Monday, September 22, 2008

GREAT MOMENTS IN MILITARY EDUCATION

Daily Princetonian - The University band faced physical abuse, harassment and taunting on Saturday while accompanying the football team to its away game against The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C.
Following the game, Citadel commanding officers and the president of the Citadel student body apologized to the band for the cadets' behavior, several band members said.

The altercation began when the band marched, with prior approval from The Citadel's administration, through a guarded entrance onto the campus. The band's traditional march through the home team's campus brought the performers into contact with The Citadel's cadets, who were outside for field activities.

"Some of [the cadets] started running towards us and ran back . . . but it didn't seem threatening at all," Simon Fox Krauss '11 said.

Yet when the band tried to continue its march, Krauss said, the cadets surrounded the Princeton students and began booing loudly, linking arms to form a line blocking their path.

In response to the blocked path, Lucas Giron '09, the band's drum major, gave the order to "scramble" - break formation and leave.

Band conductor R.W. Enoch '09 said that at this point, "a number of cadets broke ranks and got into physical altercations with some of our members."

In the skirmish that followed, several band members were physically attacked and spit on, band members said, adding that at least one member had his instrument broken. . .

Jordan Bubin '09 said he was tackled by "three or four cadets" and pushed up against a tree.

"The booing was so loud, [and] the cadets who were on the field were yelling at us, 'Cut your hair, long-haired faggots' and 'You go have fun in college, I'll go fight the war,' " he said.

The cadets also stole band members' hats and spit on female members of the band, some members said. . .

Barnard said his immediate response was to direct the band to leave campus.

Several of The Citadel's commanding officers, however, brought the situation under control asked the band to continue its pre-approved march.

The band was escorted on the rest of its march around campus by commanding officers without further altercations, Barnard said. Bubin said, however, that the band was "pursued and taunted" in spite of the escort.

Later in the day, when the band appeared on the football field to perform its halftime show, the taunting continued.

"During the halftime, there was booing as soon as we went onto the field," Enoch said. Though the cadets avoided any further physical confrontation, Enoch noted that for the entire nine-minute half time show, the jeers were so loud that the band's act could hardly be heard. . .

"During the game itself, somewhere between 50 and 70 cadets circled the band in plain sight of an Army captain and Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel," Dan Jaffe '10 said in an e-mail. "When ordered back to their seats by [higher ranking officers] they were slow to obey."

Jaffe, who has trained in the Marine Corps, said he found the behavior of the cadets "astounding."

He added that he thought the fact that the cadets "lacked the discipline to maintain proper military bearing should, at the very least, make their superiors question the wisdom of awarding them commissions in the United States Armed Forces."

3 Comments:

At September 23, 2008 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Savages. If they behave like this to American college students, what will they do when they have to win hearts and minds among foreigners. Our nation has become a barbarian horde of monsters and it is sad.

 
At September 23, 2008 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True enough, and there's no telling how the graduates of The Citadel are likely to behave, either.

 
At September 30, 2008 5:21 PM, Anonymous Russ Bossard said...

In your posting entitled "Great Moments in Military Education" you attack not only the cadets of the Citadel, but also the integrity of the school, its alumni, and military officers in general. While the immaturity of a small number of Citadel cadets is unfortunate and inexcusable, their actions do not reflect the behavior of the Citadel's corps of cadets nor do they represent military officers as a whole. Before we point an accusatory finger at the handful of cadets involved with the Princeton band, it would only be fair to find out the whole story and the context in which the events took place.
First, while the Princeton band had permission to perform a racy half-time show at the Citadel versus Princeton football game, the Citadel did not extend this permission to the Princeton band outside of the half-time entertainment. Moreover, the Princeton band's antics were done on the Citadel's Avenue of Remembrance. The Avenue of Remembrance honors the academy's war dead. There is little wonder why the cadets responded so strongly. But these facts don't excuse the behavior of the handful of cadets who acted rudely. The cadets are taught from the beginning to exercise professional conduct at all times. Characterizing the Citadel's corps of cadets and professional military officers based on the behavior of a small number of cadets who acted rudely toward Princeton band members is an unfair judgment.
Behavior in our military academies does not necessarily represent behavior in the officer corps. Of the 1,900 cadets enrolled in the Citadel, only 40% earn military commissions (Citadel, 2008). This is only 2.8% of the yearly acquisition of Army lieutenants. This small percentage will also undergo years of formal military training and education at the graduate level prior to having responsibility for others. These cadets involved in this incident are not representative of the military leaders just as the behavior of other college students does not necessarily represent later behavior in one’s professional life.
The Citadel and the cadets have an unfortunate black mark upon them that will follow them for years to come that is based on half truths and a small handful of cadets. The acts of these few adolescents, from both schools involved, are deplorable and they deserve to be disciplined for their actions. However, we must get the whole story from each perspective before making final judgment. The Citadel remains a top school and the actions of a few individuals, defending their honor, should not dampen the reputation of this institution. These students’ actions should not be superimposed onto our military leadership professionals; they are not members of the Armed Forces and may never be. This incident needs to be further investigated and action taken against the perpetrators. The punishment needs to be swift and harsh, not only to send a message of intolerance but also to protect the reputation of both schools involved and prevent inaccurate perceptions of our institutions of higher learning.

 

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