Thursday, December 12, 2019

Congress Concerned Concerning Coast Guard Handling of Harassment Cases




The U.S. Coast Guard’s leadership has failed to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations of harassment and bullying allegations, according to a congressional investigation released Wednesday December 11, 2019.
 The Congressional Report had no historical perspective. The authors of the Report appear to have done no background investigation, at all. The History of Black Americans at the Coast Guard Academy is only about 50 years old. The History of females at the Academy is only about 30 years old.
The Coast Guard has been around since 1790. The Academy was established in 1876. The Report appears to have gone no further back than about 2005.
The background for the Report was so weak that the Report has no persuasive value. It lacks merit. Policy makers can almost ignore it with impunity. It will not spur policy changes.
Conspicuously absent from the Report was any mention of the Cadet Webster Smith Case where a Senior Black Cadet was expelled in 2006 after being punished by a General Court-martial. Nine months after his girlfriend had aborted their child, he was charged with having raped her, among other things.
The Rape Charge was dismissed at the trial, but Cadet Smith was convicted of other charges. He was sentenced to 6 months in jail, and a Bad Conduct Discharge, among other things.
The severe undeserved punishment directed at Cadet Smith makes harassment and bullying seem like child’s play. He took it like a man. He moved on. He appealed his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court, to no avail.
This was the first court-martial of a Cadet. It was an American Tragedy. The story of the case was fully documented in a book, CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN OFFICER AND A LADY, UCGC, Vol 02, Nr 01A, by Judge London Steverson (Amazon.com).
The report, called “Righting the Ship,” also found Coast Guard leaders didn’t hold officials accountable for deficient and incomplete investigations and didn’t take corrective action to address retaliation against people who report harassment and bullying. It concludes that the service needs to make “significant improvements” in its policies and procedures.
The U.S. House Oversight and Homeland Security Committees launched the 18-month investigation after questions were raised about how complaints were handled at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Subcommittees for the two committees discussed the findings Wednesday, December 11, during a joint hearing.

By way of background, a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2008 after a series of revelations about sexual misconduct at U.S. military academies, found that  the Coast Guard was not required to report to Congress any measures taken  to stem the tide of sexual assaults and harassment cases at the Coast Guard Academy. The GAO noted the Coast Guard Academy was the only U.S. military academy not required to report to Congress on sexual-misconduct cases.
According to the GAO Report, from 2003 to 2006 there were NO sexual-harassment complaints at the Coast Guard Academy, but there were 12 incidents of sexual assault reported to the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), with one incident in 2003, one in 2004, “NONE” in 2005 and 10 in 2006.  

The GAO report suggests that CGA’s figures may not tell the full story. In Point of Fact, thirteen female cadets and 11 males at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (CGA) reported anonymously in an April 2008 survey that they experienced “unwanted sexual contact,” ranging from touching to forced sexual acts, during the 2007-08 school year. 
More than three-quarters said that alcohol or drugs were involved and that the offender was a fellow cadet.  None of the women sought professional help and only 7 percent discussed the incident with authorities. Not enough of the male respondents answered follow-up questions to provide data, according to the Defense Department survey.
”The fact that we have cadets who are being predators on cadets bothers me because I'm committed to giving cadets a safe living and working environment,” said Capt. John Fitzgerald, the new Commandant of Cadets at the time. “I'm not going to rest until the day I leave here, working to eradicate that.”
A survey of cadets, done by CGA in October 2006, found that there were 23 incidents of sexual assault involving 14 women and nine men. Cadet focus groups revealed acceptance, and even encouragement, of alcohol use. A few months before that survey was taken, senior cadet Webster Smith was court-martialed on charges of sexual assault, among other things.
The Defense Department conducts a congressionally mandated “service academy gender relations survey” every two years at West Point, Annapolis and the U.S. Air Force Academy. CGA, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), voluntarily participated the previous year instead of doing its own survey of cadets. Participating was a way to make CGA more transparent and to give Coast Guard officials an unbiased look at the state of gender relations at the school, Fitzgerald said.  Cadets were told about the survey at a meeting and could choose whether or not to complete it.
It is difficult to draw comparisons between past CGA surveys and the DOD version because the surveys use different terminology, like “sexual assault” versus “unwanted sexual contact,” and ask about different time-frames, such as a cadet's entire time at the academy versus one school year.
At the DOD academies, 9 percent of women and 1 percent of men reported experiencing some form of unwanted sexual contact in 2006, while 52 percent of women and 11 percent of men said they were sexually harassed. At CGA, 44 percent of women and 14 percent of men reported being sexually harassed. More than three-quarters said the offender was a fellow cadet.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Michael McAllister said at the hearing the service’s senior leaders are taking “every step to foster and develop a climate that’s free from harassment, bullying and retaliation” and take all complaints seriously. The congressional investigation was launched by the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat who worked on Coast Guard diversity issues throughout his career, and Thompson, in consultation with U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney. Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat whose district includes the academy, said the report isn’t an attack on the Coast Guard, but if there’s a problem it needs to be fixed.
Adm. Karl Schultz, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, was asked to testify Wednesday December 11, 2019. Committee leaders said Schultz declining to appear reinforces their concerns that the Coast Guard leadership does not takes the issues seriously enough. They criticized the Coast Guard for delaying the delivery of requested documents and heavily redacting them during the investigation.
In their report, the lawmakers said other Coast Guard officers, including retired Capt. Kevin Lopes, former head of the Coast Guard Academy’s Management Department, and retired Rear Adm. James Rendon, the former Superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy, also declined requests to speak to the congressional investigators.
But McAllister said he spoke for the service because he is in charge of human resources, training and personnel policy. He said it was their intent to be responsive and transparent, and pursuing a diverse and inclusive service is a top priority.
#ucgc #justice
#ucgc #justice



Conspicuously absent from the Report was any mention of the Cadet Webster Smith Case where a Senior Black Cadet was expelled in 2006 after being punished by a General Court-martial. Nine months after his girlfriend had aborted their child, he was charged with having raped her, among other things. This was the first Court-martial of a Cadet. The story of the case was fully documented in a book, CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN OFFICER AND A LADY, UCGC, Vol 02, Nr 01A, by Judge London Steverson (Amazon.com).

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bill Kelly Becomes 42nd Superintendent at USCGA, May 2019

New Coast Guard Academy Superintendent Says His Job Is To 'Seek Out the Blind Spots'



Rear Adm. William G. Kelly became the 42nd Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on May 30, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Matt Thieme)
Rear Adm. William G. Kelly became the 42nd Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on May 30, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Matt Thieme)
NEW LONDON -- The new superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy, just over 100 days into the job, said the academy has done much over the years to increase the diversity of its student body. Women now make up 40 percent of the roughly 1,000 cadets on campus, and minorities constitute 32 percent.
Now the question is: "We're at the point where we're diverse, but are we inclusive?" Rear Adm. Bill Kelly said during a meeting Monday with The Day's Editorial Board.
Kelly, a 1987 academy graduate, who was previously the Coast Guard's chief of human resources, has described his return to the academy as a homecoming. He was stationed on campus from 2003 to 2006 as the leader of the Officer Candidate School, and again from 2008 to 2012 as the head of the Leadership Development Center.
RelatedCoast Guard Rescues Nearly 300 People in the Bahamas Following Hurricane Dorian
He pointed to recent news headlines, which demonstrate the important work of the Coast Guard, whose officers all undergo training at the academy, including rescuing hundreds in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, responding to the worst maritime disaster in recent California history, and just Monday, rescuing crew members from a capsized cargo ship off the Georgia coast.
"We're out there doing good stuff. We are the world's best Coast Guard. ... That's my perception. That's my reality," Kelly said, adding that he's looking through "a set of glasses that are 54 years old, that of a white male."
"Does everybody on our campus feel the same way?" he said.
As superintendent, Kelly said one of his main responsibilities is "to seek out our blind spots."
The academy, which was ranked one of the top colleges in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report listings, has its challenges, Kelly said, but what he's learned from meeting with his counterparts from across the country since taking the job is that other colleges and universities are facing similar issues.
"They're dealing with mental health. They're dealing with diversity and inclusion on board their campuses. They're dealing with financial constraints," he said.
Kelly took over as superintendent in the midst of a congressional probe into the academy's handling of discrimination and harassment complaints, and a separate review by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General into whether the academy has adequate processes in place for reporting, investigating and acting on such complaints.
He said one of his main priorities is creating a safe and inclusive community on campus, and that he is engaging a cross-section of people on how to best do that. The academy now has a system in place to more easily identify inequities on campus, he said.
After being the first U.S. service academy to undergo a process called the Equity Scorecard, which evaluates institutions on student performance with a focus on equity, the academy put in place a system to collect and analyze this data on its own.
The scorecard found discrepancies in graduation and retention rates, disciplinary action, and academic performance, for example. Speaking to one of the findings, that black cadets faced disciplinary action more than any other group, Kelly said data the academy has collected since shows "the numbers have changed."
"We've raised the understanding of equity across the campus," he said.
The data are allowing the academy to more readily evaluate and address inequities, but another way Kelly said he can gain insight into the culture at the academy is through a course he's co-teaching on morals and ethics for sophomores, juniors and seniors.
"Think about being in a morals and ethics discussion with your cadets, what greater insight can you have than to do that?" he said.
While the cadets are "warming up" to the idea of being taught a class by the superintendent, no one has asked him a question yet. "They haven't said, 'Sir, what do you think about X,'" Kelly said. It's his responsibility, he said, is to create an environment that they feel comfortable doing that."
This article is written by Julia Bergman from The Day, New London, Conn. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Floating Coffins




"The Responsibility of a Coast Guard Commanding Officer for the safety of the ship‘s crew is absolute", said Vice Admiral Charles Wurster, Pacific Area Commander, at a press briefing for the Coast Guard‘s Integrated Support Command following the deaths of LT Jessica Hill and BM2 Steve Duque caused by the negligence of CAPT Doug Russell, CO; and CDR Jeffrey Jackson, XO; and LCDR James Dalitsch, OPS.
CDR John R. Bitterman was listening closely. That is one reason he chose not to go to sea on a Floating Coffin in Seattle, Washington. He pointed out some repairs needed to make his ship 💯% seaworthy. For this, among other things, he was given a Punitive Letter of Loss Of Confidence. He was relieved on command. And his spotless record fatally tarnished. His 28 year career was over. ADM Ray told him that he was going to be THE FALL GUY.
This is an outrage. CDR Bitterman was not brought up on charges under the UCMJ. He was lynched administratively. This is a gross miscarriage. This can’t be. It must be reversed.

In a nutshell, CDR Bitterman, this decorated Officer, was given a “Loss Of Confidence Letter” and relieved of command based on gossip, rumor and lies. He pointed out certain structural deficiencies that were long term. He did not want to skipper a floating coffin. The crew lacked discipline and complained through back channels. And some staff officers were quick to torpedo his career for various reasons: jealousy, envy, and to cover their own butts. They had been hiding structural and disciplinary problems for some time. CDR Bitterman became the Fall Guy because he would not play ball. #ucgc #justice

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

John Bitterman's Quest For Justice, UCGC Vol 04 Nr 01


CDR John Bitterman fought on the Front line in the War On Drugs. Now, he is fighting for his Reputation. He has been praised by the Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the American Ambassador to Colombia, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Commander of the Southern Command, and the Commandant of the U S Coast Guard, among others. He is on a Quest For Justice. Truth and Equity are on his side.

                                                                 


 „The Responsibility of a Coast Guard Commanding Officer for the safety of the ship‘s crew is absolute „ said Vice Admiral Charles Wurster, Pacific Area Commander, at a press briefing for the Coast Guard‘s Integrated Support Command following the deaths of LT Jessica Hill and BM2 Steve Duque caused by the negligence of CAPT Doug Russell, CO; and CDR Jeffrey Jackson, CO; and LCDR James Dalitsch.
CDR John R. Bitterman was listening closely. That is one reason he chose not to go to sea on a Floating Coffin in Seattle, Washington. He pointed out some repairs needed to make his ship 💯% seaworthy. For this, among other things, he was given a Punitive Letter Of Loss Of Confidence. He was relieved on command. And his spotless record fatally tarnished. His 28 year career was over. ADM Ray told him that he was going to be THE FALL GUY.
This is an outrage. CDR Bitterman was not brought up on charges under the UCMJ. He was lynched administratively. This is a gross miscarriage. This can’t be. It must be reversed.

CDR Bitterman has commanded several Coast Guard High Endurance Law Enforcement Vessels. He also served with the Law Enforcement Team 8-G in Galveston, Texas, and in the Coast Guard’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He was the Coast Guard’s Police Attaché in Bogota, Colombia.
For most of us, Colombia is just a place where bad things happen, and we hope it never reaches our neighborhood. We immediately associate it with Drugs, massacres, and political corruption. We think that Colombia supplies most of the cocaine and heroin that comes into the USA, but unless you are a part of the Hollywood Elites you cannot afford it.
Much of what we know about Colombia and the Drug Cartels comes from the movies. We are entertained by violence associated with the drug law enforcement efforts and the War on Drugs. We assume that Colombia has a Culture of Violence. We hope and pray that it never migrates North to the United States. We want to contain it there. So, we are happy to send people like CDR Bitterman to Colombia to contain it and to assure us that it will never make it to our Country.
We are happy to have men like CDR John Bitterman on the Wall that separates us from the horrors of the War on Drugs. He did his duty. He saved us for the unspeakable horrors of narco-trafficing violence; now he is asking us to help save his 28 year old career.
Truth and Equity are on his side. But, he needs more than that. He needs every right-thinking American who believes in Justice and Fairness to champion his cause. He needs you to read this book. It tells his story. Then, he needs you to get involved. Call or write your Representative in Washington. Ask them to put pressure of the U S Coast Guard to correct the wrong done to CDR Bitterman. Demand that they review and reconsider his case, correct the Record. Act in accordance with our Core Values, make America great again.
 CDR John Bitterman fought on the Front line in the War On Drugs. Now, he is fighting for his Reputation. He has been praised by the Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the American Ambassador to Colombia, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Commander of the Southern Command, and the Commandant of the U S Coast Guard, among others. He is on a Quest For Justice. Truth and Equity are on his side.
CDR Bitterman has commanded several Coast Guard High Endurance Law Enforcement Vessels. He also served with the Law Enforcement Team 8-G in Galveston, Texas, and in the Coast Guard’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He was the Coast Guard’s Police Attaché in Bogota, Colombia.
For most of us, Colombia is just a place where bad things happen, and we hope it never reaches our neighborhood. We immediately associate it with Drugs, massacres, and political corruption. We think that Colombia supplies most of the cocaine and heroin that comes into the USA, but unless you are a part of the Hollywood Elites you cannot afford it.
Much of what we know about Colombia and the Drug Cartels comes from the movies. We are entertained by violence associated with the drug law enforcement efforts and the War on Drugs. We assume that Colombia has a Culture of Violence. We hope and pray that it never migrates North to the United States. We want to contain it there. So, we are happy to send people like CDR Bitterman to Colombia to contain it and to assure us that it will never make it to our Country.
We are happy to have men like CDR John Bitterman on the Wall that separates us from the horrors of the War on Drugs. He did his duty. He saved us for the unspeakable horrors of narco-trafficing violence; now he is asking us to help save his 28 year old career.
Truth and Equity are on his side. But, he needs more than that. He needs every right-thinking American who believes in Justice and Fairness to champion his cause. He needs you to read this book. It tells his story. Then, he needs you to get involved. Call or write your Representative in Washington. Ask them to put pressure of the U S Coast Guard to correct the wrong done to CDR Bitterman. Demand that they review and reconsider his case, correct the Record. Act in accordance with our Core Values, make America great again.
#justice #ucgc #uscg

 This man does not slam-dunk a Basketball; and, he does not run through a Hole in the Defensive-Line with a Football.
He does not stand on stage or in front of a camera and recite trite Lines of Verbiage written by some drug-induced Degenerate intent on blurring the lines of distinction between the Genders in our Society.
He does not hide behind a disguise and burn the American Flag or deface Public Monuments that tell the History of America’s Founding.
He does not entertain you. He does not attempt to restrict you in the free exercise of your Rights of Free Speech, Press or Assembly.
He would never tell you what you can or cannot say, where you can or cannot go, who you can or cannot love, or what you can or cannot do in the privacy of your own home.
He would never pit you against each other simply to divide and control you.
Why or why not, you may ask. Because,
He is an Authentic American Hero;
A straight, white, male, military Officer;
A Christian, Father, Husband of one Wife;
An old-fashioned, hard-working, dedicated Coast Guard Officer who took an Oath 28 years ago to do his best to do his Duty to God and Country. And he has never broken that Oath.
For this, he has been slimed, slandered, and smeared by men and women of less noble character.
He has never broken Faith with his Superiors in the Chain-of-Command.
Yet, he has been falsely accused, robbed of a portion of his dignity, and stripped of his Mantle of Office.
He is on a Quest for Justice.
He asks only for a Fair Hearing.
He demands only Equal Justice.
He prays that those he has protected will come to his aide; make a phone call, write a Letter or type a Tweet to their elected Representatives in Washington, DC.
Demand Justice for Commander Bitterman!
#justice #ucgc #uscg

Monday, May 27, 2019

Life As A U S Coast Guard Officer UCGC Vol 3, Nr 3. (Amazon Books)

Only in America could my Life Story have been possible. God has blessed me and my family. 




I rose from abject poverty and climbed several rungs up the Socio-Economic Ladder. I was the first person in my family to complete high school, college and graduate school. My brother and sister have post- graduate educational degrees. None of us have ever been on Welfare. We have had 40-year careers as professionals. 
We are parents and grand parents. Not one of our children has ever been in jail or in the hospital, except to deliver a baby. Not one person in my family has a criminal record. We own our own homes. Some own several. We have traveled and seen most of the Free World. Until we left home our parents had never traveled more than 50 miles from where they were born. 
Several of our Grand Parents were born, lived and died in the same house that their parents had lived in. In one generation we went from the cotton field to the Board Room and the Court Room. 
We were raised as Bible base Christian Missionary Baptists. We learned to pray before the age of three. Our Mother prayed hard and constantly. She taught us that God will make a way some how. And she was correct. Her prayers have been answered to the fourth generation. Her Faith was not been in vain. Only in America, a Christian Constitutional Republic could our story have been possible.


I am a Story Teller. This is my story. It is my Life. Looking back, I am convinced that God was in charge of my Life. He guided me as a Father would guide his child. He protected me when I ventured off the straight and narrow path. He endowed me with the Power Of Choice and placed me in a Country where I had Freedom to choose. I am happy with the choices I made.

Reading this Book is a stroll down Memory Lane. Most of it was written by God as He spoke to me spiritually. The Words are His Words. The Events related are the ones He wants to emphasize and perpetuate. I enjoy reading my own book because God wrote it through me. I would write when I felt Divine Inspiration. Over the years I would feel spiritually moved to record and photograph certain things and keep them. The house where I was born is an example. Soon after I photographed it, it was destroyed. I have been saving material for over 50 years. I have been writing this book for about 13 years. I started writing in 2006 on a Laptop while vacationing at the Marriott Villas Resort in Newport Beach, California.

I have not sacrificed Truth and accuracy for entertainment and self-aggrandizement. Nor have I exercised journalistic license to embellish. The facts, the events, the people and places are all true to the best of my recollection.

These events in my Life spanned eight Decades of American History. They tell the story of the American Transition from Post-slavery Agrarianism, to Segregation and Jim Crow, and Separate-But-Equal, through the Civil Rights Movement, to Integration and finally  back to the Beginnings Of The New-Segregation. This is evident in higher education.

In 2018 Black Graduates At Harvard University opted for a Separate Black Only Graduation Ceremony. In 2019 more than 73 institutions of higher learning opted for separate ethnic-specific ceremonies. It appears that this phenomenon is spreading and may become the New Norm. I hope not. It is not the American Dream that we fought for. We believed in inclusion and fought to be included in the greater American Society. We were not Separatists and did not want to be excluded from Main Stream America.

God has chosen to tell this story through my life. I hope that others will enjoy reading this book as much as I. I pray that it will serve as a source of inspiration to my children and to future generations of Americans.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Downey Patriot, Vol. 5, No. 52, Friday, Apr 20, 2007.

The Downey Patriot, Vol. 5, No. 52, Friday, Apr 20, 2007.

The Downey Patriot is the local weekly newspaper for Downey, California 90241. At the time of this edition it was headquartered at 11525 Downey Avenue, Suite A, Downey California, 90241.

Volume 5, Number 52, Friday, April 20, 2007, featured an article concerning Judge London Steverson, who resided at 9212 Downey Avenue, 90240. The Article was written by Henry Veneracion, a Featured Staff Writer.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Assimilation, not Segregation, is The Goal. Coast Guard Academy Graduates 50 Years Later.

Fifty Years after the Coast Guard Academy graduated its first African-American cadet, the Class of 2018 boasts the largest number of Black Graduates. In 1966 there was one, Ensign Merle James Smith, Junior from Baltimore, Maryland. In 2018 there are eighteen, among them Ensign Karida Harris, also from Baltimore, Maryland,shown below shaking the hand of Vice President Mike Pence, the Graduation Speaker.

Below, Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Paul Zukunft, stands proudly in the middle of this Black Tidal Wave of Ensigns.
As I observe and ponder this new phenomenon in Coast Guard and American History, I am left with some soul searching questions. I have a right to ask these questions because I dedicated a major portion of my Coast Guard Career to recruiting Black high school students for the Coast Guard Academy.

My first emotions are Joy, Happiness, and Pride. God is good, and He works in wondrous, even mysterious ways. In 1964 when I entered the Coast Guard Academy, I never would have dreamed that this day would ever come. We find ourselves on the threshold of a New Era in Coast Guard History. In 50 years I have seen the Coast Guard go from the horse and buggy phase to inter-planetary phase of travel in the area of Equal Opportunity, particularly where America's Citizens of Color are concerned.

The events of this past week have left me all warm and fuzzy about my Alma Mater. However, after seven Decades of living in America, and the last eight years of Fundamental Change under the previous Administration, I am hesitant to pop the champagne corks, just yet. The decades come and go, and the Ebb and Flow of History does not always take us where we think we are heading. The President who was supposed to stop the rise of the Oceans and bring us all together as a Nation of Americans, has left us more divided than at any time in my life. I spent my first 21 years under a System of Jim Crow Segregation where we acquiesced to a Political System called Separate But Equal.

When the Supreme Court told us that "Separate" was inherently "Unequal", we looked to a day when America would be fully "integrated" into a Color-blind Society. We thought and prayed that Obama would be the final link in that chain. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Honest and objective critical thinkers today see that we were all hood-winked. I saw men and women, some of my high school classmates killed fighting for equal rights and full integration in the 1960s. Our Society was working towards Full Integration, not just De-segregation. But today, Black students at Harvard University are demanding a return to "Separate But Equal". How the worm turns!
(See, Above Twitter Post of Harvard Black Students' Separate Graduation 2018.)

This trend disturbs me very much. Obama was a Harvard Graduate. Many of our National Leaders are Harvard Alumni. I do not agree with most of their Liberal Leftist Policies and Opinions, but they impact all Americans. I accept the results of fair National Elections. We suffered under Obama and his twisted appointees for eight years. And I see what it has brought us; more divided that united, clamoring for separation rather than integration, separating into splinter group constituencies, and taking a giant step backwards in the area of Human Relation, American Style.

So, what does this mean for the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2018, and this constant pigeon-holing of Coast Guard Officers? They were separate social and culture groups in 2014 when they entered the Academy. Their four years of training was designed to tear down barriers and to turn them into a unified Corps of Coast Guard Officers. They were to think alike, act alike, and be alike; they were to do everything except look alike, which is not possible. America wanted Coast Guard Officers, not Balkanized marine specialists with allegiances to separate groups in our Society. This constant separation into various superficial groups for statistical purposes does not bring us together as an American Society. It works against the idea of "E pluribus Unum".

When will these Graduates cease to be Black Coast Guard Officers or African-American Officers, and become simply Coast Guard Officers or just Officers?
 Starting at Swab Summer we strive to eliminate distinctions between the cadets. We try to put them through a four year cookie cutter training program that turns out exact replicas. I may be overstating it a bit, but that is the intention.

 https://www.theday.com/article/20180523/NWS09/180529718

If all the other graduates are plainly and simply Coast Guard Officers, why must we consider these to be Black Officers or African-American Officers? We still hover in the shadow of “Separate But Equal”, knowing that Separate is inherently Unequal. Fifty years after Merle Smith graduated, Black Officers are still considered a separate and distinct specie.

I fear that not many will see my point. It is very subtle, and it takes old age and a lifetime of experiences as a Black Man in majority white America and a retired Coast Guard officer to perceive the distinction.  Also, a lot of world travel and exposure to other cultures and societies have helped to mold my opinion.

I understand the need to be recognized, to be accepted into a group, and to be held in high esteem by your peers. I understand the need for keeping statistics and the desire to get credit for jobs well-done.
 For example consider Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. It is a theory in psychology proposed by  Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Humans need food, sleep, safety, love, and purpose.

We humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among social groups, regardless whether these groups are large or small. For example, some large social groups may include clubs, co-workers, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, gangs, and online communities. Some examples of small social connections include family members, intimate partners, mentors, colleagues, and confidants. Humans need to love and be loved – both sexually and non-sexually – by others.

Esteem needs are ego needs or status needs develop a concern with getting recognition, status, importance, and respect from others. All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value. Low self-esteem or an inferiority complex may result from imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally.
How does one explain the need for the National Bar Association, NBA, when there is an American Bar Association, ABA? Perhaps they would not allow Black Attorney members or they would not recognize Black achievement.

Why do we need a Black History Month, if American History is taught in school? (Assuming it is taught, AND the historians consider Black citizens to be Americans.)
What is the usefulness of praise or honor that you have to buy? If you have to write your own news stories to praise yourself, it is the same as recommending yourself for a medal , and writing the citation. It is fake, false, worthless. It is akin to the difference between making love to your wife versus paying a Hooker for commercial sex. The emotional content is different. One has meaning, soul satisfaction; while, the other merely scratches an itch.

If only Black Officers praise and respect you, are you truly respected lord honored? If only the Black Community praises and respects you, are you truly honored? These officers deserve the praise and respect of the overall American population; as Coast Guard Officers, not as a sub-category of Officer.

 The American Dream is to become an American, not an American version of what we were. When America first allowed Immigrants to come to America, Immigrants forbade their children to learn the language of the Old Country; instead they were forced to learn American/English.
 Assimilation is the American ideal, the Dream. When Black high school graduates assimilate into the USCG Officer Corps, when they join the Long Blue Line, they become Coast Guard Officers, not Black Officers or African-American Officers. Separate But Equal is not full Integration. It is only De-Segregation.
 These officers are “stigmatized “ at birth; that is to say, at graduation. The men and women out in the Field of the Coast Guard are being told these officers are different. Black Officers need to be Assimilated, not separated. Taking them aside and photographing them is almost like a "Perp Walk".

I would give these Black Officers some advice. When they report to their First Duty Stations they should avoid all activities identified as Black Only. They should forget that they are Black, and stop thinking Black. They should become American first and Coast Guard second. They should leave their Blackness at home in the morning, go to work and be a good Coast Guard Officer. They should never again think of themselves as Black Officers. They are Coast Guard Officers. When they retire they can go back to being Black, if possible.


They should hang around with the other Officers, and the chiefs. I know Birds of a feather, flock together. But, a bird does not cease to be a bird if he spends some time with Lions, or Elephants or even Snakes. He already knows how to fly. Other birds cannot teach him anything he doesn’t already know. But a Lion could teach him how to have heart and be a King. An Elephant could help him improve his memory. Hanging around snakes could teach him subtlety and other socially unacceptable traits that would serve him well when evil doers seek to take advantage of him. My advice to the Class of 2018 is to be as wise a Serpents, but as harmlessly Doves.

This type of mind control and discipline is not much different from what a Judge must do when he puts on his Black Robe. He must shed his biases, prejudices, and other human foibles. While he is on the Bench he must pretend to be a god, and act totally objectively. Hypothetically, a Black Panther Judge should be able to fairly Judge the Case Of even a KKK Wizard.