US Air Farce Academy

No, I did not misspell Farce, that’s what the academy has turned into. They are trying to be a civilian university, and that’s not what the academies are supposed to be doing. They are supposed to be training “warriors” not college snowflakes. They are getting a free education, albeit not the education they should be getting, and it’s at our cost. This commentary is sad, very sad. If you are a USAF person, this should wrinkle your brow. The sad thing is this same thing is going on in our schools and university only much more intense. Our younger aduklts know very little about our country’s history and more importantly our traditions laid done by our forefathers.

By L. Todd Wood:

It had been a long time since I had visited my Alma mater, the U.S. Air Force Academy, so I decided to bite the bullet and travel to my 30th reunion last October. I must admit, I did so with trepidation. I have a love/hate relationship with the place. Although I received a fantastic education and met some lifelong friends, it’s a nice place to visit, if you know what I mean.

I will say that I received top-notch military training and discipline when I went through three decades ago. In fact, the discipline that was drilled into me has served me well my entire life, giving me a leg up on my competition: once I start something, I just don’t quit, no matter the odds or barriers put in front of me. I credit USAFA for helping me to develop this ability. It is a learned skill acquired from four years of handling the academics and the professional military and athletic training.

During the Vietnam War, many prisoners of war shot down over North Vietnam credited their fourth class year at the Air Force Academy with giving them the fortitude to make it through years of confinement and torture. After all, isn’t that the basic skill of a warrior, to win against all odds?

Unfortunately, these skills are no longer being taught at USAFA. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and so have my classmates.

I realized something was horribly wrong when I arrived at the bottom of the ramp to the cadet area, which used to say “Bring Me Men” above the tunnel entrance. It was an iconic quote, and we were taught at the time that “men” meant the human race, not necessarily only the male sex of such. “I’ll meet you at the bottom of the ‘Bring Me Men’ ramp” was a routine line to girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, et cetera who came to visit their cadet at the academy. I never heard any animosity against this quote during the four years of my stay at the Blue Zoo.

Imagine my shock when I saw the quote had been changed to some PC gibberish about “Integrity First. Service Before Self. Excellence in All We Do.” Ten words! At first, I laughed at the thought of some cadet telling his civilian girlfriend to meet him at the bottom of the “Integrity First. Service Before Self. Excellence in All We Do” ramp. But after a quick laugh, I felt sadness at the loss of tradition and loss of the basic masculinity of warfare being taught at the academy. It was then I knew it was gone. I also felt alarm—if they changed this, what else have they changed? This can’t be good for the training of future Air Force warriors.

My next stop, and next horror, was walking around the cadet area with my fellow classmates from the Class of ‘86 and a few others. The place looked about the same. A monument or static aircraft display was changed here or there, and there was a strange-looking obelisk sticking out of the terrazzo near Arnold Hall, but overall, the place was the same. But there was something very, very wrong.

I couldn’t place it, but then it hit me. It was October. The fourth class cadets should not have been “recognized” yet. That meant being accepted in the ranks of the upper class and the associated privileges that come with it. This entailed walking at attention, squaring corners, greeting upperclassmen, and other general military training.

None of this was happening. They were walking at rest, not greeting anyone. Actually, they were ignoring the upperclassmen walking by. I stopped one of them and asked him, “Cadet, are you recognized yet?”

“No, we are not,” was his response. He kept walking. There was no “sir” in his response. He obviously knew I was an alumnus and former military officer. The problem was that he simply didn’t care. He didn’t care because he had been taught not to care. Military bearing was absent. Completely gone. Removed.

And then, the shock continued.

As the time started to get close to the Noon Meal Formation, where the cadets form up and march into Mitchell Hall for lunch, I again realized nothing was happening. Cadets were nonchalantly walking to the huge cafeteria where they are served all at once during the school week for lunch. I subsequently found out the formation had been cancelled due to high winds. I laughed to myself.  There wasn’t even a breeze. Wow, things really have changed.

Inside the noon meal, all former military decorum and training at the lunch table had been vaporized. There was nothing. The freshman cadets didn’t even have the civilian decency to serve their alumni guests first, not to mention any military bearing. They just took the food and ignored everyone else at the table.

It gets worse: after lunch, my colleagues walked into the academic building. Before my eyes, where there used to be formal lecture halls, was a Dunkin’ Donuts. My jaw hit the floor and I actually took a picture– I was that amazed. This was no longer a military academy; it was UCLA in uniforms.

We then visited the dorm rooms. We nonchalantly walked into one cadet’s room who had the door open, which was the custom. We asked them a few questions. They didn’t get up. They didn’t greet us formally. They just sat there. These were fourth classmen. I guarantee you that in the past, if an alum had walked into a fourth class room, the residents would be at attention within seconds and the “sirs” would be flying like birds on a high wire.

Finally, before the football game and other class-specific events, we headed to Arnold Hall to listen to a briefing from the Superintendent on what was going on at the academy. Literally, one of the first things we heard was, “Things are not as tough as they used to be.”

Really? Ya think? was my immediate reaction.

We were presented with an hour-long briefing about how cadets were being trained to be able to “function” within the bureaucracy of the regular Air Force. We heard all about the statistics of the institution—how many awards it had won, where it stood in the rankings against other colleges, how well the sports teams had done, et cetera, et cetera.

Not once did I hear the word warrior. In a flash, I got it. The academy was no longer training cadets to be Air Force warriors. They were no longer training to fight for our country and win wars. They were being trained to function in the bureaucracy. The academy was all about competing with civilian institutions in a variety of ways.

We heard about the new facilities that had been built. We heard all about the new honor chamber to discuss ethics. That happened to be the strange object poking out of the terrazzo.

When the briefing was over, I raised my hand. I had to ask the question. I simply said, “The discipline here no longer exists. Not once did I hear the word ‘warrior’ in your briefing. It seems the mission has changed. Were we no longer about ‘Fly, Fight, and Win?’”

The response I got was laced with derision at my wrong-headed thinking. “We are not here to haze people. They go to the lunch meal to eat, not get trained,” said the Superintendent, who was, by the way, in the first class of females to graduate from the academy. “We have theme rooms to talk about war,” said the commandant of cadets. Yes, he really said that. “We have mock funerals to talk about war.”

Excuse me, but what right do these new leaders of the institution have to throw away decades of training that had worked so splendidly to create warriors like Medal of Honor winner Lance Sijan, who crawled through a rock-filled landscape after being shot down in Vietnam for 46 days with compound fractures throughout his broken body until his bones protruded through his skin, only to escape twice before being killed by the enemy, all the while never giving up any classified information under torture? Do you think he learned that from a theme room? No, he learned that from a full year of military training and discipline, learning attention to detail, how not to quit, how to perform under pressure, day after day after day. That’s where he learned that.

It is obvious the Air Force Academy is no longer training warriors to lead men, or women, into battle. They are no longer into the type of training that created the greatest air force ever known to man. In fact, they are more interested in a military version of safe spaces and trigger warnings, so it seems.

As far as the other academies are concerned, I can’t speak for them. However, I have seen evidence of the same with pictures of black female cadets giving the black power salute, images of female cadets on their cell phone while marching, et cetera, et cetera.

President Obama did a very good job of weakening the institutions that made our military and country great. Military academies are not made to “compete” with other civilian universities. They have a special purpose. I very much hope President-Elect Trump and his appointees can reverse this pathetic trend. Our children’s future depends on it.

Todd Wood is an OpsLens contributor, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. The first of his many thrillers is “Currency.” Todd is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and has contributed to Fox Business, Newsmax TV, Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge, The Jerusalem Post, and others. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visitLToddWood.com.

9 thoughts on “US Air Farce Academy”

  1. I always heard that the Air Force had it pretty slack, even my buddy who retired after 22 yrs joked about room service in the enlisted barracks. I’m not really shocked but I am disappointed to hear it. Make America Great again.

  2. Ashamed?? I’m pissed off like a friggin ‘white mad man’! This is more than being ashamed..this is pure..BULLSHIT!! I’m sick..I’m sick at my stomach that we have allowed this scumbag..Obama..and his fairy minions to create and dismantle our complete Military Institutions! Our Military Code of Justice and everything about our military has been compromised..with his divisive ‘back door’ crap and removal of our honor and our patriotic culture! His ‘faggot’ bullshit..his aligning our military personnel to have to accept this LBGT bullshit into our military culture is unacceptable! Every American voice should be speaking out about this kind of demoralizing crap that the military has been forced to accept, in every respect, and, has been made to suck up to and to have to tolerate this kind of horse crap! It’s absolutely the kind of crap that has happened behind the scenes..and Obama has made significant forays to instill and to infuse these kinds of “pure bullshit” concepts ..to corrupt and subvert our military culture. The low-life media and the liberal progressives have helped to harbor and deceive the public of this “bullshit”! Quietly helping the scumbag..Obama to navigate through this situation!

    One of the single most aggravating situations about Obama that makes me realize how treasonous he is..it’s shameful that he still is alive!

    1. Don’t hold back Jack, let er rip! LOL Could not agree with you more. I am sure the average liberal hasn’t a clue what’s been going on in the military and could probable care less. Remember, for them, it’s all about ME!

  3. This confirms what I have heard rumored in military circles. I suppose we have been recruiting, and have a quota for gays and TRANSGENDERS,
    ( not that there’s anything wrong with that. ; – D )

  4. This made me feel sick. I knew already but still, to read it turned my stomach. I forwarded this to former Air Force men and can only imagine how they will feel.

  5. Jim, I am stunned and speechless (well almost). I live on a hill overlooking VMI in Lexington Virginia. All I hear from Cadets around town is Sir or Ma’am. They jog or march with full packs up the steep road to the top of my small mountain three miles from barracks. VMI inducted women years ago, but they too, make their way up the hill and display the same military demeanor. VMI includes ROTC units for several services. 80% or so go on to military service.

    Perhaps it is time to shutter the Air force Academy and look to VMI and Citadel for our warriors.

    Doug

    1. Doug, I’s sure you will have some VMI/Citadel folks agree 100% with you. If I were an USAF vet, I would be ashamed of my alma mater for what has happened.

Please leave a comment on this post or on any subject; all are appreciated. Thank you and Semper Fi, Jim