I will be posting more on the overall tenor of the all-hands meeting on Friday (audio links here), in particular about the pathetic lack of leadership displayed by all three presenters, but this particular comment by CDR Stroud needs to be addressed separately:
This starts at 11:20 of this audio clip:
CDR. Stroud: “OK? Family….You guys need to look at yourselves, you’re brothers and sisters, you’re in this together….Some of you are in this are roommates since indoc….
You know each other, inwards and backwards. But if you’re brothers and sisters…who am I?…I’m your Daddy” (audience laughter)…
“Commander McCarthy is your Momma…” (derisive comments, laughter, cat calls).
“It means working together, looking out for each other…..Ok? Looking out for each other and doing what’s right…sometimes looking out for each other, being part of a family isn’t easy, OK? There’s discipline involved. Mommies and Daddies have to spank…kids.” (derisive audience laughter, groans)
“Heads up!…as a family you guys have to work together, look out for each other….break this (inaudible), break the ostracizing of the Superintendent, break that down, get that out of our family…OK?…we don’t want that, that’s an adopted child that came into the family, we don’t want it anymore, alright?”
(Ends at 12:57) (Emphasis added.)
Those words were hurtful. They were wrong. As an adoptive parent, I can personally attest to the love, effort and desire that goes into adopting a child into a family. They are every bit as wanted as a biological child.
The reaction of the midshipmen to this statement shows that they knew just how wrong this was. It is disappointing — to say the least — that one of the other two “leaders” on the stage didn’t immediately step forward and correct CDR Stroud. The midshipmen are better grounded; and their reaction demonstrated that their values are better than those exhibited by those on the stage. Read this post from yesterday from a first class midshipman and compare the reaction of leadership and the midshipmen to CDR Stroud’s statement. It truly is evident that the problem at the Academy lies with leadership — even the LMI Report, with its many flaws, recognized that.
Statistically-speaking, there were almost certainly midshipmen in the audience who are adopted. As an act of leadership, CDR Stroud should acknowledge that what he said was wrong and apologize to the midshipmen and faculty.