Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Cadets at the Coast Guard Academy can breath easier now. Admiral James Van Sice is gone. The specter of possibly facing a court-martial is gone. As the first and only Superintendent ever to court-martial a cadet, he blazed a new trail going where none had ever gone before. With his faithful companion Douglas Wisniewski, they ruined the lives of a number of impressionable cadets who only wanted to please them. As he was a beer brewer of some renowned that, no doubt, added to the fever of the cadet corps to drink heartily. Once you double your pleasure, and then double your fun, what else can one expect from a bunch of drunken future officers and gentlepersons but some friendly repartee with the opposite sex? Right?
The jury is still out on Van Sice and Wisniewski. I am still waiting to see which Wonder Boy came up with the bright idea that it would be a good thing to court-martial a cadet. Court-martialing a cadet is similar to sending your own son to jail rather than to his room for an infraction of some family rule. No one calls the police when they need to discipline a family member. There is a paternal relationship between the Superintendent and the corps of cadets. The man who did this was devoid of character. He had a character flaw.
It takes a strong hand to turn a page of history. Van Sice turned a page of Coast Guard history. At the same time, he set back human relations almost 300 years. When the Forensic Experts of history finish analyzing this page of Coast Guard history whose finger prints will be found? Will they belong to Van Sice, or will they belong to Wisniewski? Or, is there another major player hiding in the woodpile?
Regardless, it will be Van Sice who will be remembered as the man who first court-martialed a cadet. He was in charge. He was getting paid the big bucks to make the big decisions. His name belongs in the Coast Guard Hall of Shame. As they sit on the forecastle of the Eagle and other Coast Guard cutters and sit around camp fires at remote duty stations, discussing common memories and shared experiences, they will remember Van Sice as the man who shattered the shibboleth.
So, it is a good thing that Van Sice is history. Rather than being required to fall on his sword in front of the entire Regiment, Van Sice was granted permission to retire after a six month cooling off period in Washington, DC. Like Richard Nixon who reportedly moved crime into the White House so he could keep a closer eye on it, Admiral Robert J. Papp, has moved Van Sice to Coast Guard Headquarters so he will know where he is at all times. This is just in case he has a few questions for the former Superintendent after the Task Force Report has been approved.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

Comdt Thad Allen Vows CGA Report Will Be Thorough. He says it's 'incredibly important' that study of cadet culture be
done right.
By Jennifer Grogan

Published on 1/10/2007.

New London — The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard promised Tuesday a “fully transparent” report on student life at the Coast Guard Academy.
Adm. Thad W. Allen said the report, which is expected at Coast Guard headquarters this month, will examine whether recent incidents of cadet
misbehavior are isolated or part of a trend.

The review was initiated after the court-martial of a former cadet last summer on charges of sexual assault, and after other reports of sexual misbehavior and alcohol abuse surfaced.

“Anytime you have anything like that happen, it's a problem,” Allen said.
“The question is, is it a problem in isolation or are there systemic
issues to deal with?”

Since September, a task force has been examining the climate and
culture among cadets at the academy. Retired Rear Adm. Erroll Brown, the first African-American to be promoted to flag rank in the Coast Guard, leads the group. Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, the Coast Guard's chief of staff, will
review the report. The final version could be released in February.

Allen said there will be an event to pass out the report and identify where the service needs to take action.

“I'm incredibly proud of Admiral Brown and his folks taking a look at this,” he said.

Allen discussed the report in an interview following his annual
leadership address at the academy Tuesday. He shared some of the report's preliminary findings with the cadets.

“It's incredibly important we get this right,” he told them. “This
institution is being looked at because you are special. You competed against some of the most qualified students, athletes and college candidates in the world. You owe it to yourself, in terms of self-respect, and we owe it
to you, in terms of the respect we have for you, to make sure this four years is the best we can do to produce competent officers and leaders of the Coast Guard.”

Two of the report's themes, Allen said, are the need to instill
“officership” in the cadet corps and the importance of respect. He
defines officership as the skill, expertise and personal integrity required of a Coast Guard officer as a professional, a leader and a servant of the nation.

“In the process of becoming an officer, you are held to a higher
standard,” Allen said. “I am held to a higher standard. We are all held to a higher standard.”

Officers must embody the core values of the Coast Guard — honor,
respect and devotion to duty, he said. Allen views respect as a link between honor and duty, which binds the two together.

“It's what takes you as an individual, the talent and the skills that you have, and allows you to function in a larger organization to serve your
country,” he said.

Allen added that when people make mistakes and bad decisions, this
absence of respect “erodes and tears apart the link between honor and devotion to duty.”

“Your time here is indistinguishable from the rest of your time in the service,” he told the cadets. “It is our challenge and it is your challenge
to understand the extraordinary opportunity that exists for you within these walls, to understand that you are today members of the Coast Guard. If you understand that simple idea, you will know why respect for yourself and
others is so vitally important here and in the field.”

After the speech, Capt. Judith Keene, the academy's commandant of
cadets, thanked Allen.

“You reinforced everything we have been saying to the cadets,” she told him.

Rob O'Donnell, a senior or first-class cadet, said he appreciated
Allen's candor.

“He brought things to light and he gave us a path to ensure that the
academy continues to do the good things it has done so far,” he said.

The review at the academy is part of a larger self-assessment being
done by the Coast Guard. Allen said he has ordered a “top-to-bottom review.”

The Coast Guard is in the final stages of examining how it is organized to deliver support services for field units and how operations are directed through the command and control systems.

As the Coast Guard adapts to a changing strategic environment, Allen said that the training of cadets must also change. He said possibilities could include a modified curriculum at the academy with lessons that provide more of a strategic context.

“If you're going to develop an officer corps capable of handling a much broader spectrum of threats in the future, you have to make sure that those types of competencies are started to be imbedded when you bring officers in through Officer Candidate School or the academy here,” he said.

There is a discussion within the Department of Homeland Security about educational opportunities and leadership development. There has been talk of a school devoted to the new view of national protection, but a location has
not been announced.

Allen said the academy has a significant amount of related
infrastructure, capacity and competency.

“The question is, How should we position the academy going forward in what will be a department-wide demand for education and training?” he said.
“There probably are some opportunities here.”

6:01 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

While the investigations continue, the academy carries on.

Unfortunately, some other cadets especially cadet Webster Smith cannot carry on with his duties.

The malice and personal vendettas involved in the speedy "execution" of Cadet Smith was tantamount to a KKK mob lynching. The only difference is that we change the initials from "KKK" to "CGA".

Gone, are the overt "in your face" hatred and prejudice, now replaced with hidden, and subliminal traits of malice and bias directed toward Cadet Smith.

The malice is hidden for one reason only: it’s difficult to prove in a court martial.

Yet some of the CGA hierarchy apparently has turned a blind eye towards the plight of this once outstanding cadet, emphasizing respect for fellow cadets.

Respect is a trait you learn from your parents. It goes back to pre-school, even before then.

I submit to you that there are more female cadets who have been disrespectful to male cadets, only when the heat is on, to have the male cadets’ stand in the line of fire, while the female cadets play the victim, stating that she was disrespected, or even violated in order to save her ass. Female cadets need to understand that they can't have it both ways.

This will never be taught in a multi-gender environment.


CGA academy for men and CGA academy for women. The CGA academy for men will be located in the East Coast and the academy for women on the West Coast.

That’s how you bring back respect to the academy.

Captain Judith Keene, the academy's commandant of cadets, is an honorable woman who has made a difference.

But with all due respect, the only way to achieve forward momentum, and to prevent future abuses of power from hierarchy, and from female cadets suddenly "playing the victim" such as in the case of Webster Smith is to separate the sexes by creating two separate academies.

At that young age, it is cynical and naive to assume that all cadets will fall in line or even subscribe to issues of respect and boundaries, when the two sexes are training together, eating together, etc.

It makes a nice philosophical "feel good" presentation, but its application will remain poor unless the academy separates the sexes.

Only then will the men graduate as true men officers, and the women cadets graduate as true women officers with their honors and values intact.

But, I realize that this solution is too simple, too basic to even consider. In this day and age of political correctness, this will never happen.

I believe that Admiral Thad Allen is a man of integrity and an independent thinker who will take everything into account regarding Cadet Smith and do the right thing.

I believe that Admiral Thad Allen understands that MERCY outruns malice.

I believe that Admiral Allen will reinstate Cadet Webster Smith.

10:12 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

There is nothing subtle about you. You spit it right out. I wonder how many others in the silent majority feel and think the same as you.
I would not say it exactly the same as you, but I get your point. I have been following this case for 9 months or so, and we are at a critical juncture. I believe decisive action in the next few weeks could resolve this awful situation to every one’s satisfaction. It would be a compromise solution, no doubt.
The truly Bad Apples have been identified. The operation is almost over. It appears that it will be a success. However, I hope that this is not one of those operations where the operation is a success, but the patient dies. That is what can happen in this case if Webster Smith is not made whole again. That would include, among other things, reinstatement, payment of back-pay and allowances, purging his records, and a sincere apology from someone.
You state one profound truth, that Mercy outruns malice. I certainly hope so. Justice will not heal the wounds that have been inflicted upon Webster Smith. Only Mercy can do that. Those in the habit of saying “Lord, have mercy” can now say “Thad, have mercy!”

3:14 PM  
Blogger Christopher T. Rock said...

"Lord have mercy," "Thad have mercy,"
I'm baaccck! This is Christopher T. Rock, the angry black serviceman somewhere in America tonight.
Let's be serious. Regardless of what injustices may have occured in the past, Webster was tried and accused of raping a white "woman," whom, by his own admission, had been drinking. Once again, someone should have given him a class on Black Man 101. Unfortunately, we live in a racist world where Black men and women are held to a different standard. Since he was able to survive four years at the academy, I'm sure that he was wittness to injustive to his people on more than one occasion. Plain n' simple...if Webster had blonde hair and blue eyes and happened to look like Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell, then yes, he probably would have been commissioned in the thug mansion. All in all, in this country, if a white woman accuses you of anything, you'd better move to Belieze.
Oh, yeah. What's up with the white Cadet Miller being dismissed with state charges of 3rd degree sexual assualt? I haven't seen his picture? What does former Cadet Miller look like? I feel deprived.
Webster's not going to get reinstated....he's BLACK. OJ holla if you hear me! I tell you what Judge, If Webster gets reinstated, then the next time you are in the Dallas area, I'll buy a round of drinks for you and the whole club.

8:00 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

International Herald Tribune - France
(The Associated Press) WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2007
Lawyers for a former cadet who was the first student court-martialed in the 130-year history of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's are seeking to reverse his convictions for sexual misconduct.
Oral Arguments before the Coast Guard Court of Military Appeals is set for 16 January 2008 in Arlington, Va.

10:52 AM  

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