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Old 04-23-2008   #1
Granite_State
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Default Army Safety Caleb Campbell - NFL Bound?

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/...60647&n8pe6c=2

"As much as I support our soldiers, if you don't have to be one, I would suggest you not be one." Found that pretty galling. Thoughts on West Point's policy?
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Old 04-23-2008   #2
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Default Blame the sin not the sinner

I have a somewhat unique perspective on life at service academies... I was once a zoomie, but left before incurring a committment because I had some reservations about the whole cadet system... Later I enroled in Army ROTC was commission RA and later taught at USMA. I recently retired...

I saw pieces of the special on ESPN last night and looked at my wife who had a frown. When asked why, she responded that she didn't care that USMA had a Division I Football Program... He was appraised of his choices, and that he made a choice two years prior. I tend to agree with my wife, she possesses more wisdom than I.

However, I find far more fault with the Academy and the thinking behind the loophole. Some ideas are eternal, the underpinning ethic of service to nation is among the first of many that USMA is supposed to nurture in Cadets. That fact that USMA may get a better recruiting class and benefit from some short term PR gains do not favorably compare.

Hey, he's 21-22 years old being offered a chance to play NFL football, the shame is no so much that he's opting for a chance at fame and fortune. Rather its that USMA forgot one of its core values.

That's all I have to say about that..

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Old 04-23-2008   #3
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We could speculate on the pro prospects of guys with names like Blanchard, Davis, Pete Dawkins and Bill Carpenter . I seem to remember a guy named Mike Silliman getting drafted out of USMA by the Knicks, back in the 60s--he did his obligation first as I remember. Also a certain Navy hoop star did at least a hand wave at being a Naval Supply Officer while double dipping in the NBA honey pot. And then of course there is this:
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Roger Thomas Staubach. . .1963 Heisman Trophy winner. . . Four-year Navy service preceded pro play. . .Noted for last-minute heroics, guided Dallas to four NFC titles, Super Bowl VI, XII wins. . .MVP in Super Bowl VI. . .All-NFC five years . . .Career stats: 22,700 yards, 153 TDs passing; 2,264 yards, 20 TDs rushing. . .83.4 NFL passer rating best ever at time of retirement. . .Four-time NFL passing leader. . . Born February 5, 1942, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Old 04-23-2008   #4
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It's no mystery that the ARMY produces the best disciplined athletes, bar none. And, we consistently kick the Navy's Alpha every year (even bowling on base ).

But, are these the kind of folks prepared for armed duty we'd like by our side when the Sierra hits the fan ?

Perhaps the Alternative Professional Option is a good idea after all.

Quote:
Army cadet-athletes now have options to pursue professional athletic opportunities thanks to the U.S. Army’s Alternative Service Option program. If cadet-athletes are accepted into the program, they will owe two years of active service in the Army, during which time they will be allowed to play their sport in the player development systems of their respective organizations and assigned to recruiting stations. If they remain in professional sports following those two years, they will be provided the option of “buying out” the remaining three years of their active-duty commitment in exchange for six years of reserve time.
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This reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons in which Bart has a vision of the future. In this vision, Lisa has been elected President and needs to raise taxes due to a budget emergency. Fearing the unpopularity of a tax increase, she decides to call it a “refund adjustment.” “Alternative service” is the same kind of euphemism. Let’s be real, here; playing ball full-time for two years while shaking hands at a couple of recruiting events isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when people think “service.”
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Old 04-23-2008   #5
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I'm an old grad myself, and my first reaction was negative. Even as a dyed-in-the-wool Army football fan, it seems a little distasteful that the institution would prostitute itself for the sake of a few more wins on the field, or that the taxpayers would foot the considerable bill for educating the Falcon's next cornerback. Moreover, there are cadets who are world-class fencers, musicians, etc., who don't get the opportunity to pursue their dreams by getting out of their active duty obligations.

But...I don't think the guys in charge at the Academy have lightly made this program available to athletes, or that they did it simply to win football games. I believe they think this will raise public awareness of the Academy, that winning football actually does increase the quality of the incoming classes and encourages many to apply who might not otherwise have done so, and that it will benefit the Army in the long run. If they are right - and it's a big if in my mind - then it will be worth losing the services of two or three lieutenants every year.

In the 19th century it was not uncommon for Academy grads to go directly into civilian life; the purpose of the Academy was different then, and maybe it's time to rethink its ultimate purpose now.
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Old 04-24-2008   #6
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Default Respectfully agree to disagree

Eden,
I appreciate your thoughtful response and could nod my head through much of the logic...

- Losing 2-3 2LTs per year will not make a big dent in that year groups population.
- Yes this will raise awareness of the academy.
- Back in the day some grads went straight into civilian life, but its role has changed.

Concur on all... but

- Service to nation as a cornerstone ethic has not changed, and this is, if not a nation, an Military at War.
- Not sure that the awareness this type of attention gains is the image the Academy needs. Unlike pop culture icons, not all publicity is good publicity.
- The Academy has changed, despite its most nostalgic yearnings, it is no longer a hard science institution (sorry AOG). USMA provides a liberal arts education to its graduates - and that is dead on what its graduates require to lead in the contemporary environment.

I am not a wax nostalgic about the good ole traditions of Hudson High, but the last core ethic that the Academy should bend away from is its mission to graduate leaders committed to life of service to the Nation. Some things should remain non-negotiable - this is one.

This policy is a BAD decision.

There is an aporpo saying that you can't blame a dog for being dog... Well you can't blame a 21 yr old for being a 21 yr old, I think Caleb Campbell will regret this decision. The USMA education does not end on Miche Field on a Spring Day, it continues as they struggle to apply the lessons they learned.

Funny, I usually become less riled about a topic as time passes... This one just makes me more disappointed by the hour.

That's really all I have to say about that.

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Old 04-24-2008   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eden View Post
In the 19th century it was not uncommon for Academy grads to go directly into civilian life; the purpose of the Academy was different then, and maybe it's time to rethink its ultimate purpose now.
True, but this had more to do with the state of the Army at the time than any conscious decision on the part of the Academy. Graduates took brevet rank, and had to wait (often for extended periods) for a vacancy in a regiment to occur. They could be assigned in brevet rank, though. In other cases it was opportunists who took the education and then resigned as soon as it was practical to do so.

West Point in the 19th century often found itself forced to defend its very existence, as there was some popular resentment and suspicion directed at ANY standing military organization, let alone a "mini-Prussia" sitting on the Hudson...
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Old 04-24-2008   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
There is an aporpo saying that you can't blame a dog for being dog... Well you can't blame a 21 yr old for being a 21 yr old, I think Caleb Campbell will regret this decision. The USMA education does not end on Miche Field on a Spring Day, it continues as they struggle to apply the lessons they learned.
I remember walking by a stone as I walked out of Army home football games on Saturdays (usually after witnessing another drubbing at the hands of some major college power like Cincinnati or Worcester Tech). That stone had a bronze plaque on it with the following quotation from MacArthur:
Quote:
On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fields will bear the fruits of victory.
With all of the big time sports infrastructure improvements at USMA around what used to be the greensward called Howze Field (not to mention places like Shea Stadium, Doubleday Field and Target Hill Field (aka North Athletic Field), I wonder if that stone is still there. If it is, I wonder whether the Army Athletic Association (AAA) staff makes use of it to remind its young student atheletes that they are officer candidates first and foremost.
Cadets draw a paycheck and get an education for free because the nation expects them to "provide for the common defense" as the Preamble to the Constitution says.
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Old 04-24-2008   #9
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Default Here Here

Agree WM

Just can't figure out why USMA would decide to build a way out for grads... If for no other reason, just the wrong message to send to the Corps
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Old 04-30-2008   #10
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Default I was good with him going - until I saw this:

In today's New York Times:

"An Officer and a Linebacker for the N.F.L."

Quote:
“I’ve heard stories about what’s gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Campbell said. “In another sense, the N.F.L. is just as much pressure. You’re out there to take somebody’s job. In terms of coaches can’t cut me? We’re talking about the N.F.L. here. This is a cutthroat business.”
He obviously didn't pay attention at USMA between football practice. Ok, place him in BOLIC and on the next bird to Iraq or Afghanistan.

NFL as tough as combat? Plueeze. If this is the type of statement he will utter for Army recruiting, ship him to the front.
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Old 04-30-2008   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
In today's New York Times:

"An Officer and a Linebacker for the N.F.L."



He obviously didn't pay attention at USMA between football practice. Ok, place him in BOLIC and on the next bird to Iraq or Afghanistan.

NFL as tough as combat? Plueeze. If this is the type of statement he will utter for Army recruiting, ship him to the front.
He is just another self-centered ego looking to get paid but with the difference he used a service academy to get set for it.

Withdraw his commission and then send him to Iraq...

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Old 04-30-2008   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
He is just another self-centered ego looking to get paid but with the difference he used a service academy to get set for it.

Withdraw his commission and then send him to Iraq...

Tom
Sounds good to me. That or pack him off for alternative service in a VA hospital or something similar. Maybe then he might get a clue as to the difference between combat and the NFL....
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Old 04-30-2008   #13
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I'm sorry because I know my opinion is going to upset some people. I simply feel that any military service academy and any cadet and any service that thinks the NFL is more important than service to the country deserves nothing less than ridicule for the dishonor they have engaged in. Pandering "recruitment" as an excuse for failure to serve as an officer leading troops is an abysmal lie. If you are more worried about your personal ambition of an NFL career then don't burn a seat for a person who wants to be a preeminent military officer and academy graduate. This is an absolute abomination and desecration of people like Roger Staubach who served their country then played a game. Every ring-knocker should be ashamed. I thought the academies were becoming more about service and commitment to an ideal of patriotism and self sacrifice. Every time I meet an academy graduate I now get to ask them, "Couldn't make it in the NFL huh?" I don't care if some Pentagon rat changed the rule, I expected more from the participants, and have been horribly disappointed.

I guess Semper Fidelis only counts if you're enlisted or ROTC graduate. Oh, wait wrong service.
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Old 04-30-2008   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
In today's New York Times:

"An Officer and a Linebacker for the N.F.L."



He obviously didn't pay attention at USMA between football practice. Ok, place him in BOLIC and on the next bird to Iraq or Afghanistan.

NFL as tough as combat? Plueeze. If this is the type of statement he will utter for Army recruiting, ship him to the front.
He branched ADA (I looked it up). I would have LOVED to see him come through The Armor School with that attitude.
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Old 04-30-2008   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selil View Post
If you are more worried about your personal ambition of an NFL career then don't burn a seat for a person who wants to be a preeminent military officer and academy graduate. This is an absolute abomination and desecration of people like Roger Staubach who served their country then played a game.
I agree with this especially. There were plenty of applicants for Caleb Campbell's spot at the USMA. All of them, presumably, would have been capable, faithful officers in the United States Army. Campbell will not, at least certainly not in the sense that his classmates are, and as has been mentioned (I think on the SWJ Blog) any gain in recruiting from the "free advertising" will be more than canceled out by the cheapening of a pillar on which the military services - no, service and honor and selflessness in general - are based.

And yes, my head too almost exploded when the ESPN reporter said, "if you don't have to be one, I would suggest you not be one."

Regards,

Matt
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Old 04-30-2008   #16
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Default From the NYT Article:

Quote:
"Since November, the Navy has suspended its program governing early release after two years of active duty. “The nation is at war,” said Laura Stegherr, a Navy spokeswoman. “The Navy doesn’t intend to change the policy.”"
Good for the Navy. Sad commentary on the Army. Nuke HRC to save the Army.

Last edited by Ken White; 04-30-2008 at 11:40 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-01-2008   #17
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I just watched the ESPN video on the Blog post. Now I'm just ready to puke. The sheer glibness of it all just got me angrier, when combined with his interview quote above, which has disturbed me more all day. I'd love to tell him about my worst night, and see how that compares to a hard day in the NFL.

I did like the panelist at the end who suggested that there was a message disconnect - how can he be an Army role model if the hardest thing he's done is Buckner? What's the message to the people. He should at least serve two before being let go.

I also applauded the LT whose guilt got the better of him. Granted, leaving minor league ball is not leaving the NFL, but still.

Anyone know if the policy applies to all soldiers, ROTC grads, or OCS grads? Or is it just USMA?
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Old 05-01-2008   #18
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Default In this case

Quote:
He branched ADA (I looked it up)
stands for A Different Army.

Sad.

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Old 05-01-2008   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
"if you don't have to be one, I would suggest you not be one."
All,

The reporter who said this statement is named Lisa Salters. I have a line on her email. I will post it up when I get it. I have a few questions to ask her.

S/F

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Old 05-01-2008   #20
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Default Campbell needs to go...

not to the NFL but to IZ or AF first. He should not be allowed to dodge the bullet of his service commitment to the Army and the American taxpayer who footed the bill for his education.

My daughter applied five freakin times to WooPoo on the Hudson and was denied each time. Even after she enlisted they denied her request to go to MAPS. She will be headed for Mosul with her MP company in October.

Seems she has more balls than Campbell, but then again that's not a requirement to attend.
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