Stennis BatGru Commander Removed
Another Navy CO has been removed.  The San Diego Union-Tribune reports (here) that Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette has been “reassigned from his job [as Commander of the Stennis Battle Group] pending the results of a Navy inspector general investigation . . . .”

USAFA Cadets Likely Won’t Face Discipline Over “First Snow” That Turned Violent
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports (here) that USAFA officials will likely not discipline cadets for participating in a brawl that started as an annual right of passage ritual for Academy cadets.

Twenty-seven Air Force Academy cadets were injured last week after a traditional hazing event left some with concussions, broken collar bones and cuts and bruises.

One cadet suffered a human bite on the arm, according to an email sent to academy staff by Brig. Gen. Dana Born, dean of cadets.

The hazing, known as First Shirt/First Snow, is an unofficial tradition that occurs every year on the first snow. Freshmen cadets try to throw their stripped-down cadet first sergeant in the snow, while the upperclassmen try to defend the sergeant.

10 Responses to “Military Justice News, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012”

  1. Atticus says:

    “One cadet suffered a human bite on the arm, according to an email sent to academy staff by Brig. Gen. Dana Born, dean of cadets.”  A human bite?  As opposed to what?  Was a black bear loose in the brawl?  Why anyone would think that this “annual rite of passage” is a good idea is mind-bending. 

  2. Phil Cave says:

    OK, so let me get this straight.
    These cadets will become officers.
    At some point in their career it’s quite possible they will do Art. 15, or make court-martial recommendations on their enlisted personnel who are accused of hazing?
    Because this is a “traditional” right of passage or something similar we aren’t going to take action and spoil their lives and future careers.
    Not saying I’m in favor of going back to the Snipes doing pink-bellies, etc.  But, this is the future . . . 

  3. bill C says:

    Some may become MJs and have their personnel folders fall into the hands of the TC leading to their recusal from presiding over hazing cases.  

  4. Dew_Process says:

    Atticus – I think you’re on to something.  The problem here is that no one at the AFA is “thinking” period!

    Concussions, broken bones and human bites are all serious injuries in just the medical context – forget about the UCMJ context vis-a-vis assaults etc.

    This is a “leadership” issue — taking the “boys will be boys” approach [even if female cadets were involved] is just plain stupid.  No doubt the AFA’s leadership have fond memories of their own experiences of such while Cadets and chose to condone such.

    How do you do a proper “Line of Duty” determination on say, a Senior Cadet who’s got a concussion and is now disqualified from attending flight school because of that?  If these injuries happened in a frat house on a college campus, it would be shut down!

    Stupid, stupid, stupid!!

  5. Christopher Mathews says:

    “Boys will be boys” is a bad policy for cadets as well as carrier XOs.

  6. Cap'n Crunch says:

    This type of nonsense went on when I was USAFA (a lifetime ago) — among a host of other stupidity by 18-22 year olds that makes me shake my head some 15 years later.  I realize it is hard for people (and especially attorneys and JAGs) to understand the mentality of cadets.  As an attorney, and having attended USAFA, I guess I have a different perspective than most.  I would venture a guess that no one intended for anyone to get hurt.  But the problem, in my view, happens when people get out of hand.  And when people get out of hand, it ruins it for everyone.  Coup up a bunch of 18-22 year olds, with not much in the way of an outlet (and even less of an outlet for freshmen) and give those same freshmen that live under an oppressive fourth class system an outlet to try to take on the upperclassmen, while failing to supervise and stop things if they get out of hand, and you have a recipe for disaster.  My guess is that this was one or two squadrons out of the entire cadet wing, where both cadet leadership and the AOC failed to exercise proper supervision.  I don’t see where wrestling and good natured fun of First Sergeant/First Snow is the issue.  The issue is that someone decided to take it to another level.  And, in typical USAFA fashion, a few ruined it for everyone.  Give it 5 years, and it’ll be back.  Sort of like recognition, or the myriad of other “traditions” that come and go.  I am surprised that they didn’t mention “nukings” or ban those yet, since those also typically evolve into brawl like atmosphere’s (generally, someone has a birthday, and the freshmen concoct a mixture from Mitchell Hall — the dining hall — and let it ferment a week, then drag the upperclassman outside where the mixture is dumped on him or her — with the remaining upperclassmen in the hallway to prevent said occurence).  I’m not saying this incident was “boys will be boys” — it clearly got out of hand and there was no one to put a halt to it when it crossed the line.  But I will not condemn the practice, and unless you have attended the institution I’m not sure that you can really appreciate the situation.

  7. Some Army Guy says:


    These comments are indicative of the typical military approach.  If something can be abused, the military mindset is to completely kill it.

    A silly tradition where you throw your cadet-leaders into the first snow gets out of hand?  The military answer: End the whole tradition.    

  8. stewie says:

    Air Force cadets are human? Who knew?!

    I kid, I kid.

  9. Concerned and crossed says:

    According to Air Force Instruction 36-2005, Table 2.2, Item 1, all of these cadets should be kicked out. Does the academy fall under the same regulations that the rest of the AF falls under. 

  10. Concerned says:

    According to Air Force Instruction 36-2005, Table 2.2, Item 1, these cadets should be Mr and Ms.  They should be kicked out. Or does the academy fall under a different set of rules?  Boys will be boys–BS–they are over 18 hitchhike means they are adults or is that different at the academy as well?