Monday, February 26, 2007

Academy Superintendent Made Inappropriate Comments.

Admiral James Van Sise, Superintendent at the Coast Guard Academy, made inappropriate comments to several people, and he made inappropriate comments about people. Cadet Webster Smith was the man of the hour, and Van Sice is the mother of all liars. Captain Doug Wisniewski is the father.
Van Sice and Wisniewski had a gross disadvantage over Cadet Webster Smith. He was lower than whale feces at the bottom of the ocean. They were sitting on top of Mount Olympus. Being the demi-gods that they aspired to be, they chose to plant their feet on the back of Webster Smith’s neck and grind his face into the mud. Then they drug him through the ringer. They took full advantage of their power and position. They had no qualms about destroying the life of a defenseless young cadet. They were as compassionate as a Bourbon Street hooker.
They were really nice guys. They are the kind of guys that would walk onto the battle field after the battle and shoot all the wounded. Then deny credit for their best work. They hide behind privacy regulations after they beam Webster Smith’s private cadet formal photo around the world with the moniker “sexual predator”. These are the kind of people who were running the Coast Guard Academy.
Information obtained during the investigation of Van Sice related directly to Cadet Webster Smith. Officials declined to comment further, noting that the Smith court-martial is on appeal before the Coast Guard Court of Military Review. Also, a Formal Complaint of Racial Discrimination is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and the General Accounting Office (GAO). .
Inquisitive minds want to know what they said. Coast Guard officials will not provide details of the incidents. What did you expect? Well, there are people who are anxious to get this off their chests. Some of the sources of the inside information are still at the Academy, so they will not be quoted.
But, here is a sample. It is a direct quote. There are others, but I want to give the gentlemen a chance to confirm or deny the quoted statement.
On or about January 26th, Captain Douglas Wisniewski, as the direct representative of ADM James Van Sice, stood before the Corps of Cadets in the Cadet Wardroom and addressed them concerning the status of Cadet Webster Smith. Eye witnesses have come forward to confirm his choice of words. There are cadet witnesses and commissioned officers. They spoke on guarantee of anonymity.
CAPT Wisniewski went further to even order cadets to avoid Cadet Webster Smith at all costs. They were ordered to give him the “silent treatment” just like the cadets at West Point did to General Benjamin O. Davis when he was at West Point. "Webster Smith is a criminal and you are to avoid will see him at the mall or the movies but you are reminded to avoid him."

This was clearly unlawful command influence. This was the Coast Guard Academy equivalent of the smoking gun, the DNA match, the damning memo, the latent fingerprint, or the surprise confession. This is hard evidence. The problem is that the Coast Guard appears not to be interested in evidence, hard or soft, when it comes to justice for Webster Smith.
Cadets were shocked. They were intimidated. Captain Wisniewski referred to an innocent man, Webster Smith, as a “criminal” before official charges had been drafted or filed. Witnesses contend that as late as April 2006, Captain Wisniewski continued to use “harsh and surprising language” in reference to Webster Smith.

Rear Adm. Mary Landry, Director of Governmental and Public Affairs said that Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, the Coast Guard’s Chief of Staff, took administrative corrective measures with respect to Van Sice on Friday, 23 February. Landry said she could not elaborate on these actions because of privacy laws. It was very auspicious that Admiral Van Sice was given what measure of punishment that his friends felt compelled to mete out behind closed doors on the 23rd of February. Divine Providence was speaking from Numbers32:23, "Be sure, your sins will find you out". As Joe Louis told Max Schmelling, "You can run, but you cannot hide".

The admirals and captains have privacy rights, but cadets do not. They are fair game. They can be abused without recourse. Van Sice and Wisniewski were the exclusive custodians of the official records and photos of Cadet Webster Smith. Before they charged him, they labeled him as a criminal and a sexual predator. They called a press conference and they released his formal portrait as a mug shot. It was the photo seen around the world. No one knew quite what to make of it. Nothing like it had ever been done before.

We were always taught that senior officers should be held to a higher standard. The Coast Guard seems to have reversed that maxim. Senior officers are being consistently held to the lowest standard, while demanding that cadets and junior officers be held to the highest standards. If they fall short they get a General Court-martial. Van Sice should get no less than what he gave to Cadet Webster Smith; a General Court-martial and jail.

This Admiral’s Mast was just the latest case of a senior officer getting away with only a slap on the wrist. This is coming to be the Coast Guard’s standard operating procedure. They hold secret, behind the door, private, administrative proceedings on Friday at the end of the week. Then they come out of their bunkers and tell the world that we have just saved you from a monster. There is nothing more to fret because we have taken care of everything.
Vice Admiral Charles Wurster held his mast for the CO, XO, and the Ops Officer from the CGC Healy on January 14, the day before the Coast Guard released the Final Report of an investigation into the death of Lt. Jessica Hill, 31, and Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Steven Duque.Wurster found the three — the commanding, executive and operations officers — guilty of dereliction of duty. Captain Doug Russell, the CO, was relieved of command shortly after the accident. On January 14, his sentence was to receive a punitive letter of reprimand and a fine equal to one month’s pay.Commander Jeffrey Jackson, the XO, was sentenced to receive a punitive letter of admonition. The Operations Officer Lieutenant Commander. James Dalitsch was sentenced to receive a punitive letter of reprimand and a fine.All fines were suspended.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

JESSE HAMILTON,Courant Staff Writer
wrote on
February 27 2007
NEW LONDON -- An administrative investigation of a superintendent who left the U.S. Coast Guard Academy after a brief and turbulent tenure has caught up with him at his new Coast Guard headquarters assignment. The investigation concluded that Rear Adm. James C. Van Sice made inappropriate comments and "acted intemperately" with his staff while at the academy.
Saying privacy laws protect Van Sice from the exposure of details in the case, the leadership of the Coast Guard wouldn't describe exactly what the senior officer did or said, except to say his inappropriate comments were not obscene or indecent.
The end of Van Sice's military career is more difficult news for the smallest of the U.S. service academies, which has been struggling with a series of cadet run-ins with the law. The first and most prominent incident happened under Van Sice's watch, when Cadet Webster Smith was accused of several sexual assaults of fellow cadets.
The Smith case is the first court-martial of a cadet in the academy's history. It ended with acquittal on most of the serious charges, but conviction of violation of some military rules. The highly publicized case is still under appeal. In its aftermath, the academy made efforts to examine its culture and the behavior of its cadets. The leadership pledged to review the school's training programs and sexual assault and harassment policies and make the reporting process clearer.
Van Sice's chief predicament as superintendent was the Smith case, which erupted in early 2006 and unveiled alcohol abuse and promiscuity among some of the cadets. On Monday, Landry said that the investigation of Van Sice "was not motivated by the court-martial of former cadet Webster Smith." However, she said that the investigation of Van Sice's behavior did, in one instance, relate to the Smith case.
According to Landry, Chief of Staff Papp decided the information that was revealed didn't require action by him, but that it will be provided for any future proceedings involving the Smith case.

After serving five months in Naval Brig at Goose Creek, South Carolina, Smith, who is Black, has formally accused the academy of racial discrimination - saying his case was treated differently than those of white cadets. The Coast Guard said in December that his claim is being investigated by an outside consulting firm.

8:48 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

I am sad to see the Coast Guard go throw this mess ,let it end and go forward.
peter spoto
Knoxville, TN

8:49 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

I love how certain people in certain places get to play the "privacy card". Details should definitely be released on what happened. If its not sexual it must be racist. Always something to hide...
High School Parent
Plainville, CT

8:50 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Coast guard vet here. I say that your sin will always find you out. D Miller
Portland, OR

8:51 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Good for him,just cause your at the top don’t mean you can get away with things, set a good example for the others. activecg
Biloxi, MS

8:53 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Thank you, Jesse, for a well written and informative article. I have been following the Webster smith case since it bagan. It is unfortunate that the Coast guard feels that they cannot make a full disclosure. I cannot imagine what they think they are protecting. Those in the Coast Guard and cadets at the Academy know the full story. It is only the American public and readers around the world who are being denied all of the facts. It is one thing to spin a story; it is quite another to refuse to divulge on the pretext of privacy issues.
Holding secret proceedings for senior officers is pretty much routine for the Coast Guard. Junior officers and cadets get drug through the mud of public castigation. They must endure the shame and the financial hardship of public expiation.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just my 2 cents as usual.

Hmmm! This investigation leaves me with more questions and concerns.

1) The admiral's ale...If I did that for my shop, my jr. grade butt would be in the brig so fast...oh yes, I'm Black and not an flag officer. I know the academy had less restrictions on beer back in the day, but can anyone say liquor license???? BTW, do you have a picture of one of these beer bottles?

2) If the commandant and superintendent thought that Webster Smith was such a danger, why would he be allowed to hang out in a mall and presumably endanger society at large???? Jacob's Rock boat house looks like a nice place to reside pre-trial as opposed to the brig. What's up with that?

3) Could the former commandant's comments with the presumed endorsement of the former admiral result in a overturned verdict? Retrial? Lawsuit?

4) Why are the "ladies" involved in this fiasco still leading people? The evidence of the trial shows Dr. Phil couldn't begin to straighten out their lives.

Thank you,
Christopher T. Rock
The angry Black insomniac serviceman somwhere in America tonight.

10:15 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

C.T.Rock, Back on the Block.
I thought that every one had seen that Admiral's Ale label. When the story was hot, the label was all over the news. If I happen to spot it again, I will be sure to post it. At the time I was too wrapped up in the faces of the suffering people coming out of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Seeing all of those so-called "citizen refugees" trudging their way to the Superdome and the Astrodome caused my heart to overflow with compassion. As the Reverend Jesse says a rising tide does not lift all boats, but a Grade 5 Hurricane will cause the invisible underclass to come up for air.
The Unlawful Command Influence could do a lot of things, in a perfect world. I am waiting to see what it does in this one. I am waiting and I am hoping because I have an obsession for justice. That is my quest. I truly believe that justice and accountability for one's actions while in responsible positions are very important to maintaining public trust. I believe the Coast Guard has lost a lot of public trust as a result of this fiasco. I hope to try to restore some of it. All I need is alittle help from people like Admiral Thad Allen or his designee and the Coast Guard Court of Military Review.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally know some of the "citizen refugees" and if anything, they've enhanced my church and community. They're not the lawless vagabonds portrayed by the media.(SURPISE!) If anything, they are some of the best tenants a landlord could ask for.

I feel you on the loss of trust with the leadership. As they say, perception is reality. I can't help but think that the recent events and revelations are only the tip of the iceberg at the academy. The task force may help, but at this point Adm. "Joe Batman Clark" is needed not just for the cadets, but for the administration and officer corps. I doubt anyone would be so bold to find someone like this to clean house.

Christopher T. Rock

7:12 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Princeton, NJ writes:
Though "the recent cadet incidents are rare exceptions to a very high norm," members of the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Academy are expected to do BETTER. Although the instances are rare, when they do happen, there is an expectation that the Academy will handle them appropriately, which is NOT the case. Although there was the first court martial of a cadet in Academy history this past year, it should not have been. There should have been more like it before this. For instance, in December before Webster Smith was court-martialed, a white fourth-class male was disenrolled for what the Academy called "nonconsensual sexual misconduct," legally known as RAPE, but it wasn't prosecuted. The victim was harassed and not given appropriate care. Rare as the instances may be, when they do happen, they should be treated decisively and with RESPECT for the victims. Too much political CYA is going on at the Academy. Heaven forbid it should happen to your child. If it did, wouldn’t you want the Coast Guard to do EVERYTHING possible to ensure your son or daughters physical and mental well-being? Most people don’t know what goes on behind the gates of the Academy, including PARENTS. I’d even go as far as to say that many cadets don’t know a lot of what happens around them. Chase Hall is known as a rumor mill for good reason. They hear about events, but never know the real facts. The Academy serves its purpose for training the officers of the future, and truly can be a GREAT institution. However, the command needs confront these issues head-on, and change the cultural environment at the Academy.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

webster smith got a raw deal, his court marshall was a joke and the academy should be ashamed of themselfs. what happen to the drunkin female cadets, who were so drunk half the time they did not know what they were doing. the partied with cadet smith and then after decided if was sexual harrassed

5:38 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for your observation. All of the female cadets in the Class of 2006, that were involved with Webster Smith have moved on. They graduated and now are Coast Guard officers. The college pranks that they were involved in will not follow them for the rest of their lives. Their all-American red blooded frolics were not arbitrarily criminalized. They were not forced to register as sex-offenders in Florida and Pennsylvania.
They should be on the fast track for promotion because they already know how to lie and when to falsify facts. They know how to be sweet little darlings one minute and flussies the next. And, they are the future of the Coast Guard officer corps. The torch has been passed to a new gender and a new generation. They are the beneficiaries of a new morality. Anything goes as long as it does not hurt me. I'm ok, but you're not.
If they are fortunate enough to last long enough to get promoted to captain like Captain Lisa Nowak, the Annapolis astronaut, and their character development continues unabated and unchastised, then there is a good possibility that they too will do something just as stupid as Captain Nowak, who is now facing charges for attempted murder, attempted kidnapping, assault and other lesser charges. That is just on the civilian side. Since being fired from NASA, she has had to return to Navy duty and faces the possibility of a Navy court-martial for a laundry list of violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
You see, you can run from your sins, but, be sure, your sins will find you out. Everyone eventually must give an account; and "Pay-back" can be a Bxxch. (And it rhymes with rich).

7:16 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.

11:55 AM  
Blogger energioso said...

If the female soldiers should be on par with the men soldiers, then they should have separate batallions where there are strictly female soldiers with female corporals,captains, and lietenants.
The female officers who were involved in Cadet Smith's lynching are not officers, but "career busters". It would behoove anyone in the Coast Guard especially black lowerclassmen to stay away from these paria as much as possible.

12:57 AM  

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