LTC Heffington's Open Letter

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by brovol, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. MemberLG

    MemberLG 5-Year Member

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    Well, how do we define most qualified? Is a high school kid with 1500 SAT who wants to become an Army officer because he went to SLE more qualified than a combat vet with 1200 SAT? Keep mind based on various sections of US Code Title 10, service academies cannot accept top 1200 candidates by whole candidate scores. My opinion that for some kids, Duty, Honor, Country is enough to have them apply to service academies,but some kids need more incentives to apply. Not to side track but reason why a candidate with 1400 SAT might be told to retake SAT is not because her score is not good enough, rather she might only have a Congressional nomination and her Congressional district might be super competitive and there might a couple candidates with 1500 SAT in her Congressional district.

    I don't disagree with LTC Heffington, but if an open letter from a retired LTC is all we need to condemn the current West Point leadership with some anynomus forum postings, what would an open letter by a current reserve COL condemning LTC Heffington be worth? Probably not much as what matter now days are not facts, but what we want to believe to be the truth. Why wait until the Sup replies . . .
     
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  2. MemberLG

    MemberLG 5-Year Member

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    Yes, the Prep Schools are supposed get recruited athletes, soldiers, and diversity candidates that are academic disqualified to meet the minimum academic standard. Not all prep candidate earn appointments, l believe failure rate is 5 to 10%.
     
  3. JTGib13

    JTGib13 DS-USMA & USNA Appointee Class of 2020

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    This article would have shocked me any time before R-Day of 2016 because I too believed that The United States Military Academy was exactly what most other people believed it to be: A place consisting of our country's most hard working, honest, respectful and amazing young men and women who genuinely believe in duty, honor and country. Now however, after my son has been at West Point for almost 16 months, I have heard most of what LTC Heffington expressed in his open letter many times before from both my son and his closest Cadet friends. I was not at all shocked when I read the article because I have already accepted the false mystique of West Point. At this point, all I am left with is an empty feeling of pure disenchantment. Something absolutely needs to give and it needs to begin in the Office of Admissions.
     
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  4. cheers

    cheers 5-Year Member

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    Gen Mattis is known as "Chaos" in the Marine Corps. "Mad Dog" was given to him by the press.
     
  5. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    If DrMom meant no disrepect then I apologise. I tire of backseat drivers and armchair quarterbacks. The mMan in the Arena thing.

    I think becoming a lethal force is a pretty good goal for our military.
     
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  6. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    The origin of CHAOS is the acronym given to Mattis in 29 Palms, back when he was an O-6, by his S-3 who wrote the letters on a whiteboard, meaning, "Colonel Has An Outstanding Solution."

    Source:
    https://www.google.com/amp/taskandpurpose.com/mattis-nickname-callsign-chaos/amp/

    This nickname call sign for General Mattis is further documented in the fact based TV series, "Generation Kill."
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 1:22 AM
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  7. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    I would never disrespect Secretary Mattis. I don’t want you to disrespect him because you do not know something. Although the truth is we would both call him ‘Sir’ in a meeting or in the hallways of the Pentagon.
     
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  8. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Mattis has not been on board long enough to blame him. However, he certainly has the opportunity to correct things. I hope and trust he will. Time will tell.
     
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  9. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Determine a formula, and apply it to all applicants equally. If there are bonus points for certain "accomplishments", like prior service, then apply those points, regardless of race, gender or athletic needs. Then, once at WP, all cadets should be held to the high academic, physical, and military standards which we're the hallmark of West Point for generations. Those that don't like it, or believe it is inconsistent with the current social or political trends can go to California Berkeley and let those committed young men and women of all colors and backgrounds who desire to become the strongest, best educated, well trained and patriotic leaders and officers they can be attend the toughest and best institution in America.
     
  10. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    This is, without question, the most depressing thing I've read in a long time.

    All kids mess up. I have always felt those who mess up, get caught, pay the price and are honest about their past mistakes make great employees, friends, parents, etc. It's the ones who never pay the price that worry me most. Whether they are choirboys/girls, indulged by adults or just sneaky, they are unskilled at picking themselves up and moving on in a positive direction. Sending these newly commissioned officers into the military is scary. The military/DOD is a massive bureaucracy which suffers from the same maladies as any other large institution--namely inertia, a$$ covering and careerism--made worse by the fact that its budget is determined by another dysfunctional institution instead of shareholders.

    If what @JTGib13 and LTC Heffington say is true, then it sounds like USMA is training the military's next generation of cynics and entitled, a$$ covering careerists.

    JTG, I'm sorry the hear about your DS's experience. He is getting an early glimpse of what the real world looks like. When he commissions, he will find plenty of Officers and Enlisted who have his sensibilities. Of course there are malingerers. My DS commissioned from AROTC in 2015 and his biggest pleasant surprise has been the quality of people with whom he serves, both E's and O's, including USMA grads. I would say they are actually making him a better person through their example.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 9:02 AM
  11. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    I have heard from classmates who are still on the faculty and know a few current cadets. The consensus from these officers is that they have seen some of the things that are mentioned in this letter but there are many more reasons to celebrate what is happening at USMA that are overlooked. 99% of the cadets are outstanding young men and women who volunteered to serve our Nation in a time of war. One actually used the word "comfortable" to describe what goes on currently. The Academy is not perfect but the good is much greater than the bad. Through my eyes the pendulum may have swung a little to far to "less discipline" side but it will move back over time.
     
  12. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    [/QUOTE]
    I would never disrespect Secretary Mattis. I don’t want you to disrespect him because you do not know something. Although the truth is we would both call him ‘Sir’ in a meeting or in the hallways of the Pentagon.[/QUOTE]

    Public apology:

    I am sorry to infer that you were insulting General Mattis. You're obviously more informed than I. Hopefully I will measure twice and cut once next time.

    Thank you for your gracious reply.
     
  13. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    This.
     
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  14. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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  15. billyb

    billyb 5-Year Member

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    Here I go with the "old grad" stuff, but back in my day if you didn't make the road march, were consistently on profile, screwed over classmates etc.... you were run out. Generally that happened during beast. It didn't matter if you were a football player or not. In fact, a lot of the athletes had it worse during beast. I kid you not when we sat in the auditorium in the first couple of weeks of beast and the Supe told us to look to our left and look to our right and said one of the 3 of you won't make it to graduation. That turned out to be very accurate. We had tons of people not make it through beast. It was, what it was. I felt like most of those that left during beast was a real lack of heart and resolve for what they were doing, so I was good with it. Nobody was making you leave, but they made it mighty uncomfortable to stay so only the strong survive. I don't see anything wrong with that. I fear that today, there isn't enough done to measure "heart" during beast so those people stay.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 10:41 AM
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  16. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    This is a serious question. How do you measure toughness and related qualities in the admissions process? I don't think the CFA checks this box. I have often thought that USMA needs to add an element to measure resolve, heart and toughness. In my opinion those qualities are at the top of my list for anyone in the armed forces. My kids would say the biggest surprise when they got to WP was how it wasn't 1200 of the best of the best. The biggest thing they noticed is how many were good students but were really "soft" and have little interest/commitment to the military training side of things.

    Maybe the answer is to admit more and cull more leaving the strong to survive.
     
  17. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    Ah, but "disparate impacts," the horror.
     
  18. LLJ

    LLJ Member

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    My laugh for the morning. thanks.
     
  19. JTGib13

    JTGib13 DS-USMA & USNA Appointee Class of 2020

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    I am sorry if I 'depressed' anyone with my post. I would like to clear up that although I am personally disenchanted, my son shares the same sentiments of devotion and respect for W. Point as LTC Heffington expressed at the very start of his letter. My DS is doing exceptionally well so he is not a disgruntled and failing Cadet who is simply complaining. That being said, no need to feel sorry about his experiences at West Point. I was simply noting that his observations over the past 16 months eerily paralleled many of the paragraphs in the open letter.

    Lastly, although LTC Heffington's letter is shocking and upsetting to most, I am hopeful that by sharing his experiences as both a Cadet and a faculty member, it will begin a process that may help to rebuild and restore the high standards of excellence that is expected and owed to the taxpayers, the general public, and the many Cadets who chose West Point to serve our great country with pride.
     
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  20. billyb

    billyb 5-Year Member

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    This might not be a popular answer, but IMHO this can partly be measured by those kids that are in contact sports, get beaten down and back up again and again and again. Of course there are plenty of people with a ton of guts and heart that aren't athletes, but I have yet to meet a boxer that doesn't have heart and a willingness to tough things out.