First off, I am a little hesitant to cover this because I feel like I am legitimizing a piece of shock journalism. I’m of the opinion the author of this article wrote it to stir up outrage and the Washington Post desperately published it to attract readers as they recover from a 86% drop in profits. But Tom Ricks thinks I’m getting a community college education. In fact, Tom Ricks wants to shut down my school, West Point and the Air Force Academy. I think Ricks has been fairly well rebutted by Galrahn. Mr. Mullaney provides a strong rebuttal here.
I could go through the article point by point but I think that has been done ad nauseum. My community college education has provided leaders in public and private sectors and is one of the top 10 school for number of Rhodes Scholars. Do we have room to improve? Sure, we always will. This has all been pointed out elsewhere in greater detail. I’ll try to add to the discussion in ways others have not.
What Mr. Ricks is saying that we should not invest in a sanctum where the public and students are reminded of the expectations of the officer corps and members of the armed services. This is our heritage. “Our” incoporates OCS, ROTC, and service academy graduates.
I just want to say “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” It’s on display in Memorial Hall, the literal and figurative heart of my school. I also want to remind you of the the Lion of Fallujah, Maj. Doug Zembiec, who is also remembered there. I want you to remember men like Colonel Ripley who can be found on the Yard surrounded by midshipmen who wonder how they’ll ever live up to the examples set before them.
Does this happen at civilian schools? No. The University of Washington voted down having a memorial to one of the greatest American fighter aces of World War II because they “didn’t believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce.” But can this happen at civilian schools? Never to the extent it happens here. It just isn’t their mission.
It’s my school’s mission to remind visitors and students to “Damn the Torpedoes!” It’s my school’s mission to remind everyone who Nimitz and King were. And it’s my school’s mission to commemorate the sacrifices made in war.
Get rid of the service academies and you destroy the guardians of this heritage. Can anyone seriously suggest this?