On 19 December 2022, the West Point Association of Graduates forwarded a letter from West Point Superintendent LTG Steven Gilland to graduates of the well-known military institution. The letter began with:
Long Gray Line Teammates and the West Point Community:
During the holiday break, we will begin a multi-phased process, in accordance with Department of Defense (DoD) directives, to remove, rename or modify assets and real property at the United States Military Academy (USMA) and West Point installation that commemorate or memorialize the Confederacy or those who voluntarily served with the Confederacy.
In addition to renaming barracks and gates, the Superintendent spoke of dismantling and completely revising the West Point Class of 1961’s Reconciliation Plaza. This action item is the most concerning to many. The purpose of this monument was to show actions during and after the Civil War by West Point graduates on both sides of the war that helped the nation to heal after its most emotional and violent test of solvency. Purportedly references to Lee and other Confederate generals are to be erased and the message altered. After returning from Christmas break, cadets discovered the Supe’s directives were well underway.
The Civil War is an essential part of American history. It is impossible to connect our foundation in the late 1700s to the triumphs of the 20th century and beyond without discussing the Civil War. Superficially, it resulted in the end of slavery. However, its significance and legacy goes far deeper to the educated American. Among other things, it redefined the federal government’s relationship to states. Further, actions taken by key member of both sides helped the nation to heal and become once again One Nation Under God. Reconciliation was not easy, as recognized by perhaps one of the most important protagonists in the war – Ulysses S Grant.
In The Personal Memoirs of US Grant (1982 edition), US Grant ends his book with the following commentary and hope for the future:
“I was not egoist enough to suppose all this significance should be given because I was the object of it. But the war between the States was a very bloody and a very costly war. One side or the other had to yield principles they deemed dearer than life before it could be brought to an end. I commanded the whole of the mighty host engaged on the victorious side. I was, no matter whether deservedly so or not, a representative of that side of the controversy. It is a significant and gratifying fact that Confederates should have joined heartily in this spontaneous move. I hope the good feeling inaugurated may continue to the end.”
Of note, the principles were not about just slavery as the woke politicians that Gilland seems to mindlessly follow without much thoughtful introspection want America to believe. Further, Grant doesn’t mention Lee by name, but Lee and many other Confederate leaders devoted the rest of their lives towards guiding the South to tie its future and soul to the reunified United States. It is this spirit that the Reconciliation Plaza aimed to capture and inspire cadets and the lay public. It is impossible to comprehend and debate this outcome without including USMA graduates and other leaders that served both sides in the Civil War. Without Lee, there can be no meaningful conversation of Grant. Further, Gilland’s actions undermine Grant’s dying wishes to unify the nation and to keep forever more looking forward as one country. The Supe’s actions, whether realized or not, are contributing to the increasing divide amongst USMA grads and the rest of the nation. Many grads cut their ties with West Point and its alumni association over this specific controversial move.
Following on the heels of great censors of the past including Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and the People’s Republic of China, LTG Gilland seems to dutifully do his part to revise history to meet the needs of the modern progressive Democratic Party. A good ‘book burning’ is not commensurate with West Point’s two century legacy of training future officers to study history from all sides and to draw their own educated conclusions. A service academy Superintendent should be mindful of their influence (good/bad) on cadets and encourage thoughtfulness, not dogmatic indoctrination of one point of view.
John Hughes, MD
West Point Class of 1996
Veteran of Iraq/Afghanistan
Co-chair of www.americanism24.org a registered SUPERPAC
Reversal comes as Congress considers bill seeking redress for military's discharged vaccine refuseniks.
The United States Military Academy is reimposing restrictions on unvaccinated cadets despite the lifting of the military's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, reports military attorney R. Davis Younts, a reversal that comes even as Congress mulls legislation seeking redress for service members dismissed for vaccine refusal.
The Department of Defense rescinded the military vaccine mandate pursuant to the Dec. 23 enactment of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a measure repealing the mandate.
During the height of the pandemic, West Point implemented a policy prohibiting cadets from traveling for sports or other events, according to Younts. After the vaccine was made available, only unvaccinated cadets were restricted from traveling. Then, last semester, while the military vaccine mandate was still in place, West Point dropped the policy, allowing unvaccinated cadets to travel for sports, the Army-Navy game, and other events...
To read more visit Just The News.
A push to rename a very small portion of West Point and it’s facilities is a shameful attempt to distort and rewrite the history of the Long Gray Line. Robert E. Lee was the ninth superintendent of West Point from 1852-1855 who was responsible for strengthening the academic program and improving many of the facilities at the Academy. Robert E. Lee was a military genius, a great general, and field commander who graduated the academy second in his class with no demerits. He was a fierce warrior. Those are the qualities West Point cadets should emulate, not ignore or destroy due to the politics of the day.
West Point is an institution that should not focus on present or past political squabbles, but rather on its core mission of military tactics and leadership. It is up to civilian voices to discuss the politics of the day as Douglas MacArthur once said in his address to the Corps of Cadets in 1962. The study of Robert E. Lee and memorializations of him on academy grounds is conducive in inculcating the type of military competency and character we expect from our cadets and future military leaders.
Furthermore, President Eisenhower, who defeated the Nazis, kept a picture of Lee in the Oval Office. His reasoning was that he felt Lee was
"...one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was a poised and inspiring leader, true to the high trust reposed in him by millions of his fellow citizens; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his faith in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s calibre would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained."
The Civil War was West Point’s war in which both sides were commanded by West Point officers. It would be a disgrace for the institution to forget how closely tied it was to the war itself.
It is important to note that there would have been no Civil War but for the existence of slavery. However, that does not mean everyone who fought for the South did so because he was a devotee of the “peculiar institution” — let alone a slaveowner. Many Southerners like Lee fought because they believed their homeland was being invaded. Many thousands gave their lives to defend it. It is important to consider the mindset of those during the times. People are a product of the generation in which they lived. When Lee was offered command of the entire Federal Army by by Blair at Lincoln's bequest, he stated, “I can not draw my sword against my country...my family.” Lee looked upon Virginia as his country and when Virginia called upon him for their defense he answered the call. Lee’s decision to lead the Army of Northern Virginia was the most grueling decision he ever made. He couldn't take up arms against Virginia which was his home so he tendered his resignation from the Federal Army.
History is complex and complicated. It is up to us to deal with that complexity instead of taking the easy road of erasing it. Like it or not he is a graduate of the institution and should be studied for his military ingenuity. If removed, will memorializations of Washington and Jefferson, both slaveowners, whose names are commemorated in the mess hall and library, be next?
On 19 December 2022, USMA Superintendent Steven Gilland emailed a letter to the Long Gray Line, informing West Point graduates that certain historical artifacts at West Point would be modified or removed. His letter, obediently sent by the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG), stated:
“During the holiday break, we will begin a multi-phased process, in accordance with
Department of Defense (DoD) directives, to remove, rename or modify assets and real
property at the United States Military Academy (USMA) and West Point installation that
commemorate or memorialize the Confederacy or those who voluntarily served with the Confederacy.
These directives are based on the recommendations by the Congressional Naming
Commission, mandated by the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The
Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) approved the Commission's recommendations in October
2022 and directed implementation after an NDAA mandated 90-day waiting period, that
ended on December 18.
… We will also remove the bronze triptych at the main entrance of Bartlett Hall and
Place it in storage on post.”
Bartlett Hall Triptych: This monument’s fate is far more concerning than the others listed in LTG Gilland’s plan. Created by sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser, it was a 3-panel bronze mural that was dedicated in 1965. In September 2022, the USMA public affairs spokesperson seemed to defend the triptych, telling ABC News that the artist “wanted to create art that depicted ‘historical incidents or persons’ that symbolized the principled events of the time, thereby both documenting both tragedy and triumph in our nation’s history.” The PAO further stated that the monument "also includes individuals who were instrumental in shaping principal events of that time, and symbols like the 'Tree of Life' that depict how our nation has flourished despite its tragedies." The obscure but recently noticed KKK image on the mural was meant to show racism in the tapestry of history. The commission directed the removal of the images/naming of specific Confederate generals (Lee, Stuart, Jackson, and Brooke) but did not direct that the entire triptych be removed. The commission merely directed for certain items on the large mural to be modified. West Point, however, chose to completely remove the entire 3 panel mural and place it in storage. The 4 Confederate generals and KKK reference were only 5 objects on a large 3 panel mural. The mural was well known to cadets. The tiny Confederate and KKK references on it were not, however, well known. The central large figure of President Abraham Lincoln, though, had a well-worn sculpted head because cadets like myself used to rub the Lincoln head on the way to classes for luck. West Point has chosen to remove the entire mural that had references to Union victory, President Lincoln (the great Emancipator), WW2, and Korea because they are offensive. The revisionist targeting appears to have already spread beyond the Confederacy to key white figures in American history, even Union ones.
The summer of 2020 saw BLM led riots that resulted in monuments being vandalized, removed, and destroyed nationwide. Directly or indirectly supported by national Democrat elected officials, the carnage began with Confederate statues and quickly spread to Grant, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson, WW1 memorials, and many other non-Confederate monuments. The only common thread was that the damaged/destroyed/removed memorabilia all concerned white historical figures in American history.
What was Abraham Lincoln’s offense in LTG Gilland’s eyes? Across America, Lincoln statues have been defaced and removed, schools with ‘Lincoln’ in their name have been renamed, and Lincoln’s reputation has been slandered by woke politicians and mobs. Clearly lacking courage and conviction, or even common sense, LTG Gilland has ordered Abraham Lincoln to be removed and placed in storage so cadets can no longer view his ‘reviled’ face or suffer the ‘shame’ of walking past such a ‘contemptuous’ figure in American history.
LTG Gilland exceeded the mandate for selective modification of the bronze triptych and instead condemned the entire artifact, including the most prominently featured item, the rendering of President Abraham Lincoln. This is the same Lincoln who was murdered for defeating the South and freeing the slaves. Gilland also continues the recent trend of West Point superintendents to ignore Freedom of Information Act requests and to deny CRT indoctrination at West Point. Last month, he quickly gave 5 cadets refusing the Covid-19 vaccine mandate General Officer Memorandums of Reprimand, despite knowing that very soon the mandate would likely be (and was) voted to be ended by Congress. Was he wanting to be on the record to curry favor with SECDEF Lloyd Austin who had been an outspoken proponent of the vaccine and by punishing ‘disobedient’ religious servicemembers? Perhaps LTG Gilland wants to appear even more obedient and woke than his predecessor, now GEN Darryl Williams, in hopes he too will garner praise and earn a 4th star. In the process, Gilland has willingly shown his hand and expanded his CRT enabled contempt for West Point and American history by cancelling one of the greatest presidents of the United States. You go, Steven. You and Brandon (and Lloyd) are best buds now.
John Hughes, MD
West Point Graduate, Veteran of Iraq/Afghanistan
On 15 December 2022, the Senate passed a colossal $858 Billion military spending bill. By a vote of 83-11, the bill passed and went to President Biden for signature. Notably, the GOP included language that eliminates the vaccine mandate for the Department of Defense. Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had vehemently opposed the proposal to remove the military vaccine mandate, claiming his mandate had saved hundreds of lives. In reality, 96 active-duty members had died of Covid-19 in nearly 3 years. Austin, who was fully vaccinated and boosted, famously contracted Covid-19 twice in 2022 alone, despite his obedience to his own mandate.
Thousands of active duty servicemembers and dozens of cadets from all service academies had been separated for refusing the vaccine, even ones who sought exemptions of religious grounds. In addition to low morale, the services had experienced enormous recruiting shortfalls, prompting 20 Republican governors to send President Biden a letter last week stating that the vaccine mandate was risking National Guard effectiveness.
On 4 December 2022, Austin had told the media, “We lost a million people to this virus. A million people died in the United States of America. We lost hundreds in DoD. So, this mandate has kept people healthy.” In 2021, as soon as the vaccine was FDA approved, Austin ordered the mandate for the Covid-19 vaccination. Non-compliant servicemembers were harassed by chains of command and in many cases, separated from the military. Very few exceptions were authorized and DoD refused to provide an explanation despite repeated demands from Congress.
No cadets at the service academies died from Covid-19. Amazingly, healthy 18-22 year olds didn’t seem to be at risk from the disease itself. Less than 0.3% of deaths nationwide occurred in Americans 24 years of age and younger. Most of the Covid-19 deaths were in older Americans and those with co-morbidities, 2 categories West Point cadets in particular are absent from.
In early November 2022, the 6 remaining USMA cadets who refused the vaccine on religious grounds were ordered to get the vaccine late in the day, denying them legal recourse to examine the order. The USMA Inspector General denied cadet appeals to scrutinize the legality of the order. Despite letters of appeal from USMA graduates and a Congressman-elect discussing the issue on national TV, the Superintendent of West Point, LTG Steven Gilland, issued General Officer Memorandums of Reprimand to the cadets who then awaited separation orders.
While many who knew him before his West Point tenure describe LTG Gilland as a good and decent officer in Army line units, this particular general officer placed obedience to the SECDEF and therefore ‘brown nosing’ above religious freedom or even patience to see how the political winds will handle the mandate. His decision to go ahead and punish the cadets and prepare expulsion proceedings demonstrates his ethical downfall once he began to wear stars on his uniform.
Unless President Biden vetoes the defense spending bill that eliminates the DoD vaccine mandate, the hated military Covid-19 requirement will end. Any servicemember still on active-duty will instantly be out of jeopardy. Further congressional/senatorial demands may seek re-instatement of servicemembers and removal of unfavorable punishments meted out under SECDEF Austin’s misguided policy. The 5 cadets LTG Gilland reprimanded will remain at USMA and hopefully graduate and bring their courage and conviction to the Army. That being said, forever more it will be known that when LTG Gilland had a chance to play the hero and pause (or halt) the policy at his academy, he chose instead to be a mindless, obedient servant of the SECDEF. Cadets deserve a better leader to emulate at West Point.
John Hughes, MD
Veteran of OIF/OEF
Member of www.starrs.us
LTG Steven Gilland became USMA’s 61st Superintendent on 27 June 2022. Prior to this, he was a decorated combat officer and had a distinguished career in special operations and in the conventional Army. He assumed his duties at West Point at a very challenging time in the wake of the messes made by prior Superintendents. It is easy to look at his illustrious career and interview prior subordinates who praised his past leadership and ask that public opinion give him a pass with the ethical dilemma of unvaccinated military servicemembers.
Before Disney/Pixar became a woke machine focused on indoctrinating America’s children, it made many movies with sound morals and sage, timeless advice. Its 1998 classic Bug’s Life has a scene where the evil grasshopper Hopper tells the young new ant queen, “First rule of leadership: everything is your fault.”
It is no longer April 2020. Covid hasn’t just arrived in the US. There is not a sea of unknowns about the virus and the vaccine. This is not the Spanish flu that killed over 45,000 servicemembers and nearly imperiled the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of 2018, prolonging a war. LTG Gilland has been aware of the DoD vaccine mandate for over a year. He volunteered to become Superintendent knowing that the question of dispositions of unvaccinated cadets was unanswered.
Once a commander assumes the office and issues the first order, he/she owns the position and all of the unit’s problems. It is unfortunate that the confluence of a new Superintendent with a stellar career, a virus that has killed less than 100 servicemembers in nearly 3 years, 6 cadets who value freedom of speech and religion, and a misguided DoD mandate occurred within months of his arrival. His predicament is manifest in the term ‘loneliness of command.’ Commanders/generals are surrounded by staffs, but in the end, they alone must make the decision and they alone own it.
The Superintendent position is bigger than any person. Many excellent officers in history have had careers cut short due to events beyond their control including but not limited to higher commanders who have grudges against lower officers, unlucky circumstances that resulted in damage to equipment or injury to soldiers, and/or a good officer ‘doing the right thing’ and falling on their sword to protect subordinates. With today’s politics in Washington DC that are becoming increasingly hostile to DoD’s steadfast reluctance to eliminate the mandate, it is quite possible that if LTG Gilland resists pressure to separate the unvaccinated cadets, no harm will befall his career. It is improbable given the 2022 election results that the Chief of Staff of the Army or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will make a public spectacle of rebuking or relieving him. It is also quite possible that doing the right thing could end his career. He may also just opt to separate the cadets and try to wither the storm and also hide behind the above argument to give him an ethical pass because he is the ‘new guy.’
In the end, officers have to find out for themselves what they truly value. If sacrificing 6 cadets to make the flag officer’s retirement shadow box brighter, then they will have to live with the dishonor of what they have done. Conversely, many ethical officers gladly sacrifice a few extra trinkets in a picture frame for the lifelong knowledge that they did the right thing, superiors be damned. Whatever the Superintendent decides, he will own the decision and must not be allowed to have an ethical pass because he had a great career and is ‘new.’ If the keeper of the Honor Code behaves this way, then West Point is obsolete and should be closed as it is failing in its core mission from the top down.
John Hughes, MD
Member of www.starrs.us
1 Bug’s Life. Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar. 1998
For too long, the forces of evil in the US have been keeping non-Woke Americans on their heels, forcing them to constantly react and chase balls like manic puppies. The education community caved first, with the head of the 1.7 million strong National Federation of Teachers (Ms Randi Weingarten) recommending amnesty for decisions made during the pandemic. Up until the summer of 2020, such a request could have seemed reasonable. Not much was known about covid or its effets. Over 2 years later, it is criminal.
It is past time to go on the offensive. In areas including but not limited to covid vaccine and side effects, covid mandates, opioid deaths, psychological and educational trauma to children, defunding the police, and economic damage from misguided policies it is time to start associating key officials by name with their policy and the untoward outcomes.
Regarding the DoD covid vaccine mandate, for example, it has been known for some time what populations were most at risk (elderly, serious medical conditions) and rightfully needed to be protected from the virus from Wuhan Province. It has also been known for some time that there were serious side effects associated with the vaccine. The data on side effects was willfully and knowingly suppressed by Pfizer under the cover of the US federal government with the power to suppress such information. Specific individuals that can be named from Pfizer and the government were involved. Disparate reports of harm done to young Americans by the vaccine are widespread; up until recently, anyone daring to acknowledge their existence faced cancel culture socially, economically, and professionally. Recently, Pfizer has finally spoken the word ‘myocarditis’ with its announcement of investigation into the ‘possible’ side effects of the vaccine and long-term consequences. Amazingly, even NBC news announced the investigation. Unfortunately, it is well known that NFL football player Da’Vion Miller was far from the only one affected. The rumors of the effects did not emerge in November of 2022. They emerged long ago and those who sounded the alarm early on like Dr Peter McCullough were professionally ruined and, in his case, actually sued.
Misguided and selfish as they are, modern US generals are still smart individuals. Most have graduate degrees and are very well read. In spite of this, they rubber stamped the vaccine mandate for young military servicemembers who were at little if any risk of dying from Covid. If informed consent was allowed, soldiers would have been told that the risk of harm from the Covid virus was likely equal to or less than the risk of the vaccine.
Some reports put the number of servicemembers eliminated for vaccine noncompliance at over 15,000. This is roughly the equivalent of a US Army division. The last time a US division got wiped out was at the Battle of the Bulge when the green 106th infantry division was destroyed by the experienced Wehrmacht in December 1944. Current US generals have succeeded in destroying enough combat power to field a division for a disease that killed at total of 98 servicemembers in nearly 3 years. A disease that has almost a 0% kill rate in young healthy servicemembers and who are at the highest risk of myocarditis (particularly young males) and other complications of the vaccine.
It is time by name to hold Pfizer, CDC officials, certain politicians, and individual generals and DoD leaders responsible for any and all side effects/deaths from the vaccine that they forced on servicemembers. They were not ‘following the science’ and their actions ran counter to a century of informed consent and to 3 years’ worth of data and charts on the impact of Covid. ‘I was just following orders’ was an excuse given by Nazi officers during WW2. It didn’t hold up then and it shouldn’t hold up now. Just like in the Nuremburg trials, it is past due to begin prosecuting our misguided, blindly obedient generals who have knowingly and consciously weakened our military and worse put our nation’s most precious resource (our sons and daughters in the military) at risk.
2 months after President Biden declared the pandemic over, LTG Gilland, West Point Superintendent, is actually contemplating expelling 6 more servicemembers (West Point cadets) for vaccine non-compliance. The only thing generals respond to these days are threats against their careers. It is time to bring that career threat and potential criminal presecution to US general and further begin to debate criminal intent and for them to know what could happen if they emerge on the ‘wrong side of history.’ It won’t be ignored and forgiven. It is time to go on the offense to bring the misguided whole house of cards down and restore not only our military but also our Democracy. The best defense is a good offense and they are less likely to inflict further damage on our military if they are fearing investigation and punishment.
John Hughes, MD
West Point Class of 1996
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.”
This timeless wisdom from General Douglas MacArthur is both sage and sorely needed counsel for modern American general officers. Twice, MacArthur and officers of his caliber saved the country and the world from tyranny in wars that engulfed the entire world. Though charismatic, he had relevance in US military operations from WW1 to the Korean war not just because of his technical ability to command armies but also because of his moral fiber as a leader. On April 11, 1951, President Truman fired General MacArthur for his public statements regarding how the revered general thought the Korean War should be fought. Taking a stand cost MacArthur his command and his career, but highlighted what was special about one of America’s most famous generals. He was willing to risk his career for what he believed in. That altruistic belief was not about personal promotion or cushy post-military employment (goals that corrupt too many general officers of today). His concern was about the nation. It was about the troops in his command and winning a war.
Fast forward to 2022. The new breed of generals and admirals advance through the ranks but very few if any will be remembered in the history books decades from now. None have been ‘mavericks’ arguing for any new methods of warfare. They presided over a disaster in Afghanistan where no senior leaders were fired or held accountable. A political ideology has consumed the branches of service with little to no pushback from senior military leaders. Nearly 15,000 military servicemembers have been booted from the ranks for a controversial vaccine mandate. From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to Service Chiefs to senior commanders to academy Superintendents, generals and admirals have obediently and faithfully executed the bidding of political masters to the detriment of the force. Recruiting and retention levels are at crisis levels. US military strategic deterrent is a disaster. Admiral Charles Richard recently stated, “We used to know how to move fast, and we have lost the art of that,” the admiral added. The military talks “about how we are going to mitigate our assumed eventual failure” to field new ballistic submarines, bombers or long-range weapons, instead of flipping the question to ask: “What’s it going to take? Is it money? Is it people? Do you need authorities?” That’s “how we got to the Moon by 1969.”
In September 2022, the Commander in Chief declared the COVID-19 pandemic over. Since then, the Coast Guard academy shamefully threw out more cadets over the mandate. ‘"They were escorted to the gate like they were criminals or something," the lawyer, Michael Rose, told the newspaper. “No one helped them with travel arrangements or gave them any money," said Rose, based in Summerville, S.C.. "One had to get to California, one to Alaska. One's estranged from home and living out of his truck, according to an email I received describing his situation." Rose said two of the seven cadets had no homes to return to.’
No senior flag officers have had the courage or initiative to take a stand for the force. There is a chance that such a move could cost the leader their career. Knowing this, none have stepped up to become a true leader of character. West Point Superintendent Steven Gilland began the process to separate 6 cadets at West Point who are unvaccinated and were denied religious exemptions. There is a high likelihood that he will follow through and spend the rest of his 4 ½ years as Superintendent doing what Superintendents do – waving at football games and parades and doing the usual admin and ceremonial duties of the position. If he does, decades from now he will be lumped in with the rest of the quiet, do-nothing generals and admirals who feverishly achieved mediocracy and never took a stand on anything of import in their career.
Or, he could be that general that looked at the moment in history and opined on what should really be done. The pandemic is over. 0 cadets have died. Morale is low across the military and recruiting is a disaster. He could be that guy that granted exemptions and began the movement to end the DoD mandate so the military could focus on real issues, not manufactured social crises from its partisan political leadership. It could cost him his job. He already has a comfortable retirement pension guaranteed. But taking that stand now to buck the lazy groupthink that has infected the general officer corps would most certainly make him a hero in the eyes of many. He could be that guy that took a stand to begin to turn the page and resurrect the military from the ‘funk’ it is in at the moment. The eyes of many of the cadets and Long Gray Line members are on him. Does he have the character to think independently and be a real leader and begin the end of the destructive COVID-19 vaccine purge?
As Spike Lee instructed in his 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing.”
John Hughes, MD
West Point Class of 1996 (#1 grad)
Veteran of Iraq/Afghanistan
Member of www.starrs.us
West Point’s Honor Code is simple and clear. Engraved on a wall in the Thayer Walk Honor Plaza, it states, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” In May 2020, 73 cadets were accused of cheating on a calculus exam. Of these, 6 cadets resigned during the investigation, 4 cadets were acquitted, and 2 cases against cadets were dropped. Of the 61 ‘found’ guilty of cheating, 8 were expelled, 2 were turned back 6 months, and the remaining 51 were turned back one year. 45 of the accused were athletes, and of these, 24 were football players. “A few have played in football games this season after having been accused of cheating. Some of those players [were able to] dress and play in the  Liberty Bowl on Thursday, according to Army Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt, a West Point spokesman [at the time in 2021].”1 Amazingly, the Superintendent at the time, a former Army football player, allowed the football players to continue playing during the investigation. In another era, when West Point’s graduates actually won wars, the cadets would have been tried before the Honor committee and, if ‘found’ guilty, expelled immediately.
In December 2021, a West Point cadet quietly graduated late and is now an officer in the Army. Unofficial reports indicated that the cadet was the subject of an honor code investigation and educational vignette in which the cadet stole a watch from the PX and was caught on camera. The same Superintendent, LTG Darryl Williams, apparently allowed the cadet to graduate. When questioned by Class of 1962 graduates at a reunion in 2022, he stated he had no knowledge of the event. In another era, cadets who stole would be tried by the Honor committee and, if ‘found’ guilty, would have been promptly expelled.
Fast forward to November 2022. Just days after subjecting a contingent of several hundred West Point cadets to extreme COVID-19 risks at the West Point/Air Force Academy Football game in a Texas stadium with 33,000+ fans (many unvaccinated), West Point’s current Superintendent (LTG Steven Gilland) moved to order the remaining unvaccinated cadets to get vaccinated or face expulsion. The cadets applied for and were denied an exemption on religious grounds. The cadets now face UCMJ administrative action that can include involuntary separation under either Honorable Conditions or General Under Honorable Conditions. The latter means the cadets, if discharged from West Point and the Army could face job discrimination for the remainder of their lives, similar to soldiers who are discharged for serious infractions or crimes.
LTG Gilland assumed duties as the Superintendent in June 2022. He was not Superintendent during the above-listed scandals involving lying, cheating, and stealing. He also does not control the official Army COVID-19 vaccine policy. He does, however, have the authority and influence to help those in his command obtain waivers. He clearly has shown no interest in granting waivers to cadets having religious objections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment of the US Constitution. He owes cadets, the Long Gray Line of graduates, and the nation an explanation for why West Point has adopted this upside-down moral directive. Clearly, he and West Point view religious freedom as a worse moral defect than lying, cheating, and/or stealing. These 6 cadets will likely soon become civilians due to their religious beliefs, while the other cadets convicted of lying, cheating, and/or stealing will be officers leading the US Army’s soldiers.
If you would like to weigh in on the issue, consider going to change.org and signing a petition condemning West Point’s misguided moral system.
Petition link: https://chng.it/JKj55wGh5r
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
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:
We look forward to your response.
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…
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