Union Generals McClellan, Burnside, Pope, and Rosecrans were relieved of command in the Civil War for failure to perform. In World War Two, at least 5 US Corps commanders and 16 Division commanders were fired. The US won both wars when its military found the best leaders to wage the wars. Incidentally, if anyone has forgotten, the new woke military is 0-1 in battle (Afghanistan/Kabul disaster).

The glorious recent history of cocaine, scandal and poor leadership at West Point:

2013 – Superintendent LTG David Huntoon retires prematurely amidst accusations of ethical misconduct.

2016 – Chris Monge is imprisoned for cocaine dealing as a West Point cadet, 5 others are investigated.

2017 – Superintendent LTG Robert Caslen lets known communist Spencer Rapone graduate.

2018 – Fort Drum officers do the right thing and eliminate Rapone from the Army.

2020 – (May) 72 West Point cadets caught cheating (worst honor code scandal since 1976).

2021 – (May) BG Mark Quander becomes West Point’s 79th Commandant.

2021 – (LTG) Robert Caslen is accused of plagiarism and resigns as President of U of South Carolina.

2022 – 5 West Point cadets purchase cocaine and overdose on cocaine and fentanyl on spring break.

2022 – Media reports cocaine culture existed at West Point since at least 2016, was not new to 2022.

2022 – Judicial Watch successfully sues West Point to release CRT curriculum being taught.

2023 – West Point refuses to fully answer FOIA requests for the outcome of 2022 cocaine scandal.

2023 – (today) Fox News reports yet more CRT/pronoun training going on at West Point.

2023 – (today) BG Mark Quander is still West Point’s commandant…

Underlined items occurred on BG Quander’s watch.

BG Mark Quander (West Point class of 1995), hails from a long line of Army officers and by all accounts had a successful career as an engineer officer in the Army. He had the misfortune of becoming Commandant when West Point was roiled in years of cocaine use and honor scandals. Clearly West Point had a command climate tolerating and/or enabling serious discipline issues incompatible with service as cadets at West Point and moreover as officers in the Army. Newly arrived leaders at all levels and branches of services are expected to analyze a unit’s status (training, morale, discipline, equipment, etc) and use their leader skills to quickly and decisively find solutions to them. While Quander was not at West Point for the 2016 honor scandal, Supe scandal, and initial cocaine ring (2016), it was intuitively obvious when he arrived in 2021 that West Point had serious problems needing solutions. New officers should be afforded a reasonable time to address issues and show success by ensuring a future devoid of scandal. 10 months into his tenure, yet another national cocaine scandal erupts. One year into his tenure, it takes a federal judge to make Quander and other West Point leaders hand over FOIA information on CRT. (units are legally required to answer FOIA). 10 months was more than enough time to root out drug offenders and ensure cadets knew that such behavior would not be tolerated. Outward appearances indicate Quander did nothing since assuming his position.

Perhaps his premeditated focus was on deepening CRT’s hooks into West Point. In a February 2021 NPR interview, the only issue he discussed concerning his new job as Commandant was white extremism.

"It's hard and it's also very challenging," Quander tells Michel Martin on All Things Considered about confronting extremism. "Because I think if it was easy, we would have fixed it a long time ago. But I do think that everyone is committed to addressing it."1

The military likes to promote DEI by stating that it is working in the corporate world, so therefore it must work for the Army. Incidentally, it is not working in the corporate world. Disney recently had to fire their CEO for being too woke as ratings and subscriptions plummeted. The global banking crisis that caused the DOW to plunge over 500 points this week was in large part caused by Credit Suisse, another outspoken woke corporation. Though West Point denies focusing on CRT, DEI and CRT fingerprints are all over its website and curriculum. Fox News just today exposed yet more pronoun training sessions at West Point.

Perhaps his focus has been on DEI/CRT at the expense of all else. Perhaps he was a good field grade officer but is just not capable of performing as a general officer. Perhaps, dare we say it, he is shielded because of his race (non-white) in the new military hyper fixated on social justice at any cost. Whatever the cause of his continued presence as Commandant, continued scandals at USMA show he is unfit for office. Will higher leaders finally do the right thing to fix the discipline and leadership climate at West Point? LTG Gilland? GEN Milley?

A commander (and commandant) is responsible for all that their unit accomplishes or fails to accomplish. This can sometimes be unfair as relief for cause can sometimes be arbitrary from superiors and ‘unfair’ if a leader’s career is ruined due to feckless actions of subordinates. Life can be unfair. The stakes are too high in the Department of Defense, especially now as careless statesmanship at home and abroad seem to be propelling the US towards a continental war in Europe. While seemingly popular with his classmates on Twitter, popularity amongst peers is not criteria for success and therefore retention. BG Quander should have been fired a year ago immediately after the 2022 cocaine scandal broke. His continued presence as commandant makes a mockery of West Point’s hallowed Worth’s Battalion Orders:

But an officer on duty knows no one -- to be partial is to dishonor both himself and the object of his ill-advised favor. What will be thought of him who exacts of his friends that which disgraces him? Look at him who winks at and overlooks offenses in one, which he causes to be punished in another, and contrast him with the inflexible soldier who does his duty faithfully, notwithstanding it occasionally wars with his private feelings. The conduct of one will be venerated and emulated, the other detested as a satire upon soldiership and honor.

Brevet Major William Jenkins Worth

Worse, it is teaching future officers that is it ok for senior leaders to look the other way when egregious actions are committed and are further shielded from responsibility when doing so. To paraphrase rapper Eminem: ‘Will the real leadership at West Point please stand up.’ Graduates are watching. Active duty officers are watching. Most importantly, West Point cadets are watching.

John Hughes, MD

West Point Graduate Class of 1996

Co-Chair (registered SUPERPAC)


On November 5, 2022, West Point will play its annual football game with the Air Force Academy.  The game will be held in Dallas, Texas again.  Due to its proximity to my home, I will be in attendance with several West Point alumni friends and with my wife who is a USAFA graduate.  

The 2020 honor scandal involved many Army football players.  To date, West Point and the Army have blocked freedom of information (FOIA) requests from West Point graduates to review the current form of the cadet honor code and details of the outcome of the investigation.  It seems 15-1 (the honor code guide) became unavailable to cadets and the public after 2018.

On 10 March 2022, several Army cadets including Army football players overdosed on cocaine and fentanyl on spring break in Florida.  On 17 March 2022, Superintendent Williams began the stonewalling process in a letter sent to the Long Gray Line asking for silence from graduates on the matter.  Worse, several days later, the New York Post reported on a culture of cocaine abuse, particularly amongst West Point football players, that had apparently existed since at least 2016.1   Correlation does not equal causation, but it is interesting to note that West Point seemed to have a miraculous change of fortune in football standings during the period that allegedly featured cocaine abuse in West Point’s football locker room.  Also, the Superintendent of West Point during the majority of their recent winning seasons and time of scandal was a former Army football player.  Concerns of the Superintendent loosening ethical standards for football players continue to circulate amongst graduates.  Now GEN Williams was Superintendent of West Point from 2018-2022.

Year Army Football Record Cocaine Bowl Game

2011 3-9

2012 2-10

2013 3-9

2014 4-8

2015 2-10

2016 8-5 cocaine? won

2017 10-3 cocaine? won

2018 11-2 cocaine? won

2019 5-8 cocaine?

2020 9-3 cocaine? lost

2021 9-4 cocaine? won

Since the scandal broke, West Point has ignored several FOIA requests for information related to the investigation that was promised and required.   One of the few that was answered was filed 22 August 2022 by a 1971 USMA grad who got the following reply on 14 October 2022, more than 7 months after the cocaine scandal became national news.

“In accordance with the Army Regulations 25-55, The Army Freedom of information Act Program, we have confirmed with the custodian of the records that the investigation is not yet completed.  Please follow up with our office in 30 business days, whereas we will facilitate the confirmation of the investigation’s completion.  Once the investigation is complete, you may re-submit your request for processing.”

General Patton generated the plan and began movement of Allied forces to defeat the German army at the Battle of the Bulge in less than 36 hours.  West Point has taken more than 7 months to investigate 5 cadets who the nation knows purchased cocaine and fentanyl.  With this decline in general officer ability, it is little wonder the Kabul 2021 disaster happened.

As of 17 October 2022, West Point is 2-4 and USAFA is 5-2.  While I like a winning season as much as anyone, the events of the past year have highlighted what is truly important at the service academies.  Football standing doesn’t even make the top 10.  The past few Commander in Chief trophies that West Point has bragged about are tainted with cocaine and dishonor to many graduates.

Honor and integrity are straightforward concepts.  While no institution enjoys airing its laundry in public, the importance of trust with the public and graduates should compel West Point leaders to publicly demonstrate that it has examined the problems and revealed the fundamental changes made to fix the academy.  The disturbing trend among general officers from the Afghanistan war to hide or distort the truth appears to be continuing.  Is West Point cocaine free?  Has West Point fixed the egregious mistakes it has made in the honor code in the past few years?  We may never know.  

To many, West Point sets the ethical and moral tone for the rest of the Army.  It is noteworthy that amidst these recent West Point scandals and general officer stonewalling, The US is 0-1 in wars (Afghanistan) and isn’t even close to meeting its recruiting goals.

Which team will come to Dallas next month?  Will the team that took advantage of Superintendent Williams’ laxed policies that created the environment for the honor and cocaine scandals show up.  Or, will a team representing what West Point is supposed to be, an honorable institution whose sole purpose is to train officers to win our nation’s wars, take the field.

No matter what the score, I will cheer for the game that features cadets from 2 academies who pledge to defend America.  I pray that at the conclusion of the game, the Army football team that stands at attention towards Army fans during the playing of the Army Alma Mater will live up to the ideals in the lyrics.

Army Alma Mater

Hail, Alma Mater dear,
   To us be ever near.
Help us thy motto bear
Through all the years.
   Let Duty be well performed.
Honor be e'er untarned
Country be ever armed.
West Point, by thee.

John Hughes, MD

Emergency Physician

West Point Graduate Class of 1996

Combat Veteran


1Kennedy, Dana, et al.  Cocaine and pain pills:  Inside Secret Drug Culture at West Point.  New York Post, 19 March 2022.

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