West Point’s decision on female cadets’ Black power photo will make you proud

Unidentified female cadets at the USMA at West Point (Photo Source: West Point)
Unidentified female cadets at the USMA at West Point (Photo source: West Point)

The United States Military Academy known as West Point has been embroiled in a controversy over a photo. The photo of 16 Black female cadets raising their fists in what some are calling a Black power salute and others a salute to the Black Lives Matter movement resulted in an official Army investigation over the cadet’s actions. Overt displays of political expression while in uniform are frowned upon by the armed forces and many were out to see these young women discharged from the military. That would have been a tragedy as the cadets are set to graduate next week and become 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Rolling out was contacted by West Point officials and sent the following press release:

“The U.S. Military Academy announced today that no punitive action will be taken after an inquiry concluded that 16 cadets who appeared in a photograph with raised fists did not violate Department of Defense or Army regulations.” The inquiry concluded that the photo was among several taken in the spur-of-the-moment. It was intended to demonstrate “unity” and “pride,” according to the findings of the inquiry. In addition to concluding there was no violation of DOD Directive 1344.10, the findings state, “that based upon available evidence none of the participants, through their actions, intended to show support for a political movement.”

“As members of the Profession of Arms, we are held to a high standard, where our actions are constantly observed and scrutinized in the public domain,” said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr., academy superintendent, in a letter. “We all must understand that a symbol or gesture that one group of people may find harmless may offend others.  As Army officers, we are not afforded the luxury of a lack of awareness of how we are perceived.”

The young ladies are now clear to graduate and pursue their military dreams, after leaving the prestigious institution.  According to the press release:

“The U. S. Military Academy at West Point is a four-year, co-educational, federal, liberal arts college located 50 miles north of New York City. It was founded in 1802 as America’s first college of engineering and continues today as the world’s premier leader-development institution, consistently ranked among top colleges in the country. Its mission remains constant — to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.”

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