WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO WEST POINT?
WORKER IN DEAN'S OFFICE PLEADS GUILTY TO
MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR FRAUD - GENERAL'S
SON BUSTED FOR DRUG DISTRIBUTION - RETIRED
COLONEL AND WEST POINT GRAD GETS PRISON
ON SEX CHARGES - WEST POINT MAJ FROM CLASS
OF 1997 ARRESTED FOR PRODUCTION OF CHILD
PORNOGRAPHY - COL "NO COMBAT" COLPO (THE
"CHAIRBORNE RANGER") MADE CHIEF-OF-STAFF
A lot has changed since West Point heroes Douglas MacArthur, George Patton and Omar Bradley walked the hallowed halls of the United States Military Academy.
The latest blot on West Point's once-sterling reputation has come with a guilty plea from Bobbie C. Ryan, trusted employee in the Dean's office, who admits she embezzled almost $3 million for her own personal use.
The 51 year-old Highland Falls, New York woman admitted she diverted payments from West Point to a dummy corporation she set up - CWG Enterprises of New Windsor, N.Y. - for "training" that never took place.
Ryan used $2.9 million worth of purchase cards to scam the huge sum of money.
The former coordinator of information technology training programs at USMA faces up to 40 years in prison and a $5.8 million fine when she is sentenced in federal court next February.
ARE THE STANDARDS FOR CADETS TOO LOW?
But Ryan isn't the only crook or corrupt person up there on the Hudson. In the past year, we have seen a general's son and cadet busted for drug use and distribution; a West Pointer and retired colonel (Warren Crecy Jr.) sent to prison for 15 years on child sex charges; and most recently, Maj. Daniel Woolverton, Class of 1997, arrested by the FBI for allegedly using his own infant child in the production of a child-porn video.
What is going on? Why the shocking incidents? Has the standard for cadets been lowered too much, or is it just "a sign of the times?" The military, after all, generally mirrors the state of our society. And today, things are pretty bad on the outside.
Just by having a chief-of-staff like recently-retired Col. Mike "NO COMBAT" Colpo, the "Chairborne Ranger," is an embarrassment to fighting men and women everywhere and an indicator that "cronyism" isn't dead at West Point.
WE GIVE "NO COMBAT" COLPO THE "COMBAT AVOIDANCE RIBBON"
Here we are at war on two fronts, with dozens of West Point graduates already killed fighting for our country, and the "powers that be" could not find even one decorated combat veteran in the rank of full colonel to sit in what was Colpo's comfortable chair?
The controversial former garrison commander and chief-of-staff at Carlisle Barracks wears very few ribbons on his chest because he never went anywhere, except Fort Wainwright, Alaska. In 30 years of active duty, Colpo never once did a real overseas tour, much less "go into harm's way."
Since he was Infantry Branch, airborne qualified, and somehow made it through Ranger training, one would think the taxpayers might ask for part of his tuition back. The colonel must have liked clean sheets and hot coffee, he was in the rear with the gear so much. How can you be a West Point graduate, combat arms, and somehow avoid a shooting zone since 1978?
It looked so bad for him, we finally awarded politician Colpo another ribbon to add to his paltry few. It was the CAR. No, not "combat action ribbon," but the combat AVOIDANCE ribbon. The decoration's color is YELLOW, except for a strip of "red" on each end, that for the blood of others who dared to risk their lives in our nation's service. They made the ultimate sacrifice.
Colpo got to retire on a fat pension after a danger-free three decade ride on "the gravy train." We wonder if he can look in the mirror in the morning and respect who he sees?