In 1979, a young Marine officer named Jim Webb penned a 7,000-word essay for Washington Magazine entitled, “Women Can’t Fight.”
Now, it’s come back to haunt him almost 40 years later.
A group of Naval Academy graduates have requested the alumni association reconsider an award expected to be given to Webb, who served as a Virginia senator and ran for president in 2016, because of the essay, reported The Capital Gazette.
"There is a place for women in our military, but not in combat,” Webb wrote in the article. “Their presence at institutions dedicated to the preparation of men for combat command is poisoning that preparation.”
Webb is expected to attended the alumni association’s Distinguished Graduate Award Ceremony, which recognizes alumni whose character exemplifies the values of the officer corps and have dedicated their lives to service.
When the essay resurfaced, Webb attempted to make amends through the release of a statement in a publication called The Capitol.
“Clearly, if I had been a more mature individual, there are things that I would not have said in that magazine article," Webb wrote. "To the extent that this article subjected women at the academy or the armed forces to undue hardship, I remain profoundly sorry.”
The decision by the Naval Academy Alumni Association to give its Distinguished Graduate Award to Webb was "a hit to the gut," wrote 1981 graduate and retired Cmdr. Laureen Miklos in an email to The Capital Gazette.
Miklos contacted the alumni association to express her concern that Webb's essay, which she says is still referenced by midshipmen, gives credence to students and officers alike who don’t believe women belong at the Naval Academy.
A 1968 graduate of the Naval Academy, Webb served as a rifle platoon and company commander in the Vietnam War. His valorous actions there earned him a Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts for injuries that ended his career. In 1977, he entered politics and served the state of Virginia.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
James Jackson, right, confers with his lawyer during a hearing in criminal court, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in New York. Jackson, a white supremacist, pled guilty Wednesday to killing a black man with a sword as part of a racist plot that prosecutors described as a hate crime. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 13. (Associated Press/Bebeto Matthews)
White supremacist James Jackson – accused of trying to start a race war by killing a homeless black man in Times Square with a sword — pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder as an act of terrorism.
A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army
A Texas veteran is suing the company he says knowingly produced and sold defective earplugs which were issued to the U.S. military, leading him and many others to develop hearing problems, including tinnitus.