By lex, on January 27th, 2010
We had them once, or at least we pretended to. CDR Salamander carries the anecdotal tale of a USNA football player who popped hard for THC but who was retained. The chorus of voices is informal, but so is the informed opinion of small villages, which is very rarely wrong. People know.
When the commandant and I were both at Navy – lo! those many years ago – we were all aware of certain privileged individuals among privileged classes that could continue to commissioning despite academic probation, honor violations, weight standard busts and PRT failures. Some for all of the above.
Nothing much has changed these days, except that the Academy is no longer * a hermetically sealed institution with the inmates indistinguishable from the guards.
But, that is after all a significant change: In the old days, we shrugged it off, kept our heads down and hit the fleet. We liked to believe what we had been fed – that we were the cream of the American youth pursuing an education at one of the country’s most competitively excellent schools of higher learning. Publicly disparaging the institution or its graduates would have brought a tincture of discredit to the rest of us. We knocked our rings, exchanged knowing glances and kept the dirty laundry out of sight.
But we’d all grown up in the post-Watergate age, we were ingrained with a healthy skepticism about authority and institutions. At the end of four years playing cops and robbers with the officers, perhaps some midshipmen were even jaded. But today’s generation of mids might be more idealistic than we were – the poor dears – and information will get out.
Most of all to the fleet, where today a sailor will stand before his commanding officer at mast on drug charges, facing inevitable discharge, his future shaped by the condition of that discharge on his DD-214: “Other than honorable”.
His shipmates will read about a coddled officer candidate being retained at our premier academic institution designed to deliver leaders who are morally, mentally and physically prepared to one day stand at that captain’s podium. The sailors – our priceless human capital – will draw their own conclusions about our Navy’s vision of being an “employer of choice”.
The world has changed. We’d best wake up to it.
* 09-24-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.