Former Senator Jim Webb last night announced he would not be accepting a Naval Academy Alumni Association award because of recent protests from other alumni. At first, I thought Webb, whom I always respected as a military officer and politician (if that’s at all possible), had done something egregious, causing his fellow Naval Academy alumni to consider him undeserving of the award. And then, I find out that the “protest” was lodged by a horde of females because of an essay Webb wrote nearly 40 years ago.
That’s right. Apparently in the eyes of these shrews, Mr. Webb doesn’t deserve an award that honors lifetime service to the country, personal character, and significant contributions as leaders in business or government, because of an article he wrote nearly 40 years ago, claiming women shouldn’t serve in combat.
Now, this isn’t a debate about whether women can fight or not. It’s a completely separate issue here. I can see comments getting contentious already, so I’m saying this up front. In those days, the view that women have no place in combat was not an uncommon one. Women in many developed nations did not begin to integrate into combat roles until the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Germany opened all combat units to women in 2001, resulting in increased recruitment for female soldiers. By 2009, 800 female soldiers were serving in combat units.
The Australians didn’t start integrating women into combat roles until 2011.
A British Ministry of Defense study in 2010 concluded that women performed the same as men in land combat roles.
Israel and Denmark started exploring these options early – and by “early,” I mean in the mid- to late-1980s. In 1985, Norway became the first country to allow women in combat, but few of them were attracted by the opportunities.
Whether or not you agree with this report is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion. Whether or not I agree with it is also beside the point. The point is that Jim Webb wrote an article stating his opinion that women do not belong in combat roles in 1979, when such views were nothing uncommon, and the raging, squealing shrews who represent today’s “feminism” are now claiming that his lifetime of service has been invalidated, because he wrote something which they disagree nearly 40 years ago, when most other military leaders agreed with him.
But let’s put all that aside for a moment. Let’s pretend Jim Webb is a misogynist beast, who wants to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, making sammiches for men. From what I gather, he is no such thing, but for the purpose of this exercise, let’s just say he is. The question is: does he deserve the United States Naval Academy Distinguished Graduate Award?
The Distinguished Graduate Award (DGA) program started as a concept first envisioned by Rear Admiral Ronald F. Marryott, USN (Ret.), Class of 1957, when he was president and CEO of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association. Rear Admiral Robert McNitt, USN (Ret.), Class of 1938, helped develop the concept to its current structure. The Alumni Association’s Board of Trustees approved the DGA proposal and in May 1998 the selection committee met under the chairmanship of Admiral Carlisle Trost, USN (Ret.), Class of 1953 to determine the nominating process. Distinguished Graduates are the embodiment of what we strive to achieve in the U.S. Naval Academy’s mission:
“To develop midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.”
As an institution, we honor our Distinguished Graduates because of their:
- Demonstrated and unselfish commitment to a lifetime of service to our nation
- Personal character which epitomizes the traits we expect in our officer corps
- Significant contributions as Navy and Marine Corps officers, or as leaders in industry or government
Each of them serves as a beacon, lighting the way for our midshipmen as they begin to chart their naval careers. They also serve by example to motivate those alumni serving in the Fleet and Fleet Marine Corps. Our midshipmen can take away much from learning about our distinguished graduates. All the Distinguished Graduates honored – lived the traits of lifetime commitment to service, personal character and distinguished contributions to our nation.
Does Jim Webb check the boxes?
He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968 and received the Superintendent’s Letter for Outstanding Leadership.
He was a combat veteran, who graduated first in his class from the Marine Corps Officer Basic School, earned the Navy Cross for heroism in Vietnam, has a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts, and was medically retired from the Marine Corps due to injuries received in Vietnam. Whatever else he may be, there’s no denying Webb is a war hero.
He graduated from Georgetown Law School with a JD, where he received the Horan Award for excellence in legal writing.
Webb worked as a staffer on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and also as an attorney represented veterans pro-bono.
Webb 1984-87 served as the nation’s first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and was the first Naval Academy graduate to serve as the civilian head Navy Secretary in 1987.
And, let’s not forget that while the perpetually offended harpies are still crying about an article Webb wrote nearly 40 years ago, other females who served honorably, defended him – even back in 2006 when he was running for the Senate.
“He recognizes the crucial role that women have in the armed forces today, and the sacrifices that they’re making alongside their male counterparts in the toughest assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said retired Army Lt. Col. Kate Wilder, a Democratic activist.
The military women yesterday said the television ads Mr. Allen is airing that criticize Mr. Webb for writing a 1979 magazine article questioning a woman’s place in the U.S. Naval Academy are “powerful” but “bogus.”
“American military women have moved beyond Jim Webb’s … article,” Navy Capt. Barbara Brehm said.
The military women yesterday stressed that Mr. Webb’s point of view 27 years ago mirrored the sentiment that most men held at that time. They also think that Mr. Webb’s perspective changed, saying that in 1987 Mr. Webb opened more operational positions for women in the military than any other Navy secretary in history.
Wait… that sounds familiar. Didn’t someone closely resembling me say exactly this above?
In a characteristic show of class, which is something I’ve seen several times from Jim Webb, he declined to accept the award. “I am being told that my presence at the ceremony would likely mar the otherwise celebratory nature of that special day, and as a consequence I find it necessary to decline to accept the award,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kelly Henry, a 1984 Naval Academy graduate, wrote the letter to the alumni association asking the organization rescind Webb’s award, instead of graciously accepting her hollow victory, decided to double down on the cunt. After hearing his announcement Tuesday night, Henry said she was “absolutely stunned that he did the right thing,” as if she personally knew Webb to be a first class jerk with no honor or integrity – something I have never heard from anyone who has met him or worked with him.
Henry claimed Webb’s essay was highly-circulated while she was in Annapolis and it caused “harm” to many of her classmates, but interestingly enough didn’t have problems herself, so her offense is really on behalf of others. (On a related note, the other day a friend told me he saw a bunch of Black Lives Matter protesters downtown – all white kids.) Let’s also not forget that at the time, women at the Naval Academy were still a very new thing. The first class only graduated in 1980, and change, in general, is never easy, so laying the blame on Webb’s shoulders for the ostensible difficulties faced by a batch of brand new mids at the Academy for an article he published that likely reflected the common views of the times, is a stretch.
“The women will tell you that article was like throwing gasoline on the fire,” she said.
Henry said she was one of the “lucky” ones during her time at the academy and was in a company that welcomed the female mids. She said she was surprised to see Webb honored with the award, since 2016 marked the 40th year of women attending the Naval Academy.
She attended the academy’s celebration in the fall.
“At that celebration I felt we were embraced in the community,” Henry said. “We are no longer seen as something that tainted it, but now to see this? It completely takes away that feeling.”
So she was triggered by the Academy honoring a man who has dedicated his life to service, and who as Navy Secretary helped implement policies that actually created more opportunities for women in the service, because of an article he wrote in 1979, and when he graciously declined the award, because he didn’t want to mar the celebration with controversy, she went on to malign his character by claiming she was “stunned” that he did the right thing.
Really? Class. Do you haz it?
I may not like his politics. I may think he’s sometimes a petulant child, careening between political parties after they do something of which he disapproves. But do I consider him someone who is undeserving of an award that recognizes graduates who have “personal character which epitomizes the traits we expect in our officer corps” and have made “significant contributions” as officers or leaders in industry or government, all because he held and published a commonly-held view 40 years ago that is no longer popular? No.
I’m just not that petty.
Kelly Henry and her Sisterhood of the Glittery Hoo Ha apparently have long memories and embrace and nurture their grudges like Gollum embraces his precioussssssss.