What do you do when...

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by jghsrunner06, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. jghsrunner06

    jghsrunner06 2014 Cadet

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    a midshipman threatens the integrity of his company and brigade as a whole?

    When I was on my CVW in November, I noticed something very interesting that I did not expect. My mid that I was paired with (4/C) often gets completely drunk at parties when he is on leave. He is obviously still underage.

    How would one handle that situation when in the brigade, knowing the knowledge that he or she does?
     
  2. Dadandgrad

    Dadandgrad Parent

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    I'm not sure I'd say it threatens the integrity of the brigade. But it certainly brings discredit upon himself and the brigade. Is what he doing illegal? Yes and if he does the crime he should be prepared to pay the fine. It's also an indicator of the individual's maturity and lack of judgment. I wouldn't want to categorize all Mids based on the behavior of one. Are you saying he is violating the Honor Code for what he's doing? If he's not lying, cheating or stealing to drink underage I wouldn't consider it Honor. Stupid yes and hopefully he has some friends who have the courage to confront his behavior before he gets in serious trouble.
     
  3. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    It is a common misconception that midshipmen are compelled to turn in fellow midshipmen for infractions. The academy actually emphasizes YOU handling it. This even goes for honor offenses. And, by the way, this is NOT an honor offense. This is a conduct offense. Well, actually, it's just flat out "against the law."

    How would you handle such thing in high school if you were at a party with under age drinking going on? That's how you should handle it!
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    If this mid doesn't square away his behavior, he'll have a very short career as an officer. Today's USN isn't as tolerant of drunken and disorderly conduct as it was 10-20 yrs ago (or more).

    All officers have security clearances -- some quite high -- and being drunk frequently and/or in public is one way to lose that. Also, a DUI or similar offense will kill your career in a way that will stick with you in the civilian sector.

    Hopefully, one of the mid's friends will try to get this guy some help.
     
  5. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I'm amazed when I think back to my Plebe year (1975-6). At the time, the drinking age in Maryland for beer & wine was 18yrs-old. Plebes could drink! It was not uncommon for us to go out in town (Timmy's was a favorite) and get a pizza/hoagie and a pitcher of beer. Heck, we could order a pitcher of beer in Dahlgren Hall back in those days - as PLEBES!

    But, getting drunk in public was another matter. Coming back to the hall drunk would certainly get you in trouble. I do not recall there being many problems like that, however. Mostly, midshipmen drank responsibly.

    Although I do seem to have a dim recollection of getting on a MO for a Notre Dame game that was played in Cleveland that year. To this day, I can not even look at a can of Rolling Rock. :smile:
     
  6. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    People drink. If you can do it responsibly when you are away on leave, who cares? Officers drink. As a plebe, use your head. It isn't really a question of honor or integrity. There are a lot of rules that people disobey. Is the person that touches the food before they are told to sit in Bancroft Hall at a loss when it comes to integrity? Of course not. Is the person who gets smashed when they go home for leave lacking honor? Nope. Common sense is also an imporant quality to have.
     
  7. K_Delrosario

    K_Delrosario Prospective

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    Marvin you are enlightened. I am surprised that there are even opportunities to break rules as a Mid.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Go ahead and report him.
     
  9. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Bad advice! VERY bad advice.

    I would say - talk to your friend about the dangers of under age drinking. Counsel him. If he is receptive to it your advice - let the issue go. If he is not receptive to your advice - disassociate yourself from that individual.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I can't agree with your advice Memphis...when you see something wrong, turn away from it.


    I'm sure your adult friend doesn't know what drinking under the age of 21 is illegal. I'm sure your friend doesn't know that drinking underage isn't only against Naval Academy regulations but also Navy Regs.

    I can't imagine counseling a midshipman to "ignore it" or "disassociate" yourself it the best advice. I've seen enough "blood baths" that involved people ignoring something and their name coming up in the aftermath.

    I would like to think that the midshipman has already been talked to. If not, then he should be. If he is someone your in charge of, it's your responsibility to take the proper actions. A law is a law, whether we think the age should be 18 or 21. If he is a classmate, talk to him. If he doesn't listen and someone else comes forward to take the correct actions, and your name comes up....prepare to feel the heavy rolls as you are "condoning a Class I offense", although I'm not sure if USNA has that offense.

    This is a question that comes up often. It's the fight between the "Good ole Boys" system and a system that has no gray area. Most fall somewhere in the middle.

    If you report him, without counseling and without warnings, your fellow Mids will not appreciate it. If the midshipmen has been given ample warning, and has continued on with the behavior, he/she will more than likely get burned in 4 years, but if he doesn't, he will most likely take some action that with discredit the Navy officer corps, or he may just change his ways.

    You have an obligation to take SOME action, if you have any character. That action ranges from talking to him about his actions to reporting him. It's up to you to decide where you fall on that line.


    The are extremes when the actions of a few go ignored....when was the infamous tailhook?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  11. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    My advice was given in the context in which it was asked, one midshipman to another. From a Utopian, perfect-world viewpoint, turning him in seems to be the correct choice. From a pragmatic, real world point of view - appointing yourself as the "alcohol police" is a bad way to go.

    I recommend counseling the person if it isn't life threatening, instead, just bad judgment - I would simply disassociate myself from that individual.

    Even the Naval Academy administration encourages midshipmen to handle things, as much as possible, at the Brigade/midshipman/personal level and to not, as a first resort, go running to the Academy for a solution. People still have to decide for themselves, however.

    To whom would you report him - to the civilian legal authorities or the Naval Academy administration? And why one and not the other?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm hoping this isn't actually serious. First, yes each academy expects their cadets/midshipmen to handle things at the lowest level, however underage drinking is not one of those "things". If we carried this out completely, there would be no need for Honor Boards, Conduct Boards, or anything else. Heck, why even have regulations if we just want midshipmen to "handle" it?

    I would be very nervous if the Naval Academy allowed their midshipmen to conduct themselves in that way. In the end, they are in a TRAINING environment. I would expect them to conduct themselves like the junior officers they hope to one day be, and that means holding themselves and others accountable.

    Finally, who do they report to? Is this an honest question? They would report it to that cadet's chain of command, and it would be handled administratively. I would assume you would not have misconduct swept under the rug, allowing that kind of atmosphere to fester.

    Now, I'm realistic. I understand underage drinking occurs, by both cadets and midshipmen. I know they don't do it alone. And in general you need to talk to them. I've seen fellow cadets drink underage, and they were talked to by classmates, with the understanding that if they got in trouble, we would all get into trouble, in some way.

    So to the original poster.....what do you think you should do?
     
  13. jghsrunner06

    jghsrunner06 2014 Cadet

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    Honestly, yeah, I do know underage drinking happens. All the time. There is really no way that matter can be avoided. I think that any fellow mid/cadet that notices what is going on needs to talk to the person. Try to get the point across that that person could not only get themselves into trouble, but could bring others down with him or her.
    If his or her actions continue, try talking to them again. If they still continue, it's time to go through your chain of command, so that the issue gets to someone who CAN handle it.
    I guess the part that bothers me about the misconduct of a mid/cadet when it comes to especially breaking the law is that they don't think about the consequences. I can't believe that one would risk his or her education when they have worked so hard to get where they are. It just boggles my mind.
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It will only seem more strange when it's your classmates sacrificing their futures for some stupid decision.
     
  15. jghsrunner06

    jghsrunner06 2014 Cadet

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    Trust me, that's something I deal with everyday. I have had so many friends go down the wrong path. Both of my parents took the easy way out. Drugs. Alcohol. Ruined their lives.

    I know what it can do to you. It can be awful. I never understand why someone would throw a perfectly good thing away for, like you said above, "stupid decision".
     
  16. K_Delrosario

    K_Delrosario Prospective

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    The revelations of this thread appalls yet excites me. USNA is not a life of total incarceration and chivalry after all
     
  17. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Turning a fellow midshipman in for under-age drinking is more likely to end his "career" than the drinking will. There's a difference between being a raging alcoholic and just being a stupid young kid who is only 20-yrs-old and having too much to drink at a party.

    I simply disagree with the notion that a midshipman should always turn them in every time they witness this. I understand where you're coming from, but I think it is rather sanctimonious to suggest that IF it is not addressed that it will ALWAYS lead to something disastrous. No - I disagree. I'm an example of that. And, I dare say I represent the MAJORITY. Did I ever drink while under age? Yes! Am I trying to justify it? No! I'm just saying that it happens and there is no reason to make a bigger deal out of it than necessary.

    I think that sometimes kids do stupid things (like under age drinking) that do not necessarily require that they be given the "death penalty." Ultimately people are responsible for their own behavior. Some behavior crosses the line, no doubt. But a 20yr old getting a little tipsy at a party should, in my opinion, be handled at the friend-level.

    I guess a midshipman has to decide for himself if he's going to be "the guy" who turns everybody in for every violation he observes. My advice (take it for what it's worth) is to not be "the guy."

    The young man asking the question has received two different opinions. Should he become a midshipman someday, I can assure you he is going to have the opportunity to exercise his judgment on this matter, one way or the other. He'll know what to do.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Follow up Memphis.

    If he confronts the drunken midshipman, and the midshipman lies about it....what would be his next step there, in you opinion?
     
  19. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well said and spot on. If you go back to the OP- the guy is NOTasking about turning the guy in for DUI. He is asking about reporting someone for going home on leave and drinking too much while underage. What is a Mid; Cadet or Officer's responsibility? Well- first and foremost he has a responsibility for the safety of his people, the unit and the accomplishment of the mission, and the honor code or concept tells him to do so without lying, cheating or stealing. Thankfully -there isn't a requirement that says you won't occasionally be personally stupid. So on what grounds would you be "turning this guy in"? There is no honor violation here- nor as written here is there an indication that the kid is boozing and driving- just a bunch of barracks stories about going home and getting smashed- which may be stupid but certainly seems to be a personal action that doesn't call for the destruction of the kids life by a classmate who as related is neither present nor a witness to anything other than the kid saying that he got blasted on leave. Turning someone in for this one would produce an effect which is likely to be not that the kid learns from his "mistakes" (what ever those may actually be) it is that you as a distant third party believe he may have committed", but more likely either that you will have destroyed his career by inuendo, or that he will survive after going thru a huge amount of bureaucratic over-reaction. Either way you will have made yourself a pariah among your peers and pretty much just contributed to the chilling of unguarded speech even among comrades over a pretty minor law (and regardless of what LITS says- it's underage drinking- which is right up there with speeding which I assume he is not advocating you also would turn someone in for).
    Surely LITS also recognizes that his follow up about "what do you do when he lies" is a completely different offense?

    Bottom line- the first requirement of an officer to possess is common sense combined with honesty. Are you faced with evidence that this persons actions put people in danger or hurt someone else? Are you faced with evidence that this person was lying, cheating, stealing? If not - how could you possibly come to a conclusion that you should be "turning them in?"
    Finally- to digress somewhat- in my opinion the whole concept of 18 year olds "underage drinking" is pretty stupid. You are old enough to enlist- old enough to get your butt blown up by an IED but not old enough to buy a beer- even though 20 years ago you would have been old enough to buy one at that age, and in virtually any NATO country to include the one just north of us you can do so. It's an idiotic law foisted on the country by those who approach life from the "nanny" perspective and it exists because 18-21 year olds are too lazy to exercise their right to vote in the numbers to which they are entitled. It equates drinking with DUI. But DUI is DUI and it should be punished by virtually the harshest means availaible- which is exactly what does happen in Norway for example. Virtually no one drinks and drives there as a result- it just isn't done. But to tell an 18 year old that you are liable to be called upon to fight,die, vote, pay taxes, marry, be sent to prison as an adult- but not buy a beer? Oh please!

    No KD it is not- nor is it intended to be. It is about taking responsibility for your actions and the actions of others when it is appropriate- which doesn't necessarily imply that you are either a "plaster saint" or the guy who no one will talk to. Your responsiblity to this classmate seems to be clearly to use your commons sense- remind them that "acting the fool" is a good way to shorten his career, and then make sure that your actions are consonant with how you expect a leader to act.
     
  20. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    LITS: don't forget the OP is an applicant, not a current midshipman.
     

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