By Tony Lentini, USMA ’71
Just back from Normandy, where 9,387 Americans who lost their lives in the D-Day invasion and its aftermath are interred. I made the pilgrimage with my old West Point roommate from the Class of 1971.
To call it a sobering place is a gross understatement.
Our fighting men had to cross wide expanses of open beach under direct frontal and flanking fire. Our Rangers at Pointe du Hoc employed lines connected to grappling hooks to scale sheer-vertical 90-foot cliffs as German soldiers shot down at them and dropped grenades from above.
Still, the allied forces prevailed.
My Uncle Sal, a scout, went in at Normandy on the second day. My aerial gunner father and reconnaissance father-in-law, both career soldiers, also saw combat in the European Theater of Operations. A great uncle, an infantryman, lost his life on a tiny island in the Pacific toward the end of the war.
Military service is my heritage; I signed up for West Point at the height of the Vietnam Conflict. Though I volunteered for Vietnam, the Army had other plans and sent me to Europe, where I served on the East German and Czech borders on NATO’s front line.
There are many like me in our nation’s military; in 2019, 79 percent of volunteers had a family member who served. For nearly 30 percent, it was a parent.
Over the years, I have assisted a number of young Americans in applying for West Point, all of whom were accepted and graduated. I’ve recommended military service to many others.
Today’s military and its academies have been thoroughly corrupted by wokeness; anti-Americanism; and, yes, homegrown communism.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE); Critical Race Theory; mandatory white self-criticism sessions; and transgender indoctrination are front and center in the services.
These abominations now rule in what was formerly a meritocracy.
Soviet-style political commissars (“respect officers”) keep tabs on cadet companies and combat units alike; step out of line politically, and your career is ruined.
Flag officers (generals and admirals) who, like me, took a solemn oath to defend the U.S. Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” now salute smartly and carry out illegal orders from Washington so that they might retire with highly lucrative positions in the Military-Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned us about.
The academies and active-duty units defy federal law at will, ignoring Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries, restrictions on federal funding of abortion, and other legislation with impunity.
Some months back, I filed a FOIA request with West Point to learn the final disposition of the cadets who overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine during their 2022 Spring Break in Florida. I specifically did not request their names — only what punishment they may or may not have received.
In my day, such a travesty would have resulted in immediate expulsion from the academy. As of today, more than a year later, West Point has been silent on the matter. As a taxpayer and a graduate of that once proud institution, I have a right to know what happened to those cadets.
In early 2023, the dealer who sold the illegal drugs to the cadets was convicted and sentenced to nine years in federal prison.
West Point dismissed my FOIA query on the spurious grounds that the case was “still under investigation.” Technically, the academy can keep the “investigation” open forever. That is apparently what they are doing.
A number of fellow graduates have encountered similar dismissal or stalling of their FOIA requests. Those who have received answers to wokeness inquiries did so only as a result of lawsuits.
Legacy patriots like me, who take our oath seriously, are branded right-wing extremists and white supremacists, just as Catholics and parents who object to sexual grooming in our schools are deemed domestic terrorists by our rogue Injustice Department and FBI.
Our once proud military hasn’t won a war since 1945.
Our tradition of standing apart from politics has been trashed.
Generals and admirals now openly support the kind of medical experimentation that sent Nazis to the gallows after World War II.
Free cosmetic surgery, once prohibited, is now a “right” for so-called transgenders in the service.
It’s a disgrace, and I wouldn’t recommend the military or service academies to anyone anymore.
Our foreign enemies are watching all this with unabashed glee.
And our fathers and forefathers, who sacrificed so much at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Iwo Jima, Utah and Omaha beaches, are spinning in their graves.
Tony Lentini is a 1971 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served five years active duty in the Army at Ft. Carson, Colorado and Nuremberg, Germany, attaining the rank of captain. He then worked in electric utilities and the oil and gas industry, serving as vice president of public and international affairs for two independent exploration and production companies. He is a member of Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism in the Services (STARRS) and a founder and board member of the anti-woke MacArthur Society of West Point Graduates.