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Does LTG Gilland (West Point Supe) Hate WW2 Veterans?

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Does LTG Gilland (West Point Supe) Hate WW2 Veterans?

By John Hughes, MD, USMA ’96
Veteran of Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan

President of MacArthur Society of West Point Graduates

History, particularly military history, has traditionally had a special place at West Point. A well-known poster at West Point reads, “At West Point, much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.”

Founded in 1802, USMA grads have served in every war in US history. Many West Point graduates fought and died in WW1 and WW2. The overwhelming majority were White. This is apparently a vexing problem for West Point and the new woke military.

Recall that more Americans died on D-Day on 6 June 1944 (2,501) than in 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan (2,448).

It would seem intuitive that West Point and its leaders would display a special reverence for the sacrifices and patriotism of not just graduate but also non graduate veterans of WW2.

This seems to be another tradition being destroyed by wokeness in America.

What began as a “reckoning,” as BG (Ret) Ty Seidule called it, with an attack on Civil War history and Civil War veterans quickly expanded to vandalism of WW1 and WW2 memorials in 2020. Anything associated with White people and White soldiers was considered offensive and worthy of slander. This disdain for WW2 veterans quickly spread to West Point.

Professor Elizabeth Samet: Samet has been an English professor at West Point since 1997. In 2021, she published Looking for the Good War: American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness.

In this book, she condemns WW2 veterans as violent post war misfits.

Worse, she uses the term Jim Crow to justify the derision of an entire generation of Americans that defended the world from fascism.

“The Pacific War begun in revenge and complicated by bitter racism, has long been eclipsed in national memory by a narrative of liberation focused largely on the European Theater (page 51).”

The actions of Army soldiers and Marines are summed up by the phase “bitter racism.” She also talks extensively of the “Jim Crow” army that won WW2.

Again, all of the sacrifices of these servicemembers were to be forgotten because the US military was segregated, and its racist personnel policies are all that mattered.

BG (Ret.) Ty Seidule: Seidule served as the West Point history department head before retiring in 2020. He was then made Professor Emeritus of History by USMA.

Currently a professor at ultra-liberal Hamilton College, Seidule has been a strong supporter of anti-racist historical revisionism.

In 2021, he published Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause. Like Samet, he speaks at length of America’s 20th century “Jim Crow” army, ignoring the heroism of WW1 and WW2 veterans and instead sounding the trumpet for anti-racism and the revision of history to reflect the new academic dogma.

Not surprisingly, he was chosen to be on the Naming Commission. The Commission recommended the renaming of anything named after Confederate generals, the removal of all Confederate references in memorials, and also the modification of the Triptych at West Point.

The Triptych was a large bronze mural donated to USMA in the 1950s that celebrated American history including WW1 and WW2. The mural was intended to display all of American’s history, good and bad, including slavery and racism.

It hung in the entryway to West Point’s science building for nearly 70 years. Seidule and the commission recommended the removal of the half dozen specific references to the KKK and Confederate generals on the Triptych but stipulated that the rest of the mural could be left in place on the wall of the academic building.

Triptych: Instead of removing the specific half dozen items, LTG Steven Gilland, USMA Superintendent, ordered the entire Triptych to be removed, including references to WW1 and WW2 that honor veterans.

The Superintendent of West Point is responsible for what West Point does or fails to do.

Granted, he has only been there for 1 year and the hiring of English professor Elizabeth Samet and designation of BG (Ret) Ty Seidule as professor emeritus of history were done before his arrival. Further, he has to choose to resign or obey orders coming from higher.

However, he still has the power to “do the right thing” as he says in interviews.

He can still hire/fire personnel based on their views on patriotism and Critical Race Theory.

He can still control what is on West Point’s website.

One year is enough time to look at the professors associated with the academy and decide which ones behave consistently with USMA’s core values.

Or, perhaps, he has shifted the core values of USMA under his watch to approve of professors bashing the tremendous sacrifice of the veterans who won WW2.

Either way, Gilland’s actions (and inactions) have made clear that one of two situations are present.

On the one hand, he may respect the memory of WW2 veterans, but, like most of the other generals in the military, lack the personal courage to speak up and defend WW2 veterans. They are content to let the anti-racism rhetoric condemn America’s WW2 heroes and disregard all of their heroism because the military was segregated at the time.

Or, more troubling, he may have actually bought into the woke narrative. Remember, he succeeded GEN Williams as superintendent and surely Williams wouldn’t have endorsed someone who would push back on the woke demons he had unleashed upon West Point.

Patriotic Americans are celebrating the 80th anniversary of World War II.

Will LTG Gilland “do the right thing,” and restore the Triptych that depicts WW2 heroism, strip BG (Ret) Ty Seidule of his title as Professor Emeritus of History, and fire Professor Elizabeth Samet?

Or will Gilland remain quiet and allow the tarnishing of WW2 veterans’ memories to continue in support of the ant-White, anti-racism movement.

Allowing academic destruction of the WW2 veterans’ memories is unacceptable to many Americans and veterans. Carl Spurlin Deckle is a Marine who enlisted in 1940 and fought during the entire Pacific War, earning a Silver Star. He was interviewed in 2022.

Proudly wearing his old military dress uniform, he wept when he lamented the sacrifices of his generation that are being forgotten in the newly socially engineered America. “”People don’t realize what they have,” Dekle said, showing his emotions. “The things we did and the things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain.””

Gilland likely does not hate WW2 veterans, but his actions as the Superintendent question his conviction to shield WW2 history from the CRT mafia.

Likely, Gilland will choose to do nothing, which directly or indirectly shows that USMA now has contempt for the WW2 veterans.

White soldiers from past wars have no place in the new woke fabric of US military history.

Standing up for WW2 veterans, regardless of race, would require personal courage, a quality lacking in general officers these days.

First published in Armed Forces Press

Congressional Naming Commission Report (West Point)

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