Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Professor Crabby

On a nice warm afternoon on Cape Cod, I'm taking a little nap, when the
phone rings, and my wife hollers up the stairs: "The West Point Association
of Graduates wants to talk to you!"  Well, I know that no one is calling me
just to welcome us to the reunion, so I picked up the phone in a somewhat
crabby mood.  Sure enough, a young male voice told me that he was calling
in reference to a letter from General Hagenbeck that I should have received.
I had forgotten it, of course, but I knew what the call was for.  Whereupon,
I informed this young man that I made a sizeable gift at my 50th reunion, and
was not interested in giving more.  Thank you, and goodbye.

I'm sure he said to himself:  "What a grouch!" and moved on to the next call.
This episode got me to thinking -- what are our donations really accomplishing?
I saw the notice that the class officers are debating whether or not to continue
financing foreign study trips by cadets.  That doesn't strike me as high on the list
of charitable contributions, but who am I to judge.

There are things going on at West Point that bother me, which is appropriate for
an old grad.  There are also developments which make the whole experience
superior to what we had.  I was firmly in favor of admitting women to USMA.
But I am not in favor of cadets canoodling on an academy sponsored ski trip;
then a young lady charges six months later that she was raped.  Both these
youngsters should have been booted out.  Worse yet, is the unseemly episode
at USNA, where she was so drunk, she didn't know what was happening.

Why are certain cadets singled out in cow year and named "command sergeant
major" or something like that, which means automatically that they will be given
high cadet rank as first classpersons?  Then an opposite message seems to be
made to all firsties by making them all cadet lieutenants.  Does that raise their
self-esteem and assure them that they all have equal chances for high rank in
the service?  We cadet sergeants certainly were more perspicacious.  We knew
not everyone was going to be a general, so we would have to find our own niches
in which to serve.

Why is USMA prep moving to West Point?  Academic preparation is helpful
to those with inadequate schooling.  But spending a year on the reservation
without being able to participate in what's going on at the Academy seems
to me to foster a bad attitude.

How can WP justify graduating 1000 second lieutenants when the army is
facing a 25 percent reduction in force?  That may mean that a significant number
will be washed out in the competition for regular army billets, after serving the
required tour.  Perhaps more cadets should be permitted to opt for other types of
service upon graduation.

Then there is the Army Athletic Association.  I throw away their mailing as soon
as I get it.  Why should USMA be playing Division 1 football against the
semi-pros?  Everyone considers the NCAA rules a joke, not a scandal.  Those
boys in the big name schools are entitled to a good salary for what they do.

I was disturbed to read that one of my Armor friends is in a nursing home.
I wonder if someone tried to call him to pry out some money.  Shouldn't there
be a statute of limitations on that sort of thing, say after your 60th reunion?


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