I am a veteran. A proud member of the United States Air Force who served 20 years as a pilot and, eventually, a commander. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a day, whether during times of war or peace. Not a day.
I was motivated to enlist when Ronald Reagan was elected to be our commander-in-chief. He inspired me to serve. I was also born into a distinguished lineage of military service. Both grandfathers served, one in WWI and the other in WWII; four uncles served. And, most importantly, my father was a combat pilot, commander, and retired as an Air Force Major General. It’s a calling that is unique and incredibly rewarding. Or used to be.
Here’s the problem: I don’t recognize today’s U.S. military, nor would my dad. Once the most revered American institution, our military is under attack by radically progressive ideologies across all services and on all fronts under the guise of “Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity” and “Critical Race Theory.” The traditional, proven American military culture is being ripped to shreds.
Here’s another problem: the United States hasn’t won a war since WWII. On the current liberal Democrat glide path, we never will again. That fact, alone, should shake every American citizen to the core. It’s time to wake up.
The American military man and woman are not only fighting conflicts all over the globe but, sadly, their most challenging firefight is with the enemy within –Marxist, anti-American actors seeking to forever eliminate traditional military values, future success on the battlefield, with the ultimate aim to turn the American armed forces into a woke, progressive institution where everybody gets to play and take home a participation ribbon.
These destructive policies are being implemented by elected politicians in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and the increasingly politicized leaders in the Pentagon who have very little understanding of the purpose, culture, and necessities of the institution they are trying to change. The large majority of D.C. politicians have no military experience to reflect on nor do they have family members who can relate to them the devastating impacts their shortsighted social engineering efforts are having on the rank-and-file servicemember. What about Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and JCS Chairman Mark Milley, you ask? They’re political appointees who are working on their future consulting contracts and padding their wallets. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.
Thomas W. Spoehr, Director of the Center for National Defense, lays it out thusly:
Woke ideology undermines cohesiveness by emphasizing differences based on race, ethnicity, and sex. It undermines leadership authority by introducing questions about whether promotion is based on merit or quota requirements. It leads to military personnel serving in specialties and areas for they are not qualified or ready. And it takes time and resources away from training activities and weapons development that contribute to readiness.
In addition to undermining the martial nature of our men and women already in uniform, simply putting boots on the ground is proving difficult. The “woke” military culture is resulting in the worst recruiting numbers across the services in decades. For example, Army recruiting numbers are abysmal; in 2022 they only met 75 percent of their recruiting goal and will fall 15,000 new soldiers short. To “improve” the candidate pool, the Army has lowered its minimum physical fitness standards for a two-mile run from 19 to 23 minutes and push-ups to a whopping 10.
The Navy has turned to a drag queen, “Harpy Daniels,” to highlight its recruiting program in efforts to be more “inclusive” and open to LGBTQ+ applicant pools.
This is detrimental to military unit cohesion and readiness. It will transfer to defeat on the battlefield and in the skies. As a career Air Force officer and pilot with three adult military-aged children, I could not currently recommend military service for my kids. I would not support my children serving the current commander in chief nor the Pentagon political appointees Austin or Milley under these current policies and conditions.
My twenty years in uniform were some of the most gratifying years of my life to date. I served with some of the smartest, most motivated, patriotic people you could ever pray to work with. Men and women from every corner of the globe: all colors, ethnicities, religious beliefs, rich, poor, educated, uneducated…literally the melting pot America is known for. We were deployed, together, to conflicts all over the world, and it worked. I never cared who was on my wing or who was in my squadron – I’m there for you, you’re there for me. The Air Force mantra was “Fly. Fight. Win.” “This we will defend,” says the Army. The Navy motto is “Always courageous.” Hearts and lives depend on these commitments to selfless service.
Radical progressives are challenged with such devotion and seek to forever alter that dynamic. Selfless service is a difficult concept for them. Patriotism is bad and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” are good, a leftist would say.
Former Secretary of State and West Point grad Mike Pompeo recently wrote:
How can we ask young men and women who have decided to risk their lives for America, even die for America, to affirm that our country is inherently racist?
How can we ask them to view their brothers and sisters in arms through the narrow prisms of race and gender? The clear and obvious answer is that we cannot – not without putting their lives at risk on the battlefield. A woke military is a weak military. Unfortunately, woke and weak are exactly what our military is becoming under Biden’s leadership.
Our military is in trouble. It’s up to us, veteran and civilian alike, to right this ship before it’s too late.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Buzz Cut, by Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson United States Air Force (retired), is regularly a RedState VIP column, but this week’s edition is in front of the paywall. To enjoy all of the benefits of RedState VIP membership, subscribe today and use code AMERICAFIRST to receive 25% off.)