Honor and Duty Dying at West Point

"Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won."
 So says the Cadet Prayer, consistent with the best West Point tradition.  Unfortunately, it seems that this ideal is on the rocks, and the recent revelations of goings on at West Point are but the tip of the iceberg- and the rot runs deep.

The good LTC (Ret.) Robert M. Heffington (yes, that same LTC that wrote up Cadet Rapone) has written an open letter revealing the deep and profoundly troubling problems at West Point in the last decade.  He documents an institution a shadow of it's former self, stripped of any real sense of honor or duty, and that has left him- and he is himself an alumnus- considering that the institution should perhaps no longer remain open.  You can read the letter here, but be warned- it's deeply troubling in it's implications about our military, our government, and in truth, our society.


raven said...

Deeply troubling indeed. Fundamentally transforming. The new Cadets sound like they might be a lot easier to direct against their countrymen.

Cassandra said...

It is troubling, but training commands like West Point and the USNA are often hotbeds of political intrigue.

We were stationed at USNA for 3.5 years, and there was a lot of political game playing; Congresscritters visiting and wanting to be told what they wanted to hear, the usual nonsense when dealing with Persons of Identity, special exceptions to both academic and conduct standards made for football players, etc.

And that was back in the 1990s.

If you recall, 8 years ago a NA instructor wrote a whole series of articles on how diversity was eroding standards:


If I recall, that led to the CNO saying something particularly idiotic (even given the source, which sets a very high bar) about diversity being the Navy's top priority.

raven said...


Ouch! Nice twist of the knife!

Cassandra said...

FWIW, douglas makes a good point insofar as people (rightly or wrongly) consider the service academies to be places where standards should still apply - a little bit of the city on the hill idea.

If you can't even hold to the standard when it doesn't matter so much (in a rarefied atmosphere where cadets/midshipPersuns aren't 'real' officers yet, don't have 'real' responsibilities, and are getting their 4 year degrees paid for - which puts them in debt to the school/service) then how in the holy heck can we hold the line in the actual services they will eventually graduate into?

I mean, gosh -- out there in the wild, you've got (shudder) ROTC types and state school grads and Mustangs and others of the lower order to deal with! :p

The Spousal Unit completed a year + at the NA. He wanted to be independent and not ask his parents to pay for his college, and this seemed like a good way to do that. He's an odd mix of cynicism and idealism - he became disillusioned when it seemed to him that 'a rule wasn't a rule' (uneven and even capricious enforcement), so rather than carp for 3 more years, he got out and eventually became a Marine instead. He left with close to a 4.0, so it wasn't inability to adapt or perform. He felt more at home in the Marines, because in general, there was more uniform (pun fully intended) accountability. So I guess it was a better fit for him.

This was in the 70s, and may reflect differences in Navy vs. Marine culture as much as anything else. When we were there, they started the bulldog program b/c mids who were contemplating going Marine Corps seemed to think they shouldn't have to do what all other Marine officer candidates had to do. It's a strange culture.

For Grim, bulldog was a James Webb program.

Anonymous said...

That’s ambiguous phrased. Was ‘bulldog’ a correction to that, an endorsement of it, or an introduction of Marine-specific standards? I know Webb was concerned about the dilution of standards at that time, but also about training for the specific hard tasks he’d faced in VN.

-Traveling Grim

Cass said...

I read it ws a correction, and exposure to Marine-specific standards.

Bulldog for the NA basically (I'm hoping I remember this correctly - it was a LONG time ago!) required mids to complete a 6 week bulldog OCS course (similar to PLC) to qualify for a Marine commission. I think this is the same thing NROTC folks had to go through on 2 consecutive summers, as opposed to the one longer, 10 week OCS course the Spousal One completed. He signed up in college (not NROTC).

I do recall it was a BIG controversy at the time, as some midshipPersuns seemed to think they'd "been there, done that" already (they hadn't, and some where having trouble cutting the mustard, hence the requirement).

There's probably someone who knows far more about this than I. I was just a wife, raising kids and going to school at the time. Still, I remember it as being a big kerfuffle.

Cass said...

Is Travelling Grim anything like the Travelling Wilburys?

- bummed about Tom Petty

douglas said...

Thanks, Cass- I do think that's the even bigger issue- that if the academies can't even pretend to uphold standards anymore, why should anyone? Isn't Trump himself a kind of 'throwing it back in their faces' to the left for just that?

Add to that what Raven said about being able to point these clowns inward, and I find all of this really disturbing.

But maybe I'm just an old, idealistic fuddy-duddy.

Cass said...

In a lot of ways, the service academies are showcases. That (IMNSHO) is partly what leads to the politics, b/c appearances take on an almost outsized importance. Sometimes, substance gets clobbered.

But I agree, douglas. More and more these days I find myself aghast that the left are going nuts over Trump's lack of finesse/decorum when they led the frontal assault on all these "norms" they keep hyperventilating about.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but jeez. Don't ask me to take their complaints seriously when just a few years ago, I was upset by their attempts to mainstream crude behavior and in-your-face theatrics.

Ymar Sakar said...

Death squads have to trained somewhere for my predictions to come true, after all....

The government is here to help, and the loyal patriotic US military Would Never Obey Illegal Orders. Right.

If Civil War 2 happens, it's not going to be that clean. Even people in 2007 could figure that out. But they never studied what actually happened in the decades before Civil War 2. After having done so, I am amazed at how I knew things I shouldn't have known.