As many of you know, I was President Bill Clinton's Air Force Military Aide and "nuclear football" carrier from 1996 to 1998. After that assignment, I asked to be reassigned to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. After two years of working in a White House replete of honor, dignity, and professionalism, my intent was to return to the birthplace of Air Force officer values and education. What better place, I thought, than to go to the source and be a commander of fine young cadets and officer candidates. I served at the Academy from 1998 until 2001 as a Cadet Group Commander (think dean) and was responsible for the well-being and education of 2,000 officer candidates. And it was then that I began to notice a troubling trend in our military services. A trend, that unless abated, would spell the beginning of the end of the military service that I knew and loved. One devoted to the precepts of honor, valor, integrity, and honesty. Those core elements absolutely critical to leadership and command.
There began, under Clinton, and accelerated under Obama, an attempt to devolve the existing US military Judeo-Chrisitan ethic and reliance on martial values. The Pentagon, once a building intent on warfighting, gradually became a place where liberal politics became king. For years, now, the Left has attempted to emasculate the armed forces.
Clinton, of course, began this march in 1993 when he attempted to socially engineer the military to fit his ideological views and placate the gay and lesbian voting bloc with the "don't ask, don't tell" edict. By the time I reached the Air Force Academy, cadets of both sexes were integrated into sharing dormitory floors and, of course, the incidence of sexual assaults and harassment became more and more prevalent. The once hallowed USAFA Chapel, home to religious services for Methodists, Catholics, and Jews, was opened to those cadets wishing to practice their "Wiccan" religion, otherwise known as "benevolent witchcraft." Anybody with a cause was allowed to conduct meetings or worship in the once hallowed sanctuary of the Air Force Academy Chapel.
Simultaneously, the Academy came under attack by atheist organizations and the use of terms such as "Christianity" or any reference to Jesus Christ were frowned up and eventually prohibited. Iconic Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry was ultimately fired for insisting on team prayer prior to his team's football games. Jesus wasn't allowed in locker rooms either, apparently. All of these trends were, for me, pointing in the wrong direction and were significant considerations for me when I chose to retire from the Air Force in 2001.
But the George W. Bush years only seemed to stem the liberal onslaught on our military. Immediately after assuming office, President Barack Obama went after the LGBTQ issue in the ranks. Outraged by the Obama administration's attempt to re-engineer the military culture into one in which openly accepts members that openly identify as being LGBTQ, thousands of retired Air Force, Army, and Marine generals, and Navy admirals wrote letters of protest without success. And, now, of course, we have the issue of transgendered personnel being allowed to serve in the services. Obama did a masterful job, from a Saul Alinsky-standpoint, of removing actual combat leaders and warfighters from positions of power in the Pentagon and replacing them with his people. Obamas generals took the lead and continued the social engineering revolution. These "leaders" despite President Trump's recent efforts continue to wreak untold damage on our military capabilities and morale.
As a case in point, let me refer you to an open letter from LTC (USA, ret) Robert M. Heffington. Colonel Heffington's letter is to the graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, as he is a fellow graduate and proud of his opportunity to have been a part of the Long Grey Line. Heffington, also, was a member of the West Point faculty in the years 2006-2009 and again from 2013-2017. In his letter, which is too long to publish as a part of this blog, he notes that he "personally witnessed a series of fundamental changes at West Point that have eroded it to the point where (he) questions whether the institution should even remain open." His complete letter is available at (https://medium.com/@UlisseRJ/open-letter-to-grads-from-ltc-ret-heffington-659dac71511f). I highly encourage you to read it. It will anger you and discourage you...but he's spot on.
A very visible example that he notes, and I have posted on earlier, is the case of 2LT Spenser Rapone, an avowed communist and sworn enemy of the United States that, not only was allowed to enter the Academy but was then allowed to graduate and is now an officer in our Army ranks. Why was this allowed? According to Heffington, its because "standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else." "Nothing matters anymore." Heffington continues, "Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history."
The very bleak outlook at West Point has translated to the other military academies as well. Obama's generals are still calling the shots and our military men and women are paying the price. Leftists will not be content until the US military resembles Denmark, or Luxembourg, or the Netherlands. All great places to visit, with great people, but not armies and air forces that I want defending my nation at a critical juncture where we face worldwide Islamic jihad, a nuclear-armed North Korea, a nuclear-arming Iran, not to mention Russia and China.
I pray that the Trump team and the Trump revolution can and will turn this around. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deserve it. And America needs it. Now!
Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson, United States Air Force (Retired), is a military combat pilot, distinguished White House military aide, bestselling author, and popular conservative public speaker. Among Patterson’s literary efforts include two New York Times best sellers, Dereliction of Duty and Reckless Disregard. His most recent books include War Crimes and Conduct Unbecoming. Patterson was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Air Command and Staff College; he has his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech University and a Master's in Business Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He, his wife and their three children currently reside in California.