Bancroft Echoes

An online magazine of opinion and observations by United States Naval Academy Alumni

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor should be submitted to [email protected].

Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 20:49:33 -0500 (EST)
From: john calande <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Dear editor; I was pleased to find out about the existence of Bancroft Echoes. It is important for alumni to have a forum to express concerns and ideas about our Naval Academy. Although there may not be any official status to our input, the articles will at a minimum carry the status of words from those "who have been there". It is us who can best provide the feedback on how our training to be combat leaders for the United States Navy turned out. If we were lacking in any way because of our military training at the academy, we are the ones best qualified to provide this feedback. The forum provided by Bancroft Echoes is a fine place to do this and I hope all will participate. We must keep our school strong in the areas of mental, moral, ethical leadership development for military combat leadership. That is what makes us different and a viable organization needed by our country. There isn't any other place to get this training needed by the midshipmen.
j. j. calande 63

Editor's Note: Thanks j.j.. I would like to point out to all that j.j.'s letter clearly addresses a legitimate use of this forum, but I would also like to point out that alumni submissions for publication can be on any topic under the sun and are not restricted to discussions of our Alma Mater.

Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 02:55:23 -0800
From: Name Withheld
To: [email protected]
Subject: Deputy 'Dant's Messages

Dear Friends of the Naval Academy:

After reading the two messages the Deputy 'Dant sent to the Brigade--one about drinking, and the other about tattoos, I am glad Capt. Farrell is on watch.

We all probably took a regret or two away from Annapolis. For me, the Deputy's message about drinking reminded me that I didn't even know what my regret was until years later.

Lou Gehrig was the "luckiest man in the world," but I think I may be a close second.

When I was 16 or 17, I had the "good luck" of having an accident when I was DUI. The last thing I saw in my headlights was a woman pushing a baby carriage. God obviously was smiling on me, however; instead of blundering into a murder conviction, I was merely knocking down a billboard promoting a new subdivision.

My good luck was to have been so shaken by the incident, that I have chosen not to drink and drive since.

My regret is that I was not a good enough leader of my peers at the Naval Academy to pass on the lesson I had been given.

My classmates from my company--many of whom will be able to identify me from the situation I relate--can appreciate my heavy regret. Several years afer graduation, we lost one of our brightest and funniest to DUI.

When I saw my friends at the Academy getting ready for road trips by filling up their coolers, my exhortations about drinking and driving fell on disinterested ears. Instead of finding a better way to get the point across, in my own mind I blamed THEM for not listening to ME!

Although I know bettter now, I'm not fooling myself into thinking that I could have changed my friend's habits, and I don't wear a hair shirt and blame myself for what happened. But sometimes I cannot help but wonder if those 5 people might be alive today, if I had just spent a little more effort to LEAD instead of attempting to bully and shame my friends into doing what was right.

I suspect from the tone of the Deputy's messages--disarming, but clear and uncompromizing on the ethical issue at hand--that he is helping to cultivate a crop of capable leaders who understand the lesson I did not learn until I was an Ensign.

Name Withheld

Opinions expressed in Bancroft Echoes are solely those of their respective authors and do not reflect the opinion of Homeport, the United States Navy, the United States Naval Academy, or the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association. See the Editorial Policy for submission information.