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Opinion

Open Letter To 61st Superintendent Of The United States Military Academy, LTG Steven Gilland

MG Steven W. Gilland Promotion Ceremony

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Guest post by John Hughes

LTG Gilland,

Congratulations on becoming the 61st Superintendent of USMA.  Your introductory letter mentions how you are “committed to ensuring that USMA remains the preeminent leader development institution in the world.”  You have an impressive resume.  Many of us in the Long Gray Line would like to give you the benefit of the doubt that you come to USMA with the noblest of intentions in what should be a terminal assignment that is meant to free you from unlawful command influence.

Many of us are acutely aware that the same Army and Dept of Defense leaders that picked you also backed the prior Superintendent.  Discussions about scandals with the execution of the honor code, drugs, and critical race theory (CRT) still circulate amongst many graduates.  Just last month Project Veritas published over 600 pages that USMA and DoD refused to release that proved West Point had been teaching CRT despite the 60th Superintendent’s steadfast denials to graduates at several reunions.  USMA’s culture in recent years has appears to have evolved to ignore requests for information by Senators, members of Congress, retired generals and USMA graduates.  Public Affairs and other department staffs won’t return phone calls and allegedly are instructed to not do so.  Even your Dean, my USMA 1996 classmate, frequently sends jokes to his USMA classmates in mass emails but won’t answer any emails from me.  Transparency appears to have been lost which quickly generates mistrust.

While it is refreshing to hear your commitment to USMA and its ideals, it is important to hear certain words from your own lips that will reassure many that you plan to right the ethical ship at USMA.  It is easy to conclude that silence on recent scandals could imply business as usual at West Point.  Just like in any other leadership position, new leaders likely didn’t cause the issues that they inherited but they volunteered for the task and they now own the problems.  As the grasshopper says in Pixar’s movie Bug’s Life, “First rule of Leadership.  Everything is your fault.”  Specifically, we need to hear from you your acknowledgement of the following publicly known issues and your updates/solutions to them:

USMA’s ongoing and frequent cocaine scandals, most recently the MAR 2022 incident involving 5 cadets.  Since the scandal broke, USMA has released no further information despite requests to the USMA PAO.  Please release information on punishment/expulsion of the 5 involved and what actions USMA is doing to root out the cocaine and drug culture at West Point.

2020 Honor scandal involving over 70 cadets – cases were delayed, football players appeared to enjoy favoritism by being allowed to be able to play during investigations and few if any were expelled.  It is well known your predecessor was a former Army Football player.  What is being done to reassure the Long Gray Line that the integrity of the Honor Code will be restored and that the Army Football Team is not the recipient of favoritism when punishment is meted out for honor, regulatory, and legal offenses? Is Worth’s Battalion Orders obsolete?

Allegations a cadet (who was a star football player) stole a watch from the West Point PX and was able to graduate and is now an infantry 2LT in the US Army.  Apparently, his case was presented as an honor vignette to cadets.  Why was this cadet allowed to graduate?  

Acknowledgement that CRT was integrated into USMA’s program and actions you are going to take to eliminate it.

Public condemnation of Marxism (CRT is rooted in Marxism).  This should be obvious given USMA’s mission but the hundreds of pages in the court ordered release show USMA has promoted CRT and therefore quite possibly became at best partisan towards one political party and at worst corrupted by Marxist ideology.

Your new billet is a difficult one.  Even in the best of times it is charged with tremendous responsibility to the Corps and the Nation.  That being said, the institution is generally hard wired and success can sometimes just mean keeping the Academy running smoothly and scandal free.  Your predecessor, who was promoted to a European command not based on performance, was apparently given a pass for the scandals he left in his wake.  I realize USMA, like most military and government organizations, doesn’t like to air its dirty laundry.  However, the scope and frequency of recent scandals coupled with the past Supe’s denials, dishonesty, and arrogance has shaken the faith of many in the Long Gray Line.  Many of us have stopped our donations to the Academy as a result.

I pray you clear the air on recent misdeeds at USMA, leave the institution better than you found it, and return it to its founding principles.  Our nation depends on it.

Best of luck.

John Hughes

USMA Class of 1996 (#1 graduate)

3rd Generation West Pointer

4 combat tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan

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6 comments

LongTimeTexan July 6, 2022 at 6:33 pm

This guy had better produce Marines who know how to fight as apposed to just knowing which pronoun to use.

Reply
Larry July 6, 2022 at 7:27 pm

“had been teaching CRT despite the 60th Superintendent’s steadfast denials to graduates at several reunions.”

I guess the honor code only applies to cadets and not superintendents/

Reply
D3F1ANT July 6, 2022 at 9:03 pm

I’ll give LTG Gilland a chance…but unless an officer were VERY Woke, I don’t think FJB would give him this job.

Reply
schutzhund July 7, 2022 at 5:48 am

Will he read this…really?

Reply
Clay Stiles July 7, 2022 at 10:39 am

The ltr I would send – an adaptation of one Mr Praeger sent to high school principals
This is a school for the purpose of educating young people to become Officers of the Armed Forces – specifically the Army. If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere.
We will thus end all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values — e pluribus unum, “from many, one.” And this school will be guided by America’s values.
This policy includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself.
So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, seamanship and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.
Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible.
The English language has united America’s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country.
And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market.
We will learn other languages here — it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English — but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.
Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status.
This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly for class. Uniforms will continue to be worn. There will be a formal dress code at this school.
Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f-word, you can’t speak.
By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets even when used by one black student to address another black,.
It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.
Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it.
I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda.
No more time will devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian.
We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky — to be alive and to be an American.
Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. For those of you who do not know the words, your professors will hand them out to you.

Reply
DAV July 11, 2022 at 5:45 am

Thanks to Clay Stiles and thanks to CDMedia for printing it !

Reply

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