West Point Professor Always Knew Cadet Would Become A Terrible Officer ArmyJ September 13, 2012 Army 72 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN - After savage fighting — much of it hand-to-hand — a brutal Taliban attack on Combat Outpost Hellfire was stopped recently by the heroic actions of the infantry commander on the ground. While many in the Army are hailing Captain James Wild as a hero of the battle, his West Point professor maintains that the incident is just another in what he calls “a series of extensive leadership failures.” “I just knew something like this would happen if he was in a leadership position. He didn’t have any discipline at all. He was without a doubt one of the worst students I’ve ever had,” said Major Martin Sutherland, when asked about the incident. Now serving as a professor of history at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, Sutherland speaks from his experiences as an Air Defense officer from 1984 to 1995. His belief is that discipline and standards are of the highest importance to a good Army officer. “Wild had the worst looking boots in the company. When other cadets were spending their Friday nights shining shoes, and getting their rooms ready for the Saturday morning inspections that I insisted on, Wild would just go out and party. Can you believe that? A 19 year-old kid in college trying to become an officer, and he couldn’t even find the time to starch his BDU blouse!” The distraught man rubs a gnarled hand through his thinning comb-over and shakes his head sadly. “I feel partially responsible for the whole thing. One day, right before graduation I was conducting one of my standard 5am snap inspections. When Cadet Wild showed up to formation I saw that his BDU belt wasn’t regulation issue. Then, when I had the cadets pull up their pant legs I saw that he was wearing white socks. WHITE SOCKS!” The Major is clearly still troubled by the event, years later. “I pulled Cadet Wild to the side and explained to him why wearing white socks could get his men killed.” The man sighs, and opens a folder he has sitting on his desk. “Look at all these infractions. Failure to wear his TA-50 according to the SOP, missing drill and ceremony training for tutoring sessions with his military tactics instructor, failure to display proper military insignia in a PowerPoint brief!” The Major was also asked about Wild’s physical and leadership abilities. “Oh he was always working out. He was on the triathlon and boxing teams. Maybe if he had spent less time training and focused on the important things, like military protocol, marching, or uniform standards then maybe he would have become the officer I’d hoped for. Instead you get something like this,” Sutherland says, as he gestures with disgust at the printed out summary of the battle. When his isolated outpost was attacked in the pre-dawn hours, then-Lieutenant Wild and his platoon repelled the first wave, killing over 30 enemy fighters in the first few minutes of battle. Unfortunately, dust in the atmosphere, the position of the moon, and civilians within a 4,000 meter radius of the base prevented Close Air Support from being used to support the troops. Artillery was also denied for the same reasons. The next wave was able to overrun the outer perimeter, forcing Wild and the remnants of his shattered unit to engage the enemy in savage hand-to-hand combat. Reports from the ground confirm that he personally dispatched three enemy soldiers with his entrenching tool, before pushing his men to retake the breached walls of the compound. During the fighting Lieutenant Wild desperately pleaded for an exception to be granted to the fires restrictions, but the President was out golfing that morning and the required signature of a four-star general officer was unable to be obtained until after the fight had ceased. When the battle was over, the enemy had been beaten back, but many in Lieutenant Wild’s platoon had been mauled. This week, now-Captain James Wild and four of his soldiers received the Silver Star for their actions during the fight. Pictures taken after the battle and at the awards ceremony showed Wild wearing white socks. Major Sutherland did not offer any further comment on his most recent infraction. Bruce Metcalf says: April 16, 2014 at 3:11 AM When I was in ROTC, there was a kid that showed up for 0730 drill with yellow crew socks on. He was a guidon bearer, so he couldn’t have been more visible. When the cadet officer was chewing him out, he blamed it on having to choose them in the dark because he didn’t want to wake up his dorm roommate. I don’t know if he went beyond two years. Chuck Doofé says: March 17, 2014 at 7:24 PM Though fictional, this is far too close to the story of Captain Will Swenson. Took charge when all his peers and even superiors were bugging out or freezing up, and I have heard SNCOs no-shit criticizing him for his long hair and whatnot. Jim Laubler says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Far and Few between. Let’s hope the jackass Major is Far and Few between. That’s probably why he is at west point… he’s a hazard in combat! Michelle Dawn Lotz-Lynch says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM I refuse to believe that a lieutenant did anything remotely heroic…it was his fucking PSG and SQD Leaders, he just to the credit….lol Marion Swan says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM What the hell does an Air Defence officer know about war anyway – never met one who earned his pay anyway. Well done to Lt Wild and his brave “infantry” gang! Clayton H. Nagy says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Hilarious article aside, did you folks know you can attend West Point’s Combat Classic in Oct. and have a close-up view of our future leaders? The 6am wake up call is memorable too. Josh Noble says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Maybe he read this and got scared. http://duffelblog.wpengine.com/2012/08/outrage-army-announces-officer-promotions-to-be-based-on-merit-performance/ George F. Wible Jr. says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM hehe, white socks. Alex Stevenson says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM In a related story: A poll showed most officers who found this article amusing agreed with Professor Sutherland. Captain Jeffrey Dreamer was quoted as saying, “I love the duffel blog, their articles are hilarious! Like an officer with that level of personal discipline could do all that.” He continued to laugh. The interviewer watched the chuckling Captain in disbelief and began to explain. “Sir?” At last he decided against it. Jonn Lilyea says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Apparently, you guys don’t take seriously the expertise of an ADA officer who served in the 80s and 90s. They held back the Soviet hordes and maintained the protective umbrella over coalition forces in Desert Storm from Saddam Hussein’s mighty air armada (which was parked in Iran at the time, but, nevertheless…) Jerry Beingesser says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM These guys are outdoing themselves. LOL to the max. I never had the privilege of serving under West point Officer. But I have met friends that have. I think the first class the cadets take is don’t be chicken shit. Beau Chatham says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Brilliant! I’m sure he never received a “highly coveted” Blue Falcon Award during his tenure at Hudson High, either! Too bad…just the kind of warrior I’d like to be back-to-back with during a bar room brawl! Hooah CPT Wild….just freakin’ HOOAH! Anonymous says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM A better, truer article would be about the officers concerned with their OER’s, kissing ass and avoiding any situation that could make them look bad, versus those who step in, step up and lead when there is distinct possibility for failure while those hiding in the shadows try to make themselves look better by denigrating the chance-takers and real leaders of troops. I’ve seen it. Adam Paschal says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Its all about priorities. Adam Paschal says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Standard issue, I would hope this was not true… Scott Mayer says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM By the book officers (Castle Grey Skull types in particular), often and more readily have there heads taken off by the rules and regulations. This Captain Wild needs to become special forces or MI, and utilize his unorthodox methods of leadership in an environment where conformity though basic is not necessarily the order of the day. Thinking outside the box, pressing the conventional thinkers to making a decision and above all else think, instead of just react. This captain won the day because he did what he thought right, and the opinion of that west point major be damned. Dice Feathers Feng says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM obviously the then LT wild didn’t follow protocols and by not wrapping his COP with a giant reflective belt. if that had happened the taliban would’ve known he was a squared away soldier and surrender to our COIN strategy. David Cho says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM “Now serving as a professor of history at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, Sutherland speaks from his experiences as an AIR DEFENSE OFFICER from 1984 to 1995. His belief is that discipline and standards are of the highest importance to a good Army officer.”. Emphasis mine. The ADA part made me laugh…very heartily…laugh. I hate 2-1 ADA, nay, I hate ADA. Foff Off says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM nice hope the prez had a good round. Starr SK says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Yeah, like knowing where to go to get the generator back up to send the tracking reports wasn’t part of my NCOIC’s playbook in Baghdad. Mark Graebner says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM It’s Air Defence ARTILLERY… Daniel Barton says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Omfg this shit is funny…..funny becuase of the absolute truth behind the satire. Troy R. Stull says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM I was prior-enlisted with a deployment and tour in Korea by the time I started ROTC and this is all true. People who couldn’t qualify on a weapon, couldn’t pass land nav and couldn’t lead a patrol were always put in leadership positions because they’d bug the fuck out over wrong colored 550 cord at lay outs and no shit, males not having sports bras in their packs because the packing list included sports bras and no one thought to put ‘females only’ on a FTX packing list. Jo Jo Bubba Junior says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM A couple of dancers at Sparky’s Sports Bar on Bragg Blvd were talking about this guy Cpt Wild the other night. I guess he married one of their friends and she’s always bringing other girls from “the club” home to pick up the sex-slack because a concussion during violent combat has left him with a 24/7 priapism (persistent erection) that has him banging 8 or 9 girls a night. Rumor has it that he is the illegitimate son of John Kerry after a one-night-stand with a lesbian billionaire heiress who only banged Kerry for his political connections and then shucked him to the side like a worn out butt plug. Something about being a mega billionaire with a bigger sex appetite than the late Ted Kennedy keeps the dancing girls flocking to his harem for “favors.” Rumor has it that Cpt Wild is the only captain saluted by most generals…all but the gay ones who keep pestering him to switch hit. His wife’s only complaint is that his left eye keeps drifting toward the wall and he drools incessantly, other than that the guy is the perfect husband… His men love it when he picks up the tab at Sparky’s and say that they’d follow him to “hell and back” especially if hell is a strip club. Doc Tor Bop says: January 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM Yeah, I loved this story gentlemen and appreciate the wry sense of irony that goes with it! Keep up the excellent work~ God Bless YOU this Christmas and all through your time on this weary Planet! RainbowLover says: October 22, 2012 at 1:08 AM I think West Pointers are cute. I am glad DADT is gone hehe Jeremy says: September 24, 2012 at 9:31 PM ?* Jeremy says: September 24, 2012 at 9:30 PM People do get pretty heated in these forums. Why don’t we focus on how funny this work was. Paul says: October 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM Much appreciated. Humor is lost on some.. thanks for not being one of them. I Have A Mancrush On Kate Goselin's Uterus says: September 19, 2012 at 10:23 AM Kate Goselin’s Ute, the only thing better than your CAP comment was GC’s response to it. Oh, what I’d give to see him furiously typing it…well played, sir. Kate Gosselin's uterus says: September 20, 2012 at 6:25 PM Huzzah! Kate Gosselin's vulva says: September 25, 2012 at 7:21 AM Kate Gosselin’s uterus, we really need to have a chat about this whole ‘prolapse’ thing you’ve got going on. I mean, it’s not that I don’t love you, hun. We made a great pair in our youth, and no man with two brain cells to rub together could refuse us. We’ve shared the best of times and the worst. And you are still my BFF! I am so thankful for that! But lately you’ve been kinda crowding me out. I mean… *sigh* I’m sorry… What I mean to say is that I need some space. Can you scoot back up just a little bit, please? Kate Gosselin's uterus says: September 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM We’ve always been frenemies, and I have to admit that i’m really ‘wingman’ material. The boys always come for you first : ( Kate Gosselin's Asshole says: October 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM You know, if I had gotten just a fraction of the love you two squabbling bitches got, things woulda turned out differently….sigh. Fish says: September 14, 2012 at 11:19 PM Oh Kevin. We are again graced with your presence. Dave says: September 14, 2012 at 4:21 AM “Now serving as a professor of history at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, Sutherland speaks from his experiences as an AIR DEFENSE OFFICER from 1984 to 1995. His belief is that discipline and standards are of the highest importance to a good Army officer.” Emphasis mine. The ADA part made me laugh…very heartily…laugh. CPT 2003 says: September 14, 2012 at 6:50 AM and you know what’s funnier still – for want of a mission, the ADA was made the proponent for – wait for it – force protection – in 2003 just about the time OIFII was kicking off – what a hoot . . . Kevin P. McQuade says: September 14, 2012 at 7:19 AM Hey Capt, think giving these Young highly educated/motivated something they can use all that tech gear on might break the ice betwixt, say what they may consider my flyswatter aot their sitcom digital excellence? Here goes, attempting to bridge the gap: Giggle I mean GOOGLE : Sept 14 2012 turmoil in the middle east; Lubbock Avalanche-Journal article same story. Google: Lyrics to ” Lord Knows ” by Drake also ” Lord Knows ” by Ace Hood ( Lies about Who kept Who Down study history after civil war on civil rights/votes/Dems/Reps/Sens JFK,LBJ/NAACP/KKK) . Google: All statements/actions of mayor rahm emmanuel/chicago about and to gangs chick fa la lgbtjews christians Muslims by proxy/nation of islam/ chicago values. Google: All the kings horses and all the kings men and you may find a GANGSTA IN DA WHITE HOUSE! I hope this excursion into the realm of the Anal Retainers didn’t hurt me one bit! I didn’t feel a thing. Shame old folks have to wake up and DUMB DOWN to show how STUPID WE rrrnt RipWaxmaster says: September 14, 2012 at 10:03 AM Do you have any skills besides using the comments section as your personal shitter, Kevin? :/ QB says: October 19, 2012 at 8:12 PM I hope not. This is good enough. Kevin P. McQuade says: September 13, 2012 at 7:44 PM Ah yes, fond mammaries of going to the Different Mil Acads at the Holidays and just having a Real Fun Time as A Sgt. Having ALL THESE FUTURE O’S calling me sir! Assholes MY NAME AIN’T SIR! Cute little boogers though. Got taken off that duty though and all I said was ” I want two! One to Play with & One to Break!” that’s all it took and Fear ran Rampant through the Quads and up through channels on and into my fun time. I only slightly damaged a couple of um. What the big f’in deal. They got more than enough, stingy bastards. Broken UP FlyBoy miss my play pretties. They don’t even know Santa ain’t real. Been hearin talk bout that f’in E-Bunny too! Nick says: September 13, 2012 at 1:17 PM While I see what is article intended, and by no means am I advocating some of this stupid $^%& that went on at West Point, I like to think that any actual leader of Soldiers (officer or NCO) reading this would think of this a different way. Will white socks vs. boot socks get you killed…no, but why did he not have the correct ones? Did he simply like the way they felt better…I don’t like the way extra 60mm rounds feel in my ruck, I’m not going to take them? For that matter I’m not taking going to take any extra ammo, batteries, redundant coms or an extra set of NVGs for a night mission; all these things are heavy and I don’t like them. Maybe he did not have boot socks because all his socks were dirty and he did not have enough to last the week; or maybe he got up 5 minutes before formation and did not have time, all legit reasons. Why would I check my basic equipment? My fill never drops so I assume my coms will always work, my NVGs never run out of juice so no need to restock my batteries, I never use my medical supplies and if I get in a fight I’m such a stud that bullets will bounce off me. Also, why would I prep for inspections (rear combat) the night before? Having to get up quickly and react is unrealistic and I will always have hours to prep for inspection (combat/patrols). White socks aside, let’s talk about PT, drill and SOPs. Why would I ever need to wear the correct uniform, no one will never need to access my sweet kit but me, so screw SOPs. And drill with my unit, much more important that I make myself the biggest stud in the formation than that I work with my element. When I’m a PL I’m going to lead from the front, kill dude with my bare hands and set the example. I will never need to work with my unit for PT, discipline, or PCCs/PCCs. Why would I go to the range and practice marksmanship of my M-4 & M-9 when I can kill dudes with my bare hands; plus I can always deflect their bullets if they come at my from outside e-tool range. I see what is intended by this article but maybe, just maybe, there are some lessons to be learned from West Point that people did not realize….probably the same officer who’s Soldiers could care less about CIVCAS, who focus on PT down range, not COP defense, and who think discipline just happens without leadership supervision. CPT 2003 says: September 13, 2012 at 1:39 PM Now THAT is exactly the kind of deep thinking in a brother officer that I have come to expect from a graduate of the NY school for boys & girls! For the record, I do have the highest respect for your graduates – a shining example of among our best & brightest – I have also come to respect a number of your brothers who for whatever reason ‘spun the spurs’ and ended up with us at (name omitted to protect the innocent/guilty) another senior military college – but I digress – most of the bad officers find thier way out (or under the ALARACT – and yes, there was one of those in 2003) get retained for whatever reason . . . ImpliedConsent says: September 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM The ring-knockers in the in/around Alexandria must be absolutely FURIOUS! Damned shame. Aaryq says: September 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM CPT Wild must be a cousin or nephew of General Mattis. TWS says: September 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM I have it on good authority he’s Wiley Coyote’s grand nephew. Platoon Sergeant says: September 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM Finally an officer I can work with. Good job CPT Hunt. White socks? I am pretty sure that wasn’t the reason they were attacked. Nobody can really say, since we haven’t a copy of his OPORD, TACSOP. or FRAGO (maybe) . This professor is out of touch with today’s TTP’s. Scouts Out! Lt. Butero-Trinkejo says: September 13, 2012 at 5:26 PM I don’t know SFC, he may have had a Platoon Sgt that failed in teaching him the right way. I know for a fact that some Talib must have seen his white sock at some point and obviously thought that his outpost was a soft target easy for the taking. TWS says: September 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM Obviously this Lt Wild is out of control. Can you imagine the damage he’s done to COIN in the area? Ruthlessly beheading people with an entrenching tool is bound to have repercussions. How are we ever going to get them to accept our food, water, medicine, and other aid supplies? They’ll never be our friends now. I bet they even stop inviting us to ‘Sodomy Thursdays’. Those poor Afghans were probably just asking for directions to the nearest hospital for their sick children and mothers. Lt. Wild acted in disregard of all protocol when dealing with people just asking directions. They weren’t shooting at the outpost they didn’t have any flashlights, chem-lights, or torches with them and they just needed to see in the dark. Or perhaps they were celebrating a wedding, funeral, beheading, Thursday Sodomy night, or some other traditional Afghan event. Who knows? All we can say for sure is that they were not shooting at Lt. Wild and his outpost. His blatant disregard for protocol, good relations with our Afghan allies, and common sense has set back the mission in the area maybe permanently. Think of all the innocent Afghans he’s murdered, think of all the orphans he probably killed after he killed their parents first. When will this madness stop? His Academy professor was right. Lt. Wild’s disregard for well established procedure got many good Afghanis killed. The lesson here is ‘unpolished boots kill’ and anyone who would wear white socks cannot make a good officer. Chief says: September 13, 2012 at 11:21 AM Friggin West Point Major’s probably never been in a fight in his life because he can’t handle confrontation. This Chief Warrant salutes you CPT Wild. You don’t have to be a perfect West Point Grad to be an outstanding leader. Friggin White Socks! I love it! Hal Fulton says: September 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM Great, really great humor with a baseball bat……I’ve met some really great officers, some trade school grads and, as a lot of the AF pilots, are ROTC aka Right Off The Campus. I must point out that among others, LeMay and Doolittle and George Marshall were not academy types. Let’s face it, some officers literally scream to be made fun of. Kate Gosselin's uterus says: September 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM As a former Civil Air Patrol Junior Commander, I know a thing or two, heck even three, about leadership and while a West Pointer is a fine Soldier, nothing beats the leadership principles and theories of the proud Air Patrol. Huzzah! GC says: September 13, 2012 at 11:43 AM Are you kidding me?! Civil Air Patrol is NOT the military. Not even close. Schools like West Point, the Naval Academy, and Air Force produce REAL officers for the REAL military. Show anyone in those little jrotc units the actual theater of combat and they’ll sh*t their pants and cry. radglock says: September 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM GC, you are sorely mistaken. The finest officer warriors in the history of our nation have come from ranks of the Civil Air Patrol. From Generals Lee, Grant, Pershing, and Patton to LtGen Chesty Puller and Col Pappy Boyington, they all cut their teeth in CAP….hell that is where they gained most of their combat experience. It is extremely well documented that Civil Air Patrol members are, almost without exception, the first ones to arrive in a contingency operation. You need to seriously read up on your military history. CPT 2003 says: September 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM are you sure it was not the Legion of Frontiersmen or various State Guard or Militia organizations? Marine1970 says: September 17, 2012 at 5:37 PM Don’t knock the State Guard too much. Some of us were in the Marines until we got too old to keep up with you young basturds but we ain’t forgot one important thing. Don’t pick a fight with an old Marine, we don’t fight fair. Kate Gosselin's uterus says: September 13, 2012 at 4:19 PM CG, if that is your real name… I’m abhorred at your lack of knowledge about one of the finest fighting organizations in the world, as we all know that without the CAP there would not have been a D-day, V – J Day, or more recently our triumphant return to Kuwait. You sir, should read a thing or two and forgo your ideas of revisionist history! Lt. Butero-Trinkejo says: September 13, 2012 at 5:23 PM I once scoffed at the CAP, then I saw one of their finest call in an air strike for a jdam on a heavily entrenched Taliban fighting position. They are a hell of a fighting force! Mike says: October 19, 2012 at 8:38 AM I am a squadron commander in Civil Air Patrol and I can tell you CAP is a joke organization. Anyone that cites their CAP leadership experience on a military site is wrong. The military is a class in its own. CAP is not in the class. (CAP was created after WWII by the way and was used as a way to seek and destroy German subs. Generals Grant and Lee were not in CAP) Mike says: October 19, 2012 at 8:39 AM we are also barred from combat, so we never dropped any bombs in Iraq or Afghanistan Lt. Butero-Trinkejo says: October 20, 2012 at 4:58 PM You must not be in the Black Ops Cap squadron…too bad for you. TWS says: September 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM Hear, hear! I feel a tear coming on. *sniff* Kate Gosselin's Vulva says: October 20, 2012 at 5:07 PM We really need to talk about this distension thing you got going on, girlfriend. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to hang out with you. But lately you’ve been “hanging out” a little too much. Can you give me some space, please? I feel crowded. former Sgt O' Marines says: September 13, 2012 at 11:08 AM Marines to show respect for wilds’ hand to hand combat methods. Leave guns behind when going out on patrol. Squad leader says ” nothing is more satisfying…ripping a mans heart out….removing their eyes….tearing into a carotid artery…with your bare fuckin hands” Jerry says: September 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM I suspect you’re not a real Marine. A real marine would have tore into his carotid artery with his teeth. All the rest is true though. former Sgt O' Marines says: September 13, 2012 at 6:42 PM Hey now, im sure i didn’t just illusion up all that weed picking and vehicle washing. I was just keeping PG for all the little kiddos that might be reading.Lol! Jerry says: September 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM And then they would go to the porta shitter and jerk off before washing their hands, but that doesn’t excuse anyone from stealing my name! CPT 2003 says: September 13, 2012 at 9:42 AM In a related story, an ALARACT recently posted stating that due to the pending sequestration and the impending reduction in force of senior company grade and junior field grade officers, a serious shortage lieutenants is anticipated – therefore, effective immediately and until rescinded, all second lieutenants denied field promotion to first lieutenant will be retained . . . On hearing this joyous news, some company commanders were heard to say – “hmmmm – I have mixed feelings – kindof like seeing my ex drive over a cliff in my brand new maserati . . .” At least one battalion commander was heard to say “oh &$^% yeah – I want a whole herd of those in my line companies – just what the men need . . .” All that was heard from the barracks was a muted groan and a muffled “here we go . . .” TWS says: September 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM Well you’re probably stuck with the bill for the Maserati anyway so might as well enjoy it to the fullest. Wzrd1 says: September 16, 2012 at 3:57 AM That explains the recent uptick in suicide rates. Gomer says: September 13, 2012 at 9:26 AM Major Sutherland reminds me of some officers I served with. Major Major Major says: September 13, 2012 at 9:20 AM Excellent job, Major Sutherland. I remember SAMI well.