Monday, August 07, 2006


The torch has been passed to a new "gender" and a new generation at the Coast Guard Academy. Members of the United States Coast Guard Academy class of 2008, 23 percent of whom are female, were formally accepted into the Corps of Cadets during a ceremony Wed. Aug. 18, 2004 on the academy's Parade Grounds.

Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King would be proud. Spike Lee should feel proud. America has learned from them. Doctor King's non-violent civil rights movement became the preferred model for others fighting for their rights in America. The Homosexual Rights movement fighting for a right to same sex marriage has patterned their movement on the Civil Rights Movement. The Women's Rights Movement borrowed their tactics from Doctor King. Even the children of illegal aliens have declared a right to equal "entitlements" asserting their intention to engage in mass protests and non-violent direct action. All have adopted the methods used by Doctor King, a great American social engineer. Fortunately none of them will have to face police dogs, high pressure fire hoses, or angry white mobs. They will not have to fill the jail cells with Black children looking for their rightful place in American society. All they have to do is adopt the catchy slogans of director Spike Lee in his groundbreaking movie entitled "Do The Right Thing".

Captain Judy Keene, the Academy's first female Commandant of Cadets, is moving into her campus office during a pivotal time in the Academy's 130-year history. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of women cadets first lining up for drills and attending classes with men, the academy is taking stock after the turmoil left by the first general court-martial of a cadet. Webster M. Smith, 23, of Houston, was convicted in June of extorting a female classmate for sexual favors.

The Class of 1980 included the first 14 women to graduate from the Academy. The changes they brought to the cadet culture, changes Captain Keene said she took for granted as a student only a year later, were significant for their ordinariness: a beautician in the campus barbershop who knew how to cut women's hair, and uniform trousers made for women.

The Class of 1966 included the first African American to graduate from the Academy. In the Class of 1968 there were two more. They were not able to bring about any changes in the cadet culture. Their cries for a barber who knew how to cut African American hair fell on deaf ears. It would be years before African American skin care products were offered for sale in the cadet store. After 1978 with its large number of Black cadets small changes began to appear. Again the African American struggle for dignity and self-respect was leading the way. The doors they opened were quickly filled by other social classes in America.

Black cadets arrived 14 years before the female cadets, but there has never been an African American Commandant of Cadets. Their arrival has never been commemorated by a symposium.

The arrival of Captain Keene is welcomed. It is progress of some sort. Women are making tremendous progress. One day the system will have to hold them equally responsible for engaging in consensual sex acts, not only for reporting them.

CAPE MAY: (3.17) Capt. Sandra Stosz will assume command of the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center here March 22.
Commanding Officer, Capt. Curtis B. Odom will retire after 30 years of service.
A change of command ceremony, a time-honored, sea-service tradition, will take place as Stosz relieves Odom March 22 at 11 a.m. in the center's gymnasium.
The ceremony will be attended by training center personnel, family and friends of the commanding officer and prospective commanding officer.
In 1978, Stosz entered the Coast Guard Academy. She was a member of its third class to include women, among 12 women in a class of about 300.
In 1990, Stosz became the first woman to command a cutter, Katmai Bay, in the Great Lakes. an ice-breaking tug.
She was featured in People magazine and National Geographic, and made an appearance on the television show "To Tell the Truth."
I n 2002, she became the third woman to command a medium-endurance cutter when she assumed command of Reliance with an 80-person crew. Her duties included the newly-added role of homeland security.
In 2004, Stosz assumed a post at the National War College in Washington, D.C. She earned her master’s degree in National Security Policy.
Stosz has a master of business administration degree and completed an executive fellowship in national security through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Academy under Captain Doug Wisniewski has shown that it is willing to pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to ensure the survival and success of women at the Academy. The word has gone forth. The torch has been passed. A new generation has taken power at the Academy, but remnants of the old are languishing in the U. S. Navy Brig in Goose Creek, South Carolina. The last chapter has yet to be written in the Webster Smith saga.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

'We Are Doing The Right Thing'
Academy's first female Commandant of Cadets is confident of ability to set the proper course
By Richard Rainey

Published on 8/6/2006
Capt. Judith Keene has deep roots in the Coast Guard here, having graduated from the academy and later commanded Coast Guard Station New London.

'Everything about the culture defied the presence of women at that time, really everything. And so it could become very isolating.'
Director of Admissions Capt. Susan Bibeau

Members of the United States Coast Guard Academy class of 2008 are formally accepted into the Corps of Cadets during a ceremony Wed. Aug. 18, 2004 on the academy's Washington Parade Grounds.

THE chance to flout a gender barrier did not call a young Judith Keene to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy 29 years ago. Nor did it spur on her long and varied career in uniform.
Nonetheless, she did break a barrier this summer when she became the first woman to serve as the academy's commandant of cadets.

Now a captain, Keene is moving into her campus office during a pivotal time in the academy's 130-year history. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of women cadets first lining up for drills and attending classes with men, the academy is taking stock after the turmoil left by the first general court-martial of a cadet. Webster M. Smith, 23, of Houston, was convicted in June of extorting a female classmate for sexual favors.

Smith's trial left an aftershock rippling through the cadet corps, according to cadets and academy officials. Testimony and interviews with those involved revealed an underlying sense that female cadets felt either fearful about reporting incidents of sexual assault or hopeless that anything would be done if they did.

Assuaging those fears and enacting positive changes are two missions at the top of Keene's list.

“Bad things have happened here, but we are addressing them,” she said. “We are going to deal with them, and we are doing the right thing.”

Keene, who graduated in 1981, credited the women of the class before her with paving the way for a generation of female officers in the Coast Guard.

“We really owe them a lot,” she said.

The Class of 1980 included the first 14 women to graduate from the academy. The changes they brought to the cadet culture, changes Keene said she took for granted as a student only a year later, were significant for their ordinariness: a beautician in the campus barbershop who knew how to cut women's hair; uniform trousers made for women; nascent athletic teams, stretching from a champion women's sailing team to an ill-advised gymnastics team (only one woman in the original class had any background in the sport).

By graduation, that first class had lost 24 of the 38 women who donned uniforms in the summer of 1976. The women who stayed endured persecution in both harsh and subtle forms, said Capt. Susan Bibeau, a member of that class who is now the academy's director of admissions.

“Everything about the culture defied the presence of women at that time, really everything,” she said. “And so it could become very isolating.”

Interviews with former cadets and news reports from that time described misogyny among the cadets sometimes manifested in obscene language and ostracism. Women said they did not band together for fear of being accused of collusion.

“We did realize – in my case, two weeks into it – we were up against a different challenge, one we hadn't thought of,” Bibeau continued. “We realized that we were actually pioneering. ... and I think most had to decide, are we going to take on that baggage or not?”

The women who did stick it out at the academy led the way for others to come.

“Over the years, there was almost like a shift even then. There were women in every class, and everything seemed normal,” said Jean Wilczynski of Old Lyme, who graduated from the academy in 1983. “And even though there were still people who felt women shouldn't be there, it was very clear we were there.”

Now women equal men at the academy in achievement and in the chain of command, and some women have ascended to elite positions in the cadet corps. Last semester's regimental commander – the highest militarily ranked cadet – was a woman.

“Here at the Coast Guard Academy we do a really good job at keeping everything level,” said Cadet DeCarol Davis, president of the junior class, in a recent interview.

Raw data from a survey by academy officials in August 2005 revealed that nearly half the senior female cadets did not know they could report a sexual assault confidentially to a counselor.

Ten women at the academy reported 18 incidents of sexual assault in the survey, entitled the “Human Relations Climate Survey of Cadets.” Of those women, five thought the formal procedures offered by the academy helped them deal with the incidents.

Smith or his accusers might have been involved in some of the complaints, said an academy spokesman. A team of Pentagon analysts from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, which plans to look at the data later this month, should be able to make that determination.

In Smith's trial, five current or former female cadets testified that the senior cadet and former football player had inappropriately touched them. One woman, his former girlfriend, accused him of rape. Four of the women testified they had been drinking with Smith during the alleged incidents.

After eight days in the makeshift courtroom at the academy, Smith was convicted of extortion, sodomy and indecent assault in connection with only one of his accusers. The rape charge was dropped. He is now serving a six-month sentence in a Navy brig while awaiting an appeal.

On June 28, during Smith's sentencing, Capt. Douglas J. Wisniewski testified in writing that Smith's actions sent “fear and suspicion” through the corps of cadets. Wisniewski, now stationed at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., was Keene's predecessor.

“Female cadets expressed their opinions that reporting sexual misconduct is not worth the personal toll on their lives,” Wisniewski wrote.

Alcohol consumption and carousing among 18- to 22-year-olds is nothing beyond the scope of life on most college campuses, said Bibeau, who returned to the school to head the admissions department in August 2001.

But the academy is a military institution funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is ultimately funded by taxpayer dollars. The school holds itself to a higher standard, she said.

The percentage of female cadets in the student body has hovered between 28 percent and 32 percent since 1999. It is the highest percentage of its kind among the nation's four military academies.

However, the incoming freshman class – the Class of 2010 – is 23 percent female. While reasons for the decline are only speculation at this point, Bibeau surmised that it could be a combination of an effort by the other academies to attract more women and the blow to the school's reputation landed by Smith's court-martial. She pointed out that she had received very few inquiries about the trial from prospective students.

Sitting at the long table in her office during a mid-July interview, Keene, 46, said she felt “energized” by her new wards, the 980-odd cadets who will march through the academy's gates in mid-August.

Keene's curriculum vitae appears tailor-made to help guide the prestigious academy as it assesses its policies. Tucked among her plans is what she hopes will clear the apparent confusion among women students about reporting sexual harassment or assault.

“We're going to be placing strict emphasis on our core values: honor, respect and devotion to duty,” she said.

Keene entered the academy in 1977. A tall, blonde 17-year-old from Florida who grew up in a strict household, she fell in love with the lifesaving mission of the Coast Guard. She was also in love with her boyfriend at the time, she said, who spurred her application to the school through his own desire to attend.

“That was our plan, we were going to go together,” she said.

She got in. He, however, did not. But by that point, Keene said, she knew what to expect from the smallest of the nation's four military academies.

“I knew it was going to be hard,” she said. “You can't look through the Coast Guard Academy yearbook without getting a sense of some of the challenges you're going to have to face.”

After graduation, she served on various ships and in a diverse array of commands. She earned her master's degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii. She is familiar with New London, having commanded the Coast Guard Station here from 1991 to 1994. And she knows the challenges women face in uniform; she served as the gender policy adviser to the commandant of the Coast Guard for two years.

The new commandant of cadets ascribes to what she called “the broken window theory.” It is a philosophy that for more than two decades has governed many city police departments. It postulates that a deteriorated environment leads to disorder among its inhabitants.

With that in mind, Keene said, she will place renewed emphasis on the “basics” among the cadets – from proper attire to clean bunks and decorum at the dinner table.

“If you enforce just the basic bottom line rules and regulations, and you do it constantly and consistently, it's a lot easier to enforce the larger things,” she said.

To handle those larger things, especially reports of sexual assault and harassment at the school, Keene said she has planned roundtable discussions and focus groups for cadets.

Keene also said she will return direct command of the cadets to commissioned lieutenants to ramp up supervision. For the past four years, the academy implemented a leadership strategy in which upperclassmen were the first line of discipline for students.

Beyond the changes, Keene said she sensed optimism among the returning cadets.

“They are enthusiastic, and they are very proud of what they have individually and collectively accomplished,” she said. “And I think they are looking ahead as well.”

3:36 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

FREE Webster Smith!!!

What is it that keeps Admiral James Van Sice from acting on the Court-martial Action Report in the Case of Webster Smith? What is it that prevented him from expending more effort to informally resolve the Civil Rights Complaint? Is it an arrogance of power?

Success requires making tough decisions, demonstrating real leadership, fulfilling responsibilities, and keeping commitments.
Football coach Nick Saban is too busy to have dinner with the President of the United States.
Saban is the head coach of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins. Saban declined an invitation to dine with the President of the United States. Like many of us, Saban is very busy. He is a man with responsibilities. "It wasn't a tough decision," argued sportswriter Michael Wilbon, "as much as it was a dumb decision, certainly an arrogant decision." Has Admiral Van Sice made yet another arrogant decision?

It is possible that the Webster Smith case could make it all the way to the Supreme Court. This dispute is a case of first impression. Chief Justice John Roberts does not want this kind of case coming to the Supreme Court.

´Too many people think whenever there's any kind of dispute in our society, well let's take it to the Supreme Court and they'll decide," Chief Justice Roberts said. "In a democratic republic that shouldn't be someone's first reaction. ..”

These and other little-known facts of Roberts's home life appear in a new kid-friendly biography, "John G. Roberts, Jr.: Chief Justice," by Lisa Tucker McElroy. It has just gone on sale at the Supreme Court gift shop. Pitched at about a sixth-grade reading level, the 48-page hardcover book filled with family photos is part of a Lerner Publishing Group series that also includes the life stories of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D), and Mother Teresa.
The emphasis throughout, though, is on the humanizing anecdote. It contains a frank and touching account of the adoption of John and Jane Roberts's two children.
Kids would do well to learn from that experience, since some of them might have to cut a few extra lawns this summer to afford the $23.95 retail price of the biography.
The book is based on interviews with Roberts and his family from last November.

In 1961, French President Charles DeGaulle told US President John Kennedy, "I predict you will sink step by step into a bottomless quagmire, however much you spend in men and money," as the latter assumed responsibility of pursuing the war in Vietnam from the French. The Middle East has also become a political and military quagmire with no foreseeable outlet.
A quagmire is a complicated situation from which it is difficult if not impossible to extricate oneself. The Webster Smith case could become a quagmire for the Coast Guard Aacademy. The Convening Authority forwarded charges to a court-martial against the best advice of the Article 32 Investigating Officer. The Academy civil rights Officer and the Superintendent failed to even try to informally resolve the Civil Rights Complaint. Instead, they forwarded it to Coast Guard Headquarters. This is a good case of passing the buck. This appears to be the hallmark of the Administration of Captain Doug Wisniewski and Admiral James Van Sice Administration. It has always been the policy of responsible leaders to try to resolve all situations at the lowest level possible. Neither Webster Smith nor his parents were contacted in any attempt to effect an informal resolution. Perhaps it is a good thing that the women are taking over the Coast Guard Academy. They can't do any worse.

6:03 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Illegals want Entitlements

Thank heaven for the massive marches across the country by those favoring illegal immigrants. These marches revealed the ugly truth behind the fog of pious words and clever political spin from the media and from both Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

The movement to grant amnesty and eventual U.S. citizenship to some 12 million illegal aliens has turned the issue from the sounds of silence to the sounds of entitlement.

The entitlement mentality did not begin in America, but it has flourished here in the last century. The American claim on entitlements to health care, retirement income and seemingly any “right” one can conceive was birthed from the womb of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, reared by Kennedy’s New Frontier and came of age in Johnson’s Great Society. U.S. citizens, fanned by the flames of those who encourage class warfare, are increasing their demands for government-redistributed income and programs that guarantee outcomes, not opportunities. Non-citizens are now voicing the sounds of entitlement to an easy road to citizenship.
Illegal aliens know they can receive free health care in hospital emergency rooms, paid for by U.S. taxpayers. A little publicized provision in the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act set aside $250 million in taxpayer dollars to reimburse hospitals for costs associated with treating illegal aliens. In a twist of logic only Congress could conceive, hospitals are barred from asking an emergency room patient if they are in the U.S. illegally. The long-run cost of this provision will surely skyrocket as hospitals continue to submit claims on coverage of people who may be illegal aliens.

Illegal aliens living and working in the U.S. have now co-opted the entitlement mentality present in too many Americans. Worse, their demands for the right to vote, guaranteed by our Constitution to citizens only, and access to social services are encouraged by elected officials trying to buy their future votes. At recent rallies Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY), to name just two, argued that illegal aliens must be allowed to remain in the U.S. and put on the path toward full citizenship rights. In other words, let’s skip the illegal part.

In addition to demands for voting rights, health care coverage and U.S. citizenship, many illegal aliens feel they are entitled to U.S. soil itself. Two groups that have helped organize the illegal alien rallies across the country, the Aztlan Movement and the Mexica Movement, believe it is American citizens who are in fact on their continent illegally. The Aztlan Movement seeks to create a separate nation comprised of northern Mexico and parts of the American Southwest, including California, Arizona and New Mexico. Members of the Mexica Movement, who waved signs at recent rallies that read “This Is Our Continent, Not Yours”, seek to completely remove Americans from North America and surrender control of the U.S. to Mexico.
The underlying tragedy of the present situation is that it is doubtful whether the activist loudmouths, who were too contemptuous of this country to even speak its language while demanding its benefits, represent most immigrants from Mexico.
The United States would never have become the United States had the litany of entitlement programs and the unnatural attitudes they foster been in place in the 1800s and early 1900s. This was the time when newly freed slaves struck out to work on achieving their own dreams, when American expansion and settlement headed west, and when millions of Europeans crossed the Atlantic for a hard but better life. The only thing promised was abundant opportunity, given in exchange for assimilation and adherence to the rule of law.

We must demand that our president and Congress secure our borders and our sovereignty as a nation of laws and citizen rights. To those who enter this country legally, welcome to America. Illegal entitlement is not an option.

Herman Cain is host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show The Bottom Line with Herman Cain and a contributing columnist on

6:43 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

FREE Webster Smith!!!
Cadet Webster Smith was denied the 14th Amendment guarantee of the equal protection of the law.

The United States is not making the case for freedom, democracy and Western law to the rest of the world, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said over the weekend.

"Make no mistake, there's a jury that's out. In half the world, the verdict is not yet in. The commitment to accept the Western idea of democracy has not yet been made, and they are waiting for you to make the case," Kennedy said in an address to the American Bar Association.

Kennedy, 70, said he fears many parts of the world are not yet convinced that the American form of government as designed by the framers of the Constitution guarantees a better way of life.

"Our best security, our only security, is in the world of ideas, and I sense a slight foreboding," he said.

Kennedy, a moderate justice who has become a key swing vote on the Supreme Court, argued that the meaning of the phrase "rule of law" must be made clear in order to spread the cause of freedom to other countries. He avoided singling out specific nations.
He said the rule of law has three parts: it must be binding on all government officials, it must respect the dignity, equality and human rights of every person, and it must guarantee people the right to enforce the law without fear of retaliation.

"Americans must understand that if the rules of law have meaning, such as hope and inspiration for the rest of the world, it must be coupled with the opportunity to improve human existence," Kennedy said.

The United States' quest to spread freedom will only succeed if people in other countries accept the promises made by a democratic government, he said. "For us, law is a liberating force. It's a promise, it's a covenant that says you can hope, you can dream, you can dare, you can plan," he said. "We must explain to a doubting world where the verdict is still out."

Kennedy, who has served on the Supreme Court since 1988, urged the attorneys in the audience to do their part to work for the preservation of basic rights and uphold the principles of the American justice system.

American Bar Association President Michael Greco discussed some of the same themes as he introduced Kennedy.
"Any threat to liberties and human rights in one country is a threat to the citizens of all nations," Greco said. "The most fundamental responsibility of members of the legal profession is to ensure that the law is used as an instrument to advance the basic principles of justice, fairness and equality."

© 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

7:01 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Academy has drifted off course.
Coast Guard Academy Has Drifted Far Off Course
Sex scandal reveals failings at the very core of Academy's approaches to traning.

By Patrick H. Knowles Jr.

Published on 7/30/2006 in Editorial » Perspective

The Coast Guard Academy has three primary functions: educate young men and women; train them in the art and science of maritime military service; and align and transform their values to those required by the institution and the service. It is in this last function that we have apparently witnessed a systemic breakdown and failure.
The recent Cadet Webster Smith debacle provided evidence of individual moral and values breakdown – both on the part of Mr. Smith as well as many of the women involved. There was enough drunken and lewd behavior that no one made a sympathetic figure. Digital photos, drinking to the point of vomiting and blacking out, extortion, “career ending” indiscretions, casual sex with multiple partners – Hollywood couldn't have written anything as salacious as this depressing reality.

As tragic as these individual failings were, the truly sad and disturbing thought is they indicate a systemic failure of the Academy to mold the values of individuals to those values vital and necessary to the organization – the U.S. Coast Guard. In days of yore, the values system of the incoming cadets was closely aligned with those deemed necessary by the service. Typically, any course corrections were minor in nature.

Today, the task of realigning values systems is not easy, given the society from which the Academy draws its candidates. The values and mores outside the gates are at times far removed from those required inside. But molding the values of individuals to those of the organization is the task that is before the Coast Guard Academy – and it is the task the American taxpayer deserves to see fulfilled.

Given this systemic failure, one can only hope the superintendent orders a bottom-up review of how the academy does business. Those officers charged with leading the professional development of cadets should be formally versed in alcohol and substance abuse, adolescent behavior and development, and psychology. Gone are the days when officers are deemed ready to assume these roles simply by virtue of having attained the lofty rank of lieutenant.

Some sort of advanced training or degree program should be a mandatory prerequisite before assuming such a post. These days, simply being an officer is no longer sufficient qualification for the responsibility of transforming cadets into officers.

The system of recognizing and assigning responsibility to cadets must be carefully examined, for the “best and the brightest” appear to be among those demonstrating risky behavior. Cadets exhibiting and recognized for the highest academic and military proficiency were part of this tale of drunkenness and debauchery.

Seemingly intelligent, motivated and ambitious women (upwards of seven) all 'hooked-up' with a single man, and all within an eight month time period. Given the small, close-knit nature of the Academy, I imagine these liaisons were widely known.

Regardless of the outcome, this behavior is just plain stupid. If Academy officials think this aberrant behavior isn't being carried out on a larger scale, they are being deliberately naive.

The recently adopted leadership policy of allowing the “Corps (of Cadets) to lead the Corps” must be recognized for what it is – an abject failure. Cadets are bright, motivated, ambitious, and frequently mature. We cannot lose sight of the fact that they are also adolescents. This means they are typically interested in the present, with limited thoughts of the future; they enter into frequently changing relationships; and they engage in experimentation with sex and alcohol.

The best way, the only way, to regain control of the behavior of adolescent cadets is to increase the adult supervision. Officers tasked with cadet professional development must become even more involved in the day-to-day operations of the Corps of Cadets. The visibility of adult supervisors must be increased. A doubling or trebling of the overnight watchstanders in the barracks would seem to be in order.

An essential part of this review should include a discussion about accountability – staff and faculty accountability. Despite attempts to “individualize” this event (the “one bad apple” scenario), this debacle is a likely harbinger of a much larger problem.

How did this problem go unrecognized? Why are there not systems and procedures in place to detect the aberrant behavior recently splashed across the front pages? How is it that cadets singled out for their military proficiency can simultaneously engage in perilous behavior – is the system that singles them out as being “superior cadets” somehow flawed? Is there a need to think “outside the box” on the issues of alcohol consumption and cadet romantic relationships?

It is not enough to declare revulsion with sexual assault. The systemic problem is not one of incomplete, inefficient, or unclear reporting procedures or processes. Those are management issues. The problem is about a system that appears unsuccessful in aligning cadet values to the point that they demonstrate conduct becoming a gentleman – or a lady. These are leadership issues.

There isn't just a single alligator under the water, in all likelihood there are several. And they are not of a single gender either. The Coast Guard Academy would do well to drain the swamp and rid itself of them all...before the next one rears up and bites the academy in the you-know-what.

Patrick H. Knowles Jr. is a 1983 CGA graduate. He completed a 20-year career, retiring as a lieutenant commander. He spent the last nine years of his career as an Academy engineering professor, and assisting in the summer leadership training of Academy cadets. Among his duties he was an overnight watchstander in the Cadet Barracks, He remains active in the Academy community.

11:39 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

G.I. JANE and The American Warrior
(W. Thomas Smith Jr. has written.)

G.I. Jane

We've all heard the congressmen and congresswomen on the House floor talking about our men and women fighting in Iraq, as if to suggest that every single soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine, regardless of gender or job description is actually FIGHTING. Politicians love to suggest that everyone is fighting, because it sounds fair and inclusive, and most of their constituents truly do not know any better.

Granted, the battle lines are certainly blurred in the modern world. Some women have certainly been flying aircraft in-and-over battle spaces; and some women on the ground have had to squeeze the triggers of their weapons in self-defense and while defending others. This has in fact happened several times involving women who serve in military police units. And all have performed magnificently in a variety of critical roles: An example being Army Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, whose remarkable leadership and heroic performance in action against an insurgent ambush on March 20, 2005 I reported in a Scripps Howard piece.

But percentage-wise, female soldiers are not fighting (in the pure sense of the word) on a par with their male counterparts. And in terms of “offensive ground combat,” females do not serve in those units designated for that kind of fighting.

Females are not kicking in doors and fighting alongside the Marines in Ramadi. They did not storm Fallujah. They don't suit up for counter-terror missions and other special operations. Nor do they go out on infantry patrols. And according to Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), they should not.

“Women have always served in the armed forces with courage and distinction,” Donnelly writes in a 2006 CMR article, Grim toll of women lost in war. “But there is no military necessity to send young women and mothers to fight in close combat areas where they do not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive.”

Granted, women have been killed and wounded in Iraq, but not because they were personally engaged in “offensive ground combat.” Most by far have been the victims of ambush, as have American civilian construction workers and truck-drivers, none of whom are combatants either.

But those who disagree with Donnelly seem to look for any opportunity to perpetuate the myth because they see the military as beneficial in a way in which it was not designed to be (and I'll get to that in a moment).

Minority Representation

Then there is the suggestion that American minorities (and those from lower income urban areas) are being over-represented among the front-line combat troops. But according to Who is Volunteering for Today's Military, “Urban areas are actually underrepresented among new recruits. Suburban and rural areas are overrepresented.”

The report states that African American troops, who represent roughly 17 percent of the overall military force, have suffered approximately 11 percent of those killed in Iraq. Whereas, white Americans who comprise 67 percent of the force have suffered 74 percent of those killed in Iraq. And Hispanic Americans, nine percent of the overall force, have suffered 11 percent deaths.

All have performed well, and distinguished themselves in combat. But the higher white and Hispanic casualty percentages reflect the fact that those two groups, for whatever reasons, overwhelming enlist for service in frontline infantry and special operations units. So the idea that minorities (except in the case of Hispanics) or those from the inner city are disproportionately fighting and dying in Iraq is simply not so.

“This pattern results from occupational choices young people make,” according to DoD. “For example, African American youth choose to serve in support occupations such as the health care field, which tend to feature valuable job training over bonuses or education incentives. These are the choices young volunteers make.”

The Purpose of the Military

Some might ask, why bring a discussion of gender and race into a discussion of the American warrior culture? The answer lies in the fact that gender and race issues are key components of American military culture, just as they are of American society. There is indeed a history of discrimination in the American military. But in the sense of rectifying any forms of past discrimination, the American military has in many ways proven to be more progressive than American society.

Additionally, though men and women of all races and ethnicities serve and have served in the military with great honor and distinction, there are those Americans with a political aversion to our military culture who would prefer to use the military for social experimentation rather than for what the military was designed to do: Fight and win wars. And they have used and twisted the gender and race variables for their own benefit (as discussed in who's actually doing the fighting , and who is -- and is not -- being over-represented).

About W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Author-journalist W. Thomas Smith Jr. has written four books, edited two, and penned more than a thousand of pieces for a variety of publications including USA TODAY, George, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, The New York Post, The Washington Times, The (UK) Guardian, and The Scripps Howard News Service. He is executive editor of World Defense Review, a frequent contributor to National Review Online, and an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina's School of Journalism.

A former Marine Corps infantry leader and parachutist, Smith has written extensively about military/defense issues. He has covered conflict in the Balkans and on the West Bank, as well as covering the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York.

Smith is a contributing editor at

2:08 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard Thirteenth District
Press Release Date: August 18, 2006
Contact: 13th District Public Affairs Office
Pacific Area Public Affairs Office
COAST GUARD ISLAND, ALAMEDA, Calif. - Two Coast Guard divers assigned to the Seattle-based Coast Guard Cutter Healy died Thursday afternoon during a routine dive operation in the Arctic Ocean approximately 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska.
Deceased are Lt. Jessica Hill, 30, of St. Augustine, Fla., and Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Duque, 26, of Miami.
The victim's next of kin have been notified and additional support services are being provided to each family, as well as Healy crewmembers.
"I felt a deep sense of loss when I received the initial report on this situation," said Vice Adm. Charles D. Wurster, Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, adding, "I offer my prayers to the families and friends of Lieutenant Hill and Petty Officer Duque in their time of grieving."
Healy was engaged in a science mission when the accident occurred. The dive was intended to be a cold-water familiarization dive near the bow of the ship, a routine activity when the ship is operating in Arctic ice. During this type of dive, the ship sits idle and hazardous pumps and propellers are disengaged.
The cause of this dive accident is under investigation.
"The Coast Guard will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this accident," Wurster said.
The 420-foot Healy is one of three polar ice breakers operated by the Coast Guard. Healy is primarily used for Arctic science operations under sponsorship of the U.S. National Science Foundation.
More information about Healy can be found by visiting

From the Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard It is with great sadness that I inform you of the tragic loss of two of our shipmates. LT Jessica Hill of St. Augustine, Florida, and BM2 Steven Duque of Miami, Florida, lost their lives in the line of duty while conducting diving operations from CGC HEALY during an icebreaking mission approximately 600 miles Northwest of Barrow, Alaska. Despite all efforts by the crew of HEALY, they could not be revived after being rescued from the water in distress.

Our highest priority now is to fully support the family, friends and shipmates of LT Hill and BM2 Duque during this difficult time. Both members were single without children, and their respective family members have been notified. I have directed the District and Area commanders to provide whatever support services are necessary for the families and crew of HEALY. HEALY is returning to Barrow where we will be better able to assist them. Two concurrent investigations will be conducted to help determine the circumstances surrounding this accident.

In my conversation with HEALY’s commanding officer, CAPT Doug Russell, this afternoon, I expressed my personal condolences to him and his crew and pledged my support for them while they deal with this loss. CAPT Russell spoke proudly of LT Hill and BM2 Duque. LT Hill was on her second Coast Guard tour serving as the Marine Science Officer aboard HEALY. She was a graduate of University of Western Alabama. BM2 Duque enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2002, and served both afloat and ashore prior to being assigned as one of HEALY’s divers.

This loss is a reminder to all of us that we operate in a hazardous environment and must remain vigilant. It also reminds us that Coast Guard men and women serve our Nation proudly across the reaches of the globe to preserve and protect our national maritime safety, security and stewardship interests. LT Hill and BM2 Duque made the ultimate sacrifice. We are proud of their selfless service and honor them by our continued dedication to the important work we do for the American people.

Please join Secretary Chertoff, me, and all who serve in uniform in taking a moment today to reflect on the loss of these two brave and heroic members of our Coast Guard family in whatever way you find most appropriate. Please keep their families, friends and shipmates in your thoughts and prayers in the days to come. Details on memorial services and how you can express your condolences to the families of LT Hill and BM2 Duque will be provided when available.

/s/ Admiral Thad Allen

11:52 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Lt. Jessica Hill, female diver, dies inspecting ship's rudder.
Saturday, August 19, 2006

Coast Guard diver drowns during science mission in Arctic


Thirty-year-old Coast Guard Lt. Jessica Hill, educated in marine
loved the science missions she took aboard the Healy, a Seattle-based

She also was a Coast Guard diver, tested in the same Navy diving school
popularized in the 2000 film "Men of Honor."

On Friday, friends and family were remembering Hill as "a woman of

She died, with another Coast Guard diver, Petty Officer 2nd Class Steve
Duque, 26, of Miami, in a diving accident Thursday afternoon during a
science mission to the Arctic Ocean on the Healy.

"Jess was vibrant, smart, mentally and physically strong ... and funny.
was doing what she loved when she died. She was a joy. ... She was the
bright star in the family," said Bill Eby of Savannah, Ga., the father
one of Hill's stepbrothers.

Duque's family could not be reached for comment. But his family
feels, like Hill's, "that it doesn't make any sense," Eby said.

"It's not fair, and we're all just trying to deal with it."

The 420-foot Healy was conducting science missions sponsored by the
National Science Foundation, and was 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska,
Thursday afternoon when the two were killed, said Senior Chief Petty
Keith Alholm, spokesman for Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, Calif.

The bodies of Hill and Duque were being transported Friday aboard the
to the nearest port, where a Coast Guard C-130 will fly them to their
hometowns and families.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the

The Coast Guard late Friday had conflicting information about what the
divers were doing when they were killed. In the late afternoon, Coast
officials said the two died during a "familiarization dive" for cold
at the bow of the ship.

Earlier in the day, Coast Guard officials had said the two died during
routine shallow-water dive to inspect the ship's rudder.

The losses quickly rippled throughout the Coast Guard community.

In Seattle, Lt. Cmdr. Andre Billeaudeaux, a former Coast Guard diver,
that although he did not know the two, the small community of Coast
divers was grieving.

"I wish I could put the words to the feelings we share. Safety is
from top to bottom, day in and day out, whenever you do a dive," he

Coast Guard divers train with U.S. Navy divers at the Navy diving
school in
Panama City, Fla.

Any able-bodied person who is physically fit, whether an officer or
person, can apply. Only a few openings are available each year.
Selection is
determined by factors including command approval, physical fitness,
abilities and other capabilities.

"They are a highly spirited, can-do group of professional men and
Billeaudeaux said.

Though the nation's polar icebreaking fleet is based in Seattle, all
Guard vessels over 210 feet long come under direct control of the Coast
Guard's Pacific Area commander.

The Healy is one of three polar icebreakers operated by the Coast Guard
though one, the Polar Star, was mothballed here recently. The Healy is
primarily used for Arctic science operations, its budget controlled by
U.S. National Science Foundation.

Hill had a boyfriend in the Coast Guard in Seattle who took a job on
land to
avoid a conflict of interest with her work at sea, Eby said. The
could not be reached for comment.

Hill grew up in St. Augustine, Fla., and had a master's degree in
science from the University of South Alabama, Eby said. She joined the
Guard after college.

Hill left with the ship for a mission in April and again in July.

She was due back with the ship in November.

She e-mailed Eby in April, telling him about all that was new and good
her life, including her boyfriend, Tim, good friends, baseball and her
P-I reporter Mike Barber can be reached at 206-448-8018 or

12:04 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Rise in Alcohol Abuse by College Women. WebMD Medical News
(Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
March 15, 2007) -- A report released 15 March shows what researchers call an alarming rise in binge drinking among college women, part of a trend of rampant drinking and drug use on campuses nationwide. And a second report released by the government concludes that young girls are increasingly turning to household inhalants to get high, a practice known as "huffing."
It isn't clear whether the studies, which were released separately, point to an overall trend in increased drug use among women and girls. But they are two examples of females catching up in two forms of substance abuse once dominated by males.
Drinking on Campus has changed.
Men have historically reported higher rates of drinking than women. But the difference now seems to have evaporated.
The report found a 16% rise between 1993 and 2005 in the number of full-time college students who acknowledge frequent binge drinking. But binge drinking was up 22% in women, nearly double the increase in men. At the same time, 37% of college women said they drank on 10 or more occasions in the last month.
The study, using a survey of 2,000 students on 400 campuses, also found a steep rise in abuse of prescription pain drugs by college students. Nonmedical use of narcotic drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin shot up 343% between 1993 and 2005, the report shows.
The report "reveals not only a lack of progress, but rather an alarming public health crisis on America's college campuses," says Joseph Califano, president of CASA and a former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Carter administration.
The report blames lax attitudes on college campuses toward drinking, which is widespread but illegal for most freshmen and sophomores if they are under 21. Califano calls for a ban on alcohol advertising in school-related publications and at sporting events, noting that the sports stadium at the University of Colorado is named for the Coors beer company.
The report also criticizes alumni associations and fraternities and sororities for often fostering an environment where heavy drinking is accepted or encouraged.
"There has been a failure of leadership," Califano says. "The college presidents and the college leadership do not have this high on their radar screens."

SOURCES: "Substance Abuse at America's Colleges and Universities," CASA, Joseph Califano, president, CASA."2005 National Survey on Drug Use & Health," Department of Health and Human Services. Jennifer DeVallance, spokeswoman, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

12:00 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Black Man replaced by white Woman, again.
CAPE MAY: (3.17) Capt. Sandra Stosz will assume command of the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center here March 22.
Commanding Officer, Capt. Curtis B. Odom will retire after 30 years of service.
A change of command ceremony, a time-honored, sea-service tradition, will take place as Stosz relieves Odom March 22 at 11 a.m. in the center's gymnasium.
The ceremony will be attended by training center personnel, family and friends of the commanding officer and prospective commanding officer.
In 1978, Stosz entered the Coast Guard Academy. She was a member of its third class to include women, among 12 women in a class of about 300.
In 1990, Stosz became the first woman to command a cutter, Katmai Bay, in the Great Lakes. an ice-breaking tug.
She was featured in People magazine and National Geographic, and made an appearance on the television show "To Tell the Truth."
I n 2002, she became the third woman to command a medium-endurance cutter when she assumed command of Reliance with an 80-person crew. Her duties included the newly-added role of homeland security.
In 2004, Stosz assumed a post at the National War College in Washington, D.C. She earned her master’s degree in National Security Policy.
Stosz has a master of business administration degree and completed an executive fellowship in national security through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

12:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home