By Scott Sturman, MD, USAFA ’72
STARRS Board of Advisors
I came to the Air Force Academy (AFA) in 1968 from Wyoming, where my hard scrabble ancestors homesteaded in the 1800s.
Wyoming’s residents were predominately rural, white, patriotic and claimed the highest per capita participation rate of members of the armed forces during World War II.
The Air Force Academy became my window to the world, where I had the opportunity to meet and interact with fellow cadets from every state in the union.
They represented a melting pot of races and ethnicities, all with unique experiences and perspectives, who were united by the desire to serve our country.
In this highly competitive, merit driven system, our class withstood and ultimately surmounted the challenges of this physically, psychologically and academically demanding environment.
The key to surviving this cauldron of unrelenting pressure required classmates to band together as one entity, who knew no other identity than being members of the class of 1972.
Now over 50 years since graduation, the Academy’s administration has abandoned the ethos that prizes ability over appearance, unity over division, and service over self.
Critical Race Theory and its ideological step child, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, form the institutional mechanisms to prioritize division based on identity politics at the expense of cohesion and trust.
In January 2023, on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day, a Cornell educated economics instructor at AFA, addressed some of her white male students as White Boy #1, #2, and #3, since in her opinion, all whites looked the same.
Women and minority cadets were addressed by their formal surnames.
The instructor’s overt and inexcusable use of racist terms has never been adequately explained by the academy administration, nor is it known if she received a reprimanded or her contract terminated.
This humiliating experience of White Boy #2 is not an isolated event.
While attending a mandatory leadership class, his professor, an Air Force colonel and former AFA Preparatory School Commander, asked him to explain his white privilege.
To the young man’s credit, he explained that he, like all of the other cadets in class, was privileged to attend the AFA and have the opportunity to serve his country.
The colonel apparently was unpersuaded by his response and awarded White Boy #2 a “C” in her class in which no formal tests are given.
White Boy #2’s experience is the tip of the iceberg.
On a daily basis, cadets are subjected to intimidating indignities solely because of the genes transmitted to them by their parents.
Marginalization and discrimination based on phenotype and sexual orientation are the first steps in the dehumanizing process that destroys morale and leads to rationalizing immoral behavior.
Since antiquity military campaigns have depended on morale, courage, cohesion, and trust of combatants waging war.
General George Marshall noted that morale is the key to victory, and Napoleon stated it is the most important factor that determines an army’s effectiveness. Eisenhower remarked, “Morale is the greatest single factor in successful wars.”
Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech highlights the paramount importance of unity and trust among soldiers that are called upon to give their lives to overcome insurmountable odds.
Denying the band of brothers and sisters, these sustaining values and substituting them with the decisive and misguided principles of Critical Race Theory and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ensures the destruction of the armed forces.
Scott Sturman is a distinguished graduate from the Air Force Academy, where he majored in aeronautical engineering and serves as the Class of 1972 class president. He flew helicopters in the Air Force, attended medical school, and practiced medicine for 35 years.
Association of Mature American Citizens (conservative alternative to AARP)