brotherhood.  It is not surprising that 400 of the 675 surviving members of the graduating class attended our 50th year graduation reunion last month.   

In Remembrance of Those Who Have Passed

As many of us approach our mid 70s, disease and accidents have taken their toll.  Each loss of life diminishes us, and this sentiment was expressed eloquently in 1642 by English clergyman and poet John Donne. Donne speaks of mankind, but we classmates contend that his words equally apply to our brothers who have passed before us.

“No man is an island,

Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less…

Any man's death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind,

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.”

50 Years Later—The Academy Takes a Different Path

America's foundational institutions are under assault.  For decades the siege progressed incrementally, imperceptible to most observers.  But recently the pace has accelerated, avoiding all pretense of subtlety.  In the case of USAFA, activist generals serve as a vivid example of how a few influential individuals are able to implement President Obama's call to fundamentally change American society.

Nowadays, when visiting USAFA, one is impressed by the comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.  Gone are the days when cadets lived under unremitting pressure and stood at rigid attention and bore the brunt of verbal abuse from upper class cadets.  Uniforms are still worn, but in reality cadet life is drifting away from that of a traditional military academy and towards a liberal arts environment. 

According to U.S. News’ Best College Rankings, the Academy's national ranking in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category increased from #39 to #18 from 2020 to 2022. USAFA rates #1 in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, but this distinction only applies to schools that do not offer doctorate degrees. Currently, the civilian faculty, including visiting members, comprises 42% of the academic department. 

Since 2013, when Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael Gould introduced a comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Program (D&I) in accordance with President Obama's Executive Order 13583, the administration has led USAFA away from its historic policy of avoiding political engagement.  The enactment of the program served as a harbinger of the Academy's descent into divisive issues, when the plan declared D&I a "military necessity" and "as important as academics" at USAFA. 

Superintendent Gould's successor, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, achieved national notoriety with his handling of a racial graffiti incident directed at black cadets at the USAFA Prep School in 2017.  Silveria presumed the identity of the perpetrators, condemned racism to a national audience, and vowed to expel the culprits.  To the general's dismay, an inquiry found that the guilty party was one of the black cadets who was the supposed victim of the hate crime, but the damage had been done.  The Superintendent had formed hasty conclusions, falsely accused innocent cadets based on predetermined assumptions, and tarnished the Academy's reputation.

Silveria's activism continued throughout his tenure.  In July 2020 the USAFA football coaching staff produced a social media video supporting the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter.  This was a remarkable departure from the Academy's ethos to publicly avoid politics, but Silveria did not intervene to remove the video.  In the same month, in a letter to the Academy Family, he insinuated that systemic racism existed at USAFA.  He directed that an investigation be completed within two months—the results of which are still confidential.  A Freedom of Information Act request by STARRS, an organization pledged to resist racism and radical agendas in the military, to divulge the report's contents remains unanswered after more than 700 days.  Judicial Watch has sued the U.S. Department of Defense to release the document to the public. 

Silveria retired in 2020 but left his replacement, Lt. Gen. Richard Clark to contend with 250 cadets involved in the largest cheating scandal in USAFA history that occurred during the final months of his tenure.  As Superintendent Clark dealt with his predecessor's problems, he continued his own activist agenda.  He supported a required reading program for incoming cadets that included George Takei's anti-American screed, They Called Us Enemy.  Lynn Chandler-Garcia, a professor in the political science department, publicly acknowledged teaching Critical Race Theory at USAFA. General Clark disputed Professor Chandler’s claim and maintained that the subject is taught but not promoted. Calls from the graduate community to clarify the issue by releasing the course syllabuses continue to be ignored.

General Clark has been a steadfast proponent of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all members of the Cadet Wing.  He has denied all requests for religious and medical exemptions, citing obsolete data derived from the early stages of the pandemic, and failing to recognize the low probability of serious disease, and the negligible benefit and attendant risks of the vaccine in the healthy cadet population.

Last month all USAFA cadets were required to attend a D&I briefing that instructed them about preferred pronouns, the problems with using the words "mom" and "dad," and the impropriety of Dr. Martin Luther King's sage comments regarding the relative importance of one's color and character.  When the course’s slide presentation was leaked to the public, the Superintendent claimed that the subject matter was taken out of context. This interpretation conflicted with the version told by cadets who attended the lecture.  

Further controversy arose, when it was discovered that eligibility for a nine week paid internship at a major aerospace company was based on sex and minority status.  The Brooke Owens Fellowship stipulated that only gender minorities need apply, and cis-gender men specifically were instructed not to respond.  Similarly, the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship offered a nine week paid internship for only black cadets interested in aerospace careers. 

Applications to all military academies fell this year, but USAFA's shortfall was far worse than at West Point and Annapolis.  USAFA's Director of Admissions blames the precipitous 46% drop in qualified candidates on Covid.  With USAFA mired in controversy and the recently disclosed football team's recruiting violations and placement on NCAA probation, one suspects that USAFA’s problems are endemic and self-inflicted. 

The Class of 1972: Fortitudo Per Aspera

As the Vietnam War escalated, we volunteered to serve our country and gain admission to USAFA through a rigorous merit based admissions process. We represented a cross section of the American melting pot.  From the beginning, one expression became the focus of training: E pluribus unum, “Out of many, one,” which was inscribed on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782 and served as the de facto motto of the United States for 174 years.

At the time 27 different majors were offered to cadets, and USAFA was rated the third best engineering school in the country, behind only Cal Tech and MIT. Including non-graded military, athletic, and physical education courses, cadets earned roughly 200 semester hours over the four year period.  All members of the faculty were active duty military officers, who swore the Oath of Office to the Constitution.

The highest of standards were expected, as military training, academic, and physical fitness programs were tailored to cull all but the most committed cadets.  Of the 1254 that entered our class, 496 left before graduation—an attrition rate of 40%.  To put these numbers in perspective, graduation rates at USAFA during the past decade approach 90% in some classes.

We lived by a strictly enforced Honor Code that forbade lying, cheating, stealing, or tolerating dishonorable conduct.  Thirty years after our graduation at an Honor Code briefing in 2002, the Commandant of Cadets told us that the current generation of cadets could not be expected to adhere to these standards.  In a 2022 article in Checkpoints Magazine, Superintendent Clark reiterated a similar assessment. 

Less than 25 years separated the entrance to the Academy of the Class of 1972 from the conclusion of WWII.  A portion of our military training dealt with the Holocast, and the moral implications of complying with unlawful orders, and excusing the excesses as "just following orders."  In accordance with the Nuremberg Code, human rights were taught to be sacred, and a military officer's responsibility is to ensure that these rights are protected.  

An effective leader is not one who blindly complies with capricious orders, but one who displays the courage to question them.  History’s legendary military commanders' successful strategies often defied convention and depended on the ability to adapt to rapidly evolving conditions.  From our personal experiences in the military and civilian worlds, no leader can be truly successful without constantly searching for unique solutions in dynamic environments.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s civilian peers condemned us for wearing the uniform. One could make the argument that given the pressures both inside and outside USAFA, the Class of 1972 experienced one of the most grueling and arduous four years in the school’s history.

Call to Action

Reverend Charles F. Aked, a prohibitionist, stated, “It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.” In Aked’s view, evil equated with the consumption of wine, beer, and whiskey.

Policies that politicize the Academy, that refute Dr. Martin Luther King’s comments about color and character, that contend today’s generation is unable to live by the Honor Code, and that create division rather than unity as the better military option have far greater moral implications than the Reverend Aked’s crusade against alcohol. 

There is a natural inclination to be inert and refrain from engagement in public debate. But because of our training, life experiences, and common sense we are ideally suited to seek and implement solutions that will ensure that present and future cadets have the same opportunities as the Class of 1972.


On St. Crispin’s Day, October 25, 1415, in the north of France, the Battle of Agincourt loomed. King Henry V’s army, beleaguered due to previous combat and disease, faced a French force six times its size. Confronted with discouraging odds, Henry positioned his troops brilliantly, took advantage of favorable terrain, and used his longbow archers to devastate a cumbersome foe. His victory set the stage for Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech in the play Henry V.

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be rememberd;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he neer so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispins day.”

Prior to battle, the situation appeared hopeless to the English army. Henry’s men kissed the ground on which they stood, for surely this was their final resting place before the day was done. Knowing his life and the destiny of England depended on his men’s courage and cohesiveness, Henry rallied their spirits by delivering the “St. Crispin’s Day Speech.” He reminded his cousin Westmoreland that the honor earned today will be remembered forever. Despite being outnumbered, Henry desired no reinforcements or cowards among his troops. Honor is a zero sum game – a finite quantity that cannot be shared with those who are unworthy. The upcoming battle presented a cherished opportunity, and those absent would envy the participants and curse themselves for not being a part of history.

In Shakespeare’s time the word “vile” also meant someone of a low social class. Social barriers and petty prejudices abounded in fifteenth century England.  Had Henry accentuated the differences among his troops or questioned their integrity, he would have exacerbated an already desperate predicament.  Dumas similarly summarized this call to brotherhood in The Three Musketeers: 

“All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.”

Thank you.  Beat Navy! 

Scott Sturman

President USAFA Class of 1972

September 30, 2022

Image: USAF.

Guest post by Col. Mike (Pef) Pefley, USAF (Ret)

In response to the brouhaha created by Diversity and Inclusion Training mandated for cadets, USAFA superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark explained that everyone misunderstood his intentions concerning indoctrinating his (we hope this pronoun doesn't draw a penalty flag) troops with woke pronoun usage and preferred forms of address.  His intention was not to banish "moms and dads," but to promote respect by total and perfect understanding through targeted inclusive language. 

One point that has gone fairly unnoticed is the reference in the presentation to the cadets is the caution not to be racially "colorblind."  Cadets might be labeled racially insensitive if they said, "I don't see color."  It's impossible that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would prefer that his children to be recognized by the color of their skin versus the content of their character.

If Lt. Gen. Clark wishes that everyone understands the context and circumstances of the words, pronouns, and creative alternatives to normal discourse for cadets to follow, he will release to the public the PowerPoint charts used for the D&I training.  That would clear up any misinterpretation.  Why can't that be accomplished immediately?  In the interest of full disclosure, why can't everyone see the full training and judge for himself?

USAFA has also promoted transgender focus as a diversity "strength" for the Air Force Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE) agenda by headlining some of its very own staff as speakers to educate (indoctrinate) cadets into the "World of Wokeness." 

Clearly, whoever stated, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" never was invited to a lecture on transgenders.  The level of inclusion at USAFA is clearly "world class."  This sensitivity training will orient the future leaders of the Air Force to promote "diversity is our greatest strength" thinking that pervades the DoD in the 21st-century force.  Those talking points have been repeated ad nauseam by Gen. Milley, Adm. Gilday, and Lt. Gen. Clark.  Too bad no one has ever explained how this glib phase actually does that.  Where's the science?

Additionally, the focus by USAFA on transgender adaptation will aid in recruitment of that demographic to replace all the white, cisgender, toxic males who are standing in the way of force inclusion.  There is clearly a hope that USAFA's replacement theory (for white males) and approach to DIE will propel "combat effectiveness" for the total force and correct recruitment shortfalls.  Has math been dropped at USAFA as a prerequisite for graduation?  With a 1,700-pilot shortfall and a goal to reduce the percent white pilots from 80% to 63% and lower and lower numbers of qualified applicants each year, even with the thumb on the scale for all minorities except Asian, explain how those equations are computed.

While specifically unstated, is using neutral means of addressing groups such as "Dear Comrades" more desirable than "Hey Guys"?  Lt. Gen. Clark's obfuscation (or quibbling or dissembling or gaslighting) is consistent with the Air Force Academy's refusal to respond to lawfully required answers to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests posed by STARRS and others.  Judicial Watch (J.W.) filed a lawsuit on Friday, September 23 to compel the Academy to reply, in some cases, to two-year-old requests for which they are delinquent.  Apparently, while not being in lawful compliance with the Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom by forcing COVID-19 vaccines, Lt. Gen. Clark must think that USAFA should be given a pass for responding to required FOIA requests, too.  Hopefully someone will remind USAFA that the complex called "The Air Force Academy" is not a Constitution Free Zone. 

Col. Mike (Pef) Pefley, USAF (ret.) is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Stand Together against Racism and Radicalism in the Services (STARRS).  He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy as a member of the class of 1974.

Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all we do. These are, ostensibly, the core values of the United States Air Force Academy. These days, though, they seem of a bygone era.

It’s hard to identify a moment or even a date at which the Air Force Academy stopped living up to those core values, when it started putting progressive politics above all else, but it didn’t just happen overnight. Instead, it’s been a death of a thousand cuts.

One of those cuts, a deep one, occurred seven years ago, when the academy removed a Bible verse from one of its cadets’ whiteboards, which are posted outside their rooms. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” reads Galatians 2:20.

Sadly, that simple verse was too much for an atheistic zealot named Mikey — yes, Mikey — Weinstein, the director of an organization called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. At the time, Weinstein insisted that 29 cadets and four faculty and staff members had contacted his organization to complain about the Scripture. So Weinstein contacted the academy and filed a complaint. Barely two hours later, the Bible verse had been scrubbed from the cadet’s whiteboard.

To read more visit The Patriot Post

Eligible applicants must be cisgender women, transgender women, non-binary, agender, bigender, two-spirit, demigender, genderfluid or genderqueer

Cadets line up to punch the newly sewed on stripes of Master Sergeant Benjamin Allen, who was promoted early that morning, Oct. 1, 2016 at the Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. David Salanitri)

EXCLUSIVE: The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado is encouraging cadets to apply for a fellowship program for "gender minorities" that specifies "cisgender" men need not apply.

The academy sent an email on Sept. 14 informing cadets that the 2023 application for the Brooke Owens Fellowship for "undergraduate women and gender minorities interested in aerospace" is due by Oct. 10.

The application on the fellowship’s website says, "If you are a cisgender man, this program isn’t for you..."

To read more visit Fox News.

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In a week the USAFA Class of 1972 will meet for its 50th year reunion. It is our largest rendezvous since graduation, with 400 of 678 living graduates scheduled to attend. The tireless efforts of the reunion committee have made this lifetime event possible.

In 1968 during the escalating involvement of the Vietnam War and the social unrest pervading college campuses, 1254 of us from all walks of life and every state in the union arrived at USAFA. Our personal identity became subordinate to that of the aggregate, which fostered a level of cohesion that has continued for 54 years.

High grades and test scores coupled with athletic and leadership achievement in high school did not necessarily translate into success at the Academy. Relying on the infallibility of the cadet selection process is flawed, since it cannot identify those who will fail under extreme duress. Unremitting pressure and intense competition selected out those cadets who either lacked the motivation or talent to succeed.

When we are reunited next week, many of us will not have seen each other for 50 years, but the ensuing conversations will continue as if we never parted. Such is the bond forged by our mutual experience. There is an unspoken knowledge that we are elite, and we prevailed together through intense training during an era when our civilian peers dismissed us as pariahs for our military service.

It is a pity that cadets now attending USAFA, through no fault of their own, do not have the opportunity to prove their mettle. Cadet life, as portrayed in a video produced by a first year Academy cadet, demonstrates that the system is far less arduous compared to previous times and unrecognizable to past graduates. Graduation rates in the last decade approach 90% in some recent classes, as compared to 60% during our era.

Application rates to the Academy plummeted in 2022, with only 46% of qualified applicants compared to the previous year. All service academies experience a shortfall, but USAFA fared considerably worse than USMA and USNA. The official storyline lays the blame on Covid, but this trite excuse overlooks more serious reasons.

Traditionally the Academy eschewed political engagement and directed its efforts to train career Air Force officers. Nowadays the institution is overtly political: From its aggressive, pervasive Diversity and Inclusion Program (DI), to its sympathetic treatment of Critical Race Theory (CRT), and its support of George Takei and Black Lives Matter, no cadet is left untouched.

USAFA political science professor Lynne Chandler-Garcia admitted in a Washington Post op-ed that she taught CRT at the Academy. The Academy administration cannot be taken for its word that this did not occur or present an uncontested argument that the instruction was merely an academic exercise exploring the underpinnings of a Marxist philosophy. Quibbling is an Honor Code violation and clever use of language does not excuse dishonesty. Show the public the class syllabuses and the academic background of the faculty, including their publications and graduate theses.

The Academy now offers a minor academic degree in DI, and in mandatory training sessions, staff lecturers admonish cadets on nonsensical prohibitions. “Mom” and “Dad’ are no longer acceptable terms and should give way to sanitized identifiers such as “caregivers” and “guardians.” It is as if one’s mom and dad are employees administering end-of-life care in a nursing home facility.

High performing cadets and prospective candidates have been expelled or denied admission for refusal to receive the Covid-19 vaccination series. Religious exemptions are summarily denied, and the administration downplays the vaccine's risks and exaggerates its benefits. This heavy-handed approach continues unabated despite volumes of evidence challenging the policy, and the President declaring the pandemic over in an interview last week on “60 Minutes.”

There is a recruiting crisis throughout the military. Service branches cannot fulfill their quotas and have resorted to lowering standards. There is a critical pilot shortage that compromises national security. At a certain threshold the segments of the population who have historically served our country say, “Enough is enough—why should I serve when I am vilified for my phenotype and forced to abide by CRT indoctrination?

USAFA is at a crossroads, and the graduate community and public must not allow a few high ranking, politically appointed generals to transform the institution into a liberal arts school. The stakes are too high to concede the battle to zealots who have either forgotten the Academy’s mission or know full well what they are doing.

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Guest post by Michael D. Pefley, Colonel, USAF (Ret)

Apparently birthing persons (without being specifically called out as such), are in, while moms and dads are eliminated from Air Force vocabulary (See USAFA D&I training presentation). 

In the most DIE (Diversity, Inclusion , Equity) way possible, the Air Force Academy is eliminating the traditional family to make their service more inclusive while providing equity to any and every minuscule fringe group that self identifies as “I’m a victim of the oppressive, traditional American culture!”

Because “diversity is our strength”, USAFA has become fixated on pronouns, race, gender (biological or declared) and sexual orientation!  You might ask, “What’s all this DIE have to do with combat capability?”  Our opponents and enemies would answer a resounding “Nothing!” while our military leaders would answer “Absolutely everything!”

Obviously if you deny, ignore or dismiss the DIE philosophy, then you are guilty of being the “R word.”  The liberal use of the label “You are a R-word” is an approved method for bullying anyone into the compliant group think mantra of “DIE is good and Meritocracy is evil.”

The USAFA training guide exhorts cadets (to the exclusion of former cadets or alumni) to embrace inclusivity, harmony and institutional pride. Opinions and feedback from USAFA graduates is excluded in the Air Force’s adherence to inclusivity.  In addition, if one stated “I don’t see color or I’m color-blind,” you must be, you guessed it “a racist.”

It’s remarkable that USAFA didn’t include “Comrade” or “Comrades” as an appropriate method of addressing others. 

The STARRS organization “Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism” is dedicated to the constitution, unity and military readiness.  Just to be clear, those are the tenets of a free country and a free people!

Michael D. Pefley, Col, USAF (retired)


Graduate of USAFA 1974

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EXCLUSIVE: A diversity and inclusion training by the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado instructs cadets to use words that "include all genders" and to refrain from saying things like "mom" and "dad."

The slide presentation titled, "Diversity & Inclusion: What it is, why we care, & what we can do," obtained by Fox News Digital, advises cadets to use "person-centered" and gender-neutral language when describing individuals.

"Some families are headed by single parents, grandparents, foster parents, two moms, two dads, etc.: consider ‘parent or caregiver’ instead of ‘mom and dad,'" the presentation states. "Use words that include all genders​: ‘Folks’ or ‘Y’all’ instead of ‘guys’; ‘partner’ vs. ‘boyfriend or girlfriend...’"

To read more visit Fox News.

The United States Military Academy Historic Mural

A plaque at West Point that drew attention this week for its depiction of a Ku Klux Klan member is part of a sweeping brass mural of close to 150 historical figures, and the KKK imagery appears to have been meant as a warning.

Sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser, in notes she left to West Point about the piece, referred to the Klan as “an organization of white people who hid their criminal activities behind a mask and sheet.” She presented the three-panel mural to the school in 1965, depicting several decidedly pro-Union images of the Civil War.

School officials released an art guide from the school’s archive on the three-panel mural, or triptych, Wednesday, Aug. 31, after the Klan image was criticized by the federal Naming Commission two days earlier in a report on Confederate names and memorials at the US Military Academy and Naval Academy…

To read more visit Coffee or Die.

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29th Infantry Division Unit Patch

The Congressional Democrat Military Oversight Committee has struck again. Enacted in the 2021, this committee was the sole reason why President Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

The committee is fundamentally anti-American and wants to rewrite American history. This time they attempt to do so by altering the facts surrounding the infamous 29th Infantry Division unit patch.

According to a Monday release by the committee, the language used to describe it in the Army’s heraldic listings should get an update.

The insignia, a blue and gray take on the yin-yang, has been around since World War I, when the division activated troops from as far north as Maryland and down to South Carolina. The blue and gray are meant to symbolize the joining of formerly Union and Confederate states. Bigoted democrats intend to drop the meaning behind this symbol of reunification and celebration.

The committee also wants to rename all of the military bases named after Confederate generals. These bases were named after Southern officers as another form of reconciliation after the Civil War.

This Stalinist- style renaming committee has a 750+ long list of how they want to rewrite history. Read more below.

The list of military ‘items’ named for Confederacy is more than 750 long (

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