MRFF Advisory Board Member Brig. Gen. USAF (Ret) Marty France Op-Ed: Weak Links in the United States Air Force Academy’s Long Blue Line

As U.S. Air Force Academy graduates, we condemn the eruption of right-wing white supremacy violently disrupting and intimidating elected representatives and staff at the U.S. Capitol. It is particularly distressing that fellow graduate, Lt. Col. (Ret) Larry Rendall Brock, Jr, is accused by police of participating in the event that terrorized Congress, the very body that nominated him for an appointment to the Academy. We urge leaders at the Academy and Association of Graduates to condemn any graduates involved with the insurrection.

It should not surprise anyone that calculated deception about electoral irregularities fueled this desecration of the U.S. Capitol. This included false accusations from newly elected House representative and Academy graduate August Pfluger (R-TX).

Brock’s family members reported to The New Yorker that in recent years he has expressed white-supremacist views and traveled to Washington “willing to get in trouble to defend what he thinks is right.” In what appears to be a video of Brock on the floor of the Senate, he was recorded advocating for information warfare during the insurrection, and the FBI subsequently arrested him.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff rightfully condemned the violence and cited the military’s support for the rule of law; however, they stopped short of addressing the unacceptable and growing fire of bigotry, racism, and home-grown extremism within our ranks.

A survey last year by the newspaper Military Times reported that 36% of active-duty military members have personally witnessed examples of white nationalism and racism within the ranks of the military, including stickers supporting the KKK and Nazi-style salutes. In February, 2020, the House Armed Services Committee held a Subcommittee on Military Personnel Hearing: “Alarming Incidents of White Supremacy in the Military — How to Stop It?”

The Southern Poverty Law Center Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks stated in her testimony, “Because servicemembers often possess unique training and capabilities, those who are indoctrinated into white supremacist ideology may represent a significant threat to national security and the safety of our communities.” It is clear this was on full display at the Capitol, and rooting out these perverted ideologies among current and former members of the armed forces represents an urgent matter of the highest degree.

We are also aware via social media of other Academy graduates attending the insurrection, including a former Cadet Wing Commander. While we have no evidence that any other than Brock crossed barriers or may have violated the law, the mere presence of Academy graduates sporting Air Force garb posting smiling selfies at one of the most notorious events in our nation’s history should be concerning to all graduates. We call on any graduate that attended the event to disavow the lawless behavior of others and the incitement by our 45th president and his co-conspirators.

It is clear from the actions of these graduates that the Academy must look within (as should the entire military) to better ascertain the “how and why” we have produced extremists among our graduates that would threaten the republic and Constitution to which we all swore an oath. Perhaps focusing an upcoming National Character and Leadership Symposium, our Academy’s flagship event on character and leadership, on this subject would be appropriate.

In conclusion, we the undersigned, condemn the actions of Brock and all others that may have been involved in this heinous act and call on the entire Academy graduate community to do the same.

Sincerely,

Dr. David Corpman, Class of 2010
Martin E France, Brig Gen, USAF (ret), Class of 1981

With the following graduates co-signed ​(original)​:

Richard Rauschkolb, Col, USAF (ret), Class of 1970
Irv Halter, Maj Gen, USAF (ret), Class of 1977
Michael G. Donatelli, LtCol, USAF (ret), Class of 1979
Richard S. Haddad, Maj Gen, USAF (ret), Class of 1981
Randy Worrall, Class of 1981
Kathryn L Smith, Class of 1982
Jeffrey Quiggle, Class of 1987
Dr. Brian H. Williams, Class of 1991
Luis Linares, Class of 1994
Jennifer Parenti, Lt Col, USAF (ret), Class of 1995
Rep. Casey Weinstein, Class of 2004
Christian Evans, Class of 2008
Dr. Shankar Kulumani, Class of 2009
Berkley Davis, Class of 2010

Since the original publication of this guest column, the following USAFA graduates have added their names as co-signers:

W. Neil McCasland, Maj Gen, USAF (ret), Class of 1979
Roni Yadlin, Class of 2009
Joy Johnson, Class of 2013
Loyd Bradley, Class of 2014
C. Dave Tuck, Colonel, USAFR (Ret)
Deborah Ings, Class of 1985
Clyde Cross II, Class of 2006
Bonita Allen, Class of 2005
Precious Alexander, Class of 2005
Michael L “Mikey” Weinstein, Class of 1977
Jordan L. Armstrong, Class of 2020
Ryan Freaney, Class of 2007
Robert Wolfe, Lt Col (Ret), Class of 1999
George Keys, Class of 1970
Dr. Greg Woodhead, Class of 1970
Eric Morrow, Lt Col (ret), Class of 1993
Ryan Kappedal, LtCol (Ret), Class of 1999
Melissa Hughes, Class of 2008
Stephanie Soltis, Class of 2001
Paul Ferguson, Class of 1999
Joshua Quinn, Major, Class of 2005
Michael A. Cox, Col, USAF (ret) Class of 1981
Diane Juhas, Class of 1980
David Maher, Lt Col (ret), Class of 1978
Robert Levinson, Lt Col, USAF (ret), Class of 1987
D. M. Smalenberger, PhD, Class of 2006
Diane Zorri, Class of 2001
Tino Dinh, Class of 1999
Teresa Paquelet-Brown, Class of 1983
Wayne Brown, Class of 1982
Jameson Locklear, Class of 2006
Kevin Puri, Class of 2019
Kirsten (Veatch) Carlson, Class of 1999
Randall Chavez, Class of 2009
Tim Parker, Lt Col, CTANG (Ret), Class of 1978
Adam DeRito, Class of 2010
Cristina Pawlica, Class of 2010
Dexter R Handy, Lt Col, USAF (ret) Class of 1981
Marianne Lawson Rommerdahl, Class of 2004
Celina DuVall, Class of 2007
Patty Bear, Class of 1986
Ayana Tuchscherer, Class of 2007
David Beranek, Class of 2012
Thomas Space, Class of 1999
Katherine L Waddel, Class of 2012
David S Chui, Captain, USAF (Ret), Class of 2015
Ryan D Bruns, Class of 2015
Paul Schnoes, Class of 1981
Doug Sander, Class of 1982

 


 

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