The U.S. Military Academy, commonly known as West Point, launched an inquiry into a group of 16 black, female cadets set to graduate after they posed in a traditional group photo raising their fists – a gesture historically associated with black resistance.
The image prompted an investigation on 28 April to determine whether or not the women broke any rules, West Point spokesperson Lt Col Christopher Kasker said in a statement. Department of Defence guidelines prohibit soldiers and cadets from making political statements while in uniform or on military grounds.
This is a tricky one. The rules are a lot different for an individual wearing the uniform of the United States military, and the cadet uniform of West Point is most certainly that. The same rights that exist for a civilian don’t apply when one is in uniform. So should these future leaders of U.S. Army soldiers be punished for this picture? It’s not as easy as it appears at first glance. Let’s look at another, precedent-setting controversial photograph for some context.
Recall the case of the cadets from The Citadel from last Christmas. You remember that case, right? Photos appeared on social media of several cadets wearing white bedsheets. The internet promptly went apeshit over it, accusations of Klan membership were hurled, and all of the local racial shyster industry groups chimed in. Keep in mind, they were NOT in uniform.
It all turned out to be a big nothing. Investigators found that the students were trying to look like ghosts of Christmas past while caroling. I thought that was bullshit at first, but they found out the students had been dressing up in a bunch of other costumes as well, all appropriate to caroling and the theme that they claimed they were following. It made sense. So, everyone was cleared, right?
Wrong. It wasn’t that they did something wrong, it was the PERCEPTION that one could have upon seeing the photo. Because that is the first place that one’s mind goes upon seeing that picture—that it has something to do with the Klan. That’s certainly the first reaction I had upon seeing it, before the true story came out. That PERCEPTION was enough to get one student expelled from the school, two were suspended for a semester, and 11 others were forced to do extra duty, like walking tours and other cadet bullshit. Oh, and the school had to create a task force for “diversity and inclusion.” (This punishment was met with approval by aforementioned race hustlers.)
-A member of the Armed Forces on active duty may:
188.8.131.52. Join a partisan or nonpartisan political club and attend its meetings when NOT iN uniform, subject to the restrictions of subparagraph 184.108.40.206. (See DoD Instruction 1334.1 (Reference (c).)
-A member of the Armed forces shall not:
-220.127.116.11. Display a partisan political sign, poster, banner, or similar device visible to the public at one’s residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a privatized housing development.
Let’s go through some alternate scenarios, some obvious, some…not so much. Would a group of white students, in uniform, making a Nazi salute be expelled? To ask the question is to answer it. Absolutely, and I would fully support it. Would a group of white students holding a Confederate flag be expelled? Almost certainly, and, again, I would support that. What about a group of students holding, not wearing, a bunch of iconic red hats that say, “Make America great again”? Probably not expelled, but they would definitely be disciplined.
Or what about non-political embarrassing photos? How about half in and half out of uniform, looking douchey? Definitely disciplined. How about in the proper uniform, flipping the bird to the camera?Definitely disciplined. The shocker? Chugging from a beer bong? I could go on and on. It’s not only about the do’s and the don’ts of political activity in uniform, but about about professionalism and whether an individual is doing credit or bringing disgrace to the United States Military, while in uniform.
Yes, I DO realize that none of these are quite accurate, because the raised fist salute falls into its own category. The raised fist is a universally known symbol, wide open to varying interpretations. One of those is resistance against oppression, another is to racial solidarity. Let’s put aside the fact, for the moment, that young women attending one of the most prestigious universities in the entire world are hardly the most sympathetic cases of ones who are being curb-stomped by the evil white patriarchy. This has become typical, sadly, as it is often from the most privileged that we hear claims of tyranny and imaginary truckloads of white racists (always a pickup truck!) constantly driving through college campuses screaming racial slurs.
And let us realize that there are varying points of view for the Black Lives Matter movement. Some see it as a powerful social justice movement, originating from decades of the grievances of the black community, particularly toward law enforcement. Others see it as an exploitive movement that seeks to attain political and bureaucratic power through intimidation, racial solidarity, and accusations of racial discrimination, while tacitly approving violent demonstrations and the destruction of private and public property. There is some truth to both. I happen to lean mostly toward the latter in most instances, although I see the point of the former, in a minority of cases. It seems most of the accusations of racism these days seem to be completely made up, as we enjoy documenting on the Roundup.
I did enjoy this spin from this former alumna:
However, Mary Tobin, a 2003 West Point graduate and Iraq veteran, told the Times that the women were simply expressing solidarity with each other.
“For them it’s not a sign of allegiance to a movement, it’s a sign that means unity and pride and sisterhood,” said Ms Tobin, who also serves as a mentor at West Point, and has spoken with some of the women in the picture. “That fist to them meant you and your sisters did what only a few people, male or female, have ever done in this country.”
Mmmm hmmm. Come on. Everyone knows what it means. Indeed, Tobin admits in an article she wrote for the African-American website, the Grio, that her first reaction was, “I put my face in my hands, and thought to myself, ‘Why would they do this?’ Look at their faces in that picture. They all look pissed off, except that one goofball grinning away on the right side. (There always has to be that one guy who ruins the “hard motherfuckers” picture overseas by smiling, right?) I see you, girl.
Anyway. Tobin admits she knew right away what it was, and how it would be taken. So for her to then claim this alternate interpretation was stupid. She knew what it meant. The Atlanta Black Star knows what it means:
The raised fist has long been a symbol of resistance, whether it be along the lines of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. A number of groups throughout history have used it to express their resistance to oppression and determination to overcome struggle; from the Black Panther Party to labor unions, socialists and suffragists. Today, it’s mainly associated with the influential political activist group Black Lives Matter.
Exactly. That is with whom everyone associates the raised fist, particularly from a group of African-American women. So as much as the typical white liberal apologists want to spin this as a big nothing, it’s something. I have a feeling that there’s a lot more to this story. Fitness guy and Army vet John Burk hinted that there’s controversy afoot at West Point, swirling around that anonymous social media app, Yik-Yak. I’m sure it will come out.
My own personal opinion? You cannot have racial walls of any kind within the military. This is the PERCEPTION that one gives with a photograph like this: This is a club defined by skin color, and if you aren’t black, you ain’t in it. These are future officers of the United States Army, and will have many people of varying ethnicities working below them. There cannot even be a WHIFF of race solidarity movements. I don’t care if it’s the Air Force’s White PJs Association, or the Navy’s Black SEAL Association. It’s unprofessional, and it’s wrong. You can do all that crap once you leave the service, if you really feel the need. While you’re in, everyone is the same color, be it Army green or Air Force blue.
My punishment: Let them be subjected to one of those godawful mandatory diversity seminars that the race-hustlers like to put on, and write a 10,000-word essay on the importance of professionalism in a diverse society. Maybe they’ll get it. Then, for the love of GOD, let’s move on.
U.S. Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV secretly married his fiancée before being killed by ISIS during an Iraq gun battle.
A Navy spokesman confirmed to PEOPLE that the 31-year-old had married Brooke Clarke before shipping off to the Middle East.
“He wanted to protect her in case anything happened to him,” one friend told the magazine, with another adding that the marriage was a “well-guarded secret.”
Such a terrible story. Although, I suppose if there was a silver lining here, it’s that Keating took care of his family business before he was killed in action. If not for a legal marriage, it would be a lot harder for his fiancee to get any help. See more about Keating at SOFREP, here.
It’s one of the most iconic images of the Second World War, and arguably one of the most famous in U.S. history. In a captivating image of patriotism and grit, six U.S. servicemen are shown struggling to raise the American flag atop Mount Suribachi during a heated battle with Japanese troops on the island of Iwo Jima in February 1945. The Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal wasn’t able to get the soldiers’ names after capturing the image, but they were later identified as Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Harlon Block, Michael Strank and Franklin Sousley (all Marines) along with Navy corpsman John Bradley.
Earlier this week, more than 70 years after the Battle of Iwo Jima, the U.S. Marine Corps announced it had begun investigating claims that some of the servicemen in Rosenthal’s photo had been misidentified, based on questions originally raised by a pair of amateur history buffs.
Krelle and Foley identified significant differences between the pants, headgear and cartridge belt worn by the serviceman identified as Bradley in the photo and those worn by Bradley in other photos taken on Mount Surabachi that same day. Based on their research, they concluded that the man identified as Bradley was actually Sousley, who was previously thought to have been standing behind Bradley in the photo. They also concluded that another Marine named Harold Schultz was the serviceman long identified as Sousley.
According to Matthew Hansen, a metro columnist at the Omaha World-Herald and author of the 2014 article, Krelle identified Schultz after searching exhaustively for a Marine on Mount Suribachi that day wearing a helmet with an unusual small strap hanging off the left side of his helmet. As Hansen explained: “[Krelle] looked at hundreds of photos and watched film footage of the flag raising again and again and could find only one Marine with that strap hanging off his helmet. Schultz.”
Fascinating. As the article states, it really doesn’t matter who actually has his hands on the flagpole. Every single man who fought on that beach is a hero. An iconic image, indeed.
VA lady on phone: "I'm here to help you switch from mil to VA health care!" Me: "sweetheart, I've been out of military for 6 years." #fail
— BK (@BKactual) May 3, 2016
Longtime readers of the Roundup know that I enjoy crushing the Veteran’s Administration on the reg. See here. Or here, Even over here. You get the idea. I should say that the individual people within the VA are great. The problem is with the lumbering, unwieldy beast of the bureaucracy of the VA. It’s tough. I did think it was pretty funny when that lady called. Keep in mind that I’ve also been enrolled in their system since 2010. But thanks for the phone call!
Marine Sgt. Matthew Callahan, a combat correspondent and former infantryman, has created a photo essay using small Star Wars action figures to portray intense combat scenes and breath life into the grunts of of the Star Wars universe.
Callahan is well positioned to tell a fictional story of wartime service behind Star Wars characters. His Marine Corps career career began six years ago, when he enlisted as an infantryman. Shortly into his first deployment to Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, he broke his leg and was sent home to recover at Wounded Warrior Battalion-West’s Hawaii detachment. While there, he learned photography and transitioned from the infantry to become a Marine combat correspondent.
Callahan is currently attending photojournalism training at Syracuse University as part of a Department of Defense program there. Outside of his studies and his work with the Marine Corps, Callahan has started this Star Wars project. Callahan’s work does not just create a life-like and moving scene from a plastic toy, it presents a humanity to the faceless Storm Troopers and other characters that, for decades, have been faceless icons in the American consciousness. With an infantry Marine’s perspective and a talented photographer’s skills, Callahan creates spectacular battle scenes and portraits of the fighters.
Great pictures. You can check out the whole collection on Callahan’s Instagram page.
It was April 8, 2000, and seconds later, that Osprey lost lift, flipped and plummeted to the ground. All 19 Marines were killed, marking one of the deadliest test flights in U.S. military history. The second Osprey encountered its own trouble, slamming to the ground and skidding 100 yards before coming to a stop. Miraculously, no one in that aircraft was seriously hurt. The Marine Corps would blame the pilots, Lt. Col. John Brow and Maj. Brooks Gruber, for causing the deadly crash, refusing to back down from that conclusion even after a formal investigation cleared Brow and Gruber of wrongdoing.
It’s a well-known story, in large part because one congressman, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, waged a relentless battle to clear the pilots’ names. As the years went by, his effort seemed to become more futile. The service’s senior-most leaders appeared uninterested at best in the congressman’s argument, Jones told Marine Corps Times — heartlessly dismissive at worst.
The Defense Department intervened earlier this year, issuing a letter to Jones and the pilots’ families formally absolving Brow and Gruber and gently rebuking the Marine Corps for its obstinance. For Jones, whose persistence came to irritate Marine Corps headquarters, the decision marks an important moral victory — right overcoming wrong. For the pilots’ widows, it brings the closure they’ve so desperately sought since burying their husbands.
That is outstanding work by an elected official. Kudos to Congressman Jones for caring enough to stay on this. This will never take away the pain of losing so many Marines, but at least justice has been done for the families. The fact that this took 16 years is shameful.
That’s formal USMC Corporal Josue Barron, pushing through and taking the hill on one leg. That is motivating as hell. Just for the corporal, I’m going to the gym today, and I never go on the weekend. More from the Marine Corps Times:
Some would say the two-minute video captures everything that is best about the Marine Corps — a one-legged vet pushing through immense pain to conquer a colossal hill that memorializes fallen comrades. Beside him, brothers in arms shout words of encouragement and motivation. Within him, the memory of lost Marines provides strength to endure.
The climb was part of a five-year reunion that honored the Marines and families of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, which was hit hard during a 2011 deployment to Afghanistan.
The “Dark Horse” battalion made great gains, but at great cost, when it deployed in and around the town of Sangin, in Afghanistan’s embattled Helmand province. In seven months, the battalion saw 25 Marines killed in action and another 184 wounded. Nearly three dozen of the wounded returned home as single, double and triple amputees.
Among them is former Cpl. Josue Barron, who lost a leg and his left eye in the conflict, and is shown in the April 30 video.
The U.S. has sent additional Marines to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in Iraq following last week’s breech of the Green Zone in the country’s capital.
About 25 additional Marines have arrived at the embassy amid security concerns after Shiite protesters broke through the Green Zone on April 30 and stormed the Iraqi parliament. The news was first reported by CNN on Friday.
Officials in Washington declined to discuss which units to which the extra Marines are assigned or what their mission is at the embassy.
“We routinely re-balance our security and diplomatic personnel at all of our missions worldwide,” said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.“We do not discuss internal security procedures at embassies. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad continues to operate normally.”
Nearly three years after a New Hampshire high school refused a Marine’s request to wear his uniform instead of a cap and gown to graduation, the state passed a law making sure service members are never treated that way again.
On Monday, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed “Brandon’s Law,” which ensures that all service members have the right to wear their uniforms at high school graduation.
The law is named after Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant, whose high school reportedly told him in June 2013 that if he wanted to wear his Marine uniform to graduation, it would have to be under his cap and gown. At the time, Garabrant had just completed boot camp at Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
The following year, Garabrant was killed in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was 19 years old at the time…
What fools we have running our education system. They have a bizarre, innate inability to use common sense and critical thinking. This should have been a no-brainer. And listen to this bullshit:
…Brian Pickering, principal of ConVal High School, said he is glad “clear-cut guidelines are now in place,” which didn’t exist when Garabrant graduated.
At the time, Pickering consulted with Marine Corps officials, the student council and a school board member who is an Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, all of whom agreed that Garabrant should wear a cap and gown, Pickering said in a statement.
GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE, PICKERING. You consulted with the student council? Was this before or after they were deciding that Taco Tuesday was a worrying form of cultural appropriation? Maybe it was during the hotly debated resolution on whether the brownies at the chess club’s bake sale should be gluten-free or not. That is hilarious.
Who was this school-board member who was awarded the Purple Heart? Does he actually exist? I have questions.
Livonia — A retired U.S. Army medic and Purple Heart recipient injured in Afghanistan got the keys to a donated home and moved in Saturday in Livonia.
Citizens Bank partnered with the Texas-based Military Warriors Support Foundation to donate the recently-renovated brick ranch to 30-year-old John Blizinski, of Royal Oak.
Neighbors and Citizens employees, who helped rehab the home, watched from the street Saturday afternoon as Blizinski and his wife Nicole toured the 1,400 square foot, three-bedroom home for the first time. Nicole Blizinski wiped away tears as they walked through the living room, with hardwood floors, renovated kitchen and a finished basement.
“This is literally just life changing,” John Blizinski said. “It is just unreal. It is literally one of those things that seems too good to be true.”…
…Blizinski served in the Army for nearly seven years and was injured in 2011 while in Afghanistan when the truck he was traveling in hit an improvised explosive device, he said. He received the Purple Heart in 2012, along with a Combat Medic Badge, two Army Commendation Medals and two Army Achievement Medals. His wife also received the Order of Saint Joan d’Arc award for her work mentoring Army spouses.
Sounds like a deserving couple. I hope they enjoy their new home. Great job by the Military Warriors Support Foundation. You can check out some of the other work they do right here.
A UK-trained naval officer has reportedly joined the Islamic State (Isil), raising fears he could use his knowledge of British maritime activity for terror attacks.
Ali Alosaimi, a 28-year-old Kuwaiti, spent three years training on a Merchant Navy officer’s course in Britain before joining the jihadist group, according to the Mail on Sunday.
He reportedly trained at South Tyneside College’s Marine School in South Shields before heading to Syria and joining Isil in April 2014.
On an “entry form” the jihadist group uses to track foreign fighters, Alosaimi said he had been educated as a “navy officer in Britain”.
Before coming to the UK he reportedly worked for a state-owned Kuwaiti oil tanker company.
He reportedly did not finish the exams required for his marine license.
A roommate in South Shields told the Mail that Alosaimi had become radicalised in response to the killing of thousands of Syrian civilians by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Facebook pictures show him clean shaven but he reportedly grew more religious over time and grew a beard and began preaching to family members.
If you ever have a buddy who suddenly grows a beard and starts shouting about Allah and demanding that your sister cover her whore ankles and wrists, call the police.
Dear Lasse L. Matberg’s beard,
When I first caught sight of you, I knew you were the one: lush but not overwhelmingly full, shining and flaxen, with lustrous locks to match. You even come attached to a Royal Norwegian Navy lieutenant with an impressively muscular six-foot-six frame, but you don’t seem like one of those annoying beards who would constantly be telling everyone how CrossFit changed their life.
Alas, my sweet beard, you reside far from me, in Norway — land of fjords, clean design, and excellent maternity-leave policies.
Until we may meet, I will gaze longingly upon your visage on my Instagram feed, double-tapping you to quench my thirst.
This is bullshit. We must close the beard gap that exists between the Norwegian Navy and our own. I demand that everyone in the military be allowed to grow epic beards. We can’t be outdone by the goddamn NORWEGIANS, for chrissakes. Who even knew they still had a military? I assumed the only thing Norwegian guys did all day was teach classes begging thousands of Muslim immigrants not to rape their women. Ah well.
A 67-year-old Pike Township man was arrested after a state trooper caught him standing on a discarded refrigerator naked and making lewd gestures toward a neighbor’s home, state police said Thursday.
Allen J. Hawk fled as a trooper approached him Wednesday near the 200 block of Mountain Mary Road, but he was apprehended a short time later, troopers at the Reading station said.
According to troopers:
A woman called police about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to report a naked man standing on a tree stump committing a lewd act while staring at her house. She told Trooper Marshall L. Hummel upon his arrival that this was not the first time the man had done this. She said she used an iPad to record him on Monday.
While Hummel was on the scene, he saw that Hawk was acting similarly to how his neighbor had described, only he was standing on a junked refrigerator instead of a stump.
I’ve received authorization from Brandon and Jack to make the offer of ONE MILLION DOLLARS for that iPad video.* So if anyone is in contact with the Virginia State Police, and wants to get ahold of this chick, let me know. Contact me @BKactual.
*offer may not be valid.