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Guy Who Attended West Point For A Few Months In The 90s Insists He’s An Army Veteran
Here’s a question I’m sure our readers will have no problem answering: If a person attends the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, drops out after less than two years, and never spends a day on active duty, is he or she a veteran?
The answer is, of course, yes. Or at least according to Scott R. Blake, a former employee of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and resident of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, who attended — but never graduated from — West Point in the early 90s.
In fact, Blake is so certain of his veteran status that not only did he try to invoke veterans’ preference when he applied for a special investigator job with his home state in 2014, but he also filed an appeal with with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania after the Civil Service Commission denied him that preference, according to Penn Live.
Blake argued in his appeal that the Army basic training he completed as a cadet, combined with the classes he attended at the academy, qualified him as a member of active duty. And he won. As Penn Live reports, in February 2016, Pennsylvania judges overturned the commission’s denial, concluding that Blake met the definition of a “soldier” under federal law.
Technically, the judges judged correctly. West Point is, after all, where cadets go to learn how to be officers in the Army, and people who serve in the Army are called “soldiers.” And indeed, according to federal law, the term “active duty” applies to anyone serves on “full-time duty as a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy,” or at any of the other military service academies.
However, Blake’s veteran status was short lived. The Civil Service Commission appealed the Common Court ruling, and, on July 25, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court overturned it, instantly transforming Blake back into just a regular dude from Pennsylvania who once got really, really close to joining the Army, but didn’t.
“We conclude that the General Assembly did not intend to bestow a veteran’s preference to someone who was a cadet at a military academy, but never obligated himself to perform, or otherwise undertook, any subsequent military service,” Justice Christine Donohue wrote in the Supreme Court opinion.
Blake attended West Point from July 1991 to January 1993, and then transferred to a civilian college. Donohue acknowledged Blake’s short-lived service as a scholar of war, but noted that he didn’t stay at the academy long enough to, as Penn Live reports, “incur an obligation to serve in the army as an officer or as an enlisted man.”
“Blake went to college,” Donohue wrote. “He did not serve in the armed forces of the United States and thus he is not a ‘solider’. He is not entitled to receive a veterans’ preference when applying for civil service jobs in this commonwealth.”
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 556mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
VISTA —An Iraq war veteran who said he killed a stranger in Oceanside at the behest of a secret agency that controlled his brain was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The sentence for Mikhail Schmidt comes less than a month after a Superior Court jury in North County found Schmidt guilty of first-degree murder of Jacob Bravo, a stranger that Schmidt spotted, followed and stabbed to death on March 8, 2017.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Strongsville woman convicted of fleecing an ailing Korean War veteran out of much of his life savings was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.
Latasha Wisniewski, 38, feigned a sexual interest in Charles Bauer in late 2017 by taking the 88-year-old widower to a plastic surgeon's office and asking him to pay for breast implants. She then withdrew more than $140,000 from Bauer's accounts over the following months, according to court records.
Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.
No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.