By Mike Uecker, US Air Force Academy grad, USAF officer
As a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a veteran with more than 20 years of active duty service, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on what has happened to my alma mater and suggest a course of action to reinstitute education and training that will emphasize winning in place of whining. I hope it will also provide a reminder of what has made America the most attractive nation for immigrants and refugees the world over.
I am old enough to remember the failures of the war on poverty in the 1960s and the stagflation of the 1970s, and I experienced the success of the boom of the 1980s. It is truly amazing how quickly the United States went from winning the Cold War and witnessing the fall of the Soviet Union under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan to having half the nation believe socialism works.
Worse still, radical ideologues are now trying to inject socialism into the military in the form of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies.
As a result, we are faced with a new generation of cadets who are not being taught that talent, hard work, integrity, and “content of their character” will enable them to be successful.
How does one engender teamwork and unity when the seeds of distrust based on immutable characteristics are sown by the faculty?
Having served with men and women warriors of all races, colors, and creeds, I can attest that the Air Force I served in was the closest thing to a pure meritocracy I have ever experienced.
I am very concerned the U.S. Air Force Academy is no longer as concerned with graduating the best young people as career officers dedicated to upholding our oath of office as they are with creating a core of revolutionaries dedicated to creating the utopian vision of a “fair” and “equitable” world.
It appears that DEI policies, programs, and ideology are supported throughout the academy — to the point that administrators have selected a certain number of cadets and designated them as “diversity and inclusion officers,” who are identifiable by their purple shoulder cords.
Why is the academy turning its back on the long-standing fundamentals of judging cadets by their character and performance, not by their skin color, gender, ethnic background, or any other DEI criteria, which, by definition, requires a lowering of standards?
With that in mind, I submitted the aforementioned question at the service academies’ annual stakeholder membership update in February: “How does one develop teamwork and unity when the seeds of distrust based on immutable characteristics are sown by the staff and faculty?”
Based on the thoroughly positive response from other active duty and retired officers and graduates I contacted, I hoped the service academies would recognize what they had done and return to the philosophy that “all men are created equal” and to forming an officer core based on merit, not race, color, creed or national origin. I believe doing anything less is a clear violation of their oath to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Unfortunately, my question was ignored except for two email exchanges — one for clarification and one to imply I was ignorant of what was actually happening (or was the victim of “spurious reporting on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion at USAFA.”)
I have concluded that the Air Force I knew and the Air Force Academy that gave me so much is no longer a bastion of fundamental constitutional values but a cauldron of the latest thoughts of the leftists and outright Marxists who inhabit our government. This has dire consequences for our nation’s troops and its military readiness.
The Air Force must return to its roots — roots based on the Declaration of Independence and bound by the U.S. Constitution.
It must return to being a meritocracy dedicated to an apolitical defense of all we hold sacred.
Mike Uecker is an Air Force Academy graduate, former USAF research and development program manager, and former member of two public school boards of education.
Photo of new Political Commissars or Zampolit:
Cadet Program Promotes Diversity, Inclusion Across Academy Campus (US Air Force Academy, 2021)
. . . .Cadets pose for a photo after graduating from the Cadet Wing Diversity and Inclusion Program this summer, allowing them to advise students on diversity at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Each cadet wears a purple rope across their left shoulder symbolizing their position as a diversity representative.” . . . .