Friday, April 07, 2006

If Cynthia McKinney Had Any...

decency, self-respect, or integrity, she'd resign from Congress. Her conduct during and after that altercation with a Capitol Hill police officer has been beneath contempt. However, I'm guessing that the "cutest little communist in Congress" (as Neal Boortz once described her) will soldier on, hoping the scandal eventually dissipates.

Meanwhile, Victor Davis Hanson recounts a similar incident at the U.S. Naval Academy a few years back. The Academy Superintendent, a three-star Navy admiral, tried to enter the installation without his military ID. A young Marine guard--doing his job--refused. There was an altercation. The admiral subsequently admitted that he might have touched the guard. A subsequent investigation cleared the Marine. The admiral resigned his post, and retired from the service.

That incident reminds me of an old Air Force story--one that I've never been able to fully verify. While it may be an urban legend, it does provide another example of security personnel doing the right thing, and refusing to be bullied or intimiated by authority.

Back in the 1950s, Strategic Air Command was the largest--and most important--in the Air Force. In the days before ICBMs and SLBMs, SAC's bomber fleet essentially was the nation's strategic nuclear deterrent. General Curtis LeMay was CINCSAC during much of that period, and he set exacting standards. The promote performance, LeMay even had the authority to hand out spot promotions, elevating (or demoting) anyone in the command by one grade, depending on how they did their jobs.

LeMay was a frequent visitor to SAC bomber and tanker bases. However, he had no patience for waiting for the "gate guard" to check his ID, and usher him onto the base. If LeMay was driving to a SAC base, arrangements were made in advance to recognize the car and wave him through.

However, during one base visit, the system fell through. LeMay was driving in from another SAC installation in a blue Air Force staff car, but the sentry at the main gate was never notified. The young security policeman had been trained to stop any unauthorized entries to the base; when the staff car whizzed by a 50 mph, he followed his training. He yelled "Halt" and when the car failed to stop, he drew his pistol and opened fire. The first shot shattered the rear window; the second punctured a tire and disabled the car.

When the base commander and the chief of security police squadron arrived on the scene, the young "skycop" had both LeMay and his driver face down on the ground, threatening to shoot them if they moved. After a little explaining, the general was allowed to proceed, but not before he gave the sentry a spot promotion for doing his job, while demoting the commander of the security police squadron, for failing to do his.

Here's hoping the good people of Georgia decided to "demote" Cynthia McKinney this fall.


Mike H. said...

Sorry Spook, the Lemay story is an urban myth on the same order as the marine recruit who upon challenging an unidentified individual who advised him that he was Superman, replied fly your a** over here to be recognized. They are manufactured stories to achieve the desired responses. We of course hope that McKinney is the first of a series of true stories with a suitably ethical outcome.

Mrs. Davis said...

One true story. Hillary Paige was a VP of GE's Missile and Space Division in the '60's. He was giving a tour to then VP Hubert Humphrey. When the entourage gets to the space simulator, the guard informs Hilly that the ID he has does not authorize him to enter. Sure enough, it did not. He had to cool his heels while the rest of the group got the tour. Guard got the commendation.

Probably a legend also is a variation on the LeMay story. When he went through the gate and did not stop the guard fired at the car. It stopped, Curt got out and marched back to the soldier and tore his stripes off. The soldier tried to explain that he wouldn't have shot had he known who was in the car. Curt said, "That's not for shooting, it's for missing." Curt had a lot of trouble at the gate apparently.

blert said...

The true source of un-announced visits was General Marshall.

During WWII he routinely showed up un-announced and would can anyone who gave away his trip intentions.

Many an officer was promoted or sunk on these visits.

I heard the Hyman Rickover version of these legends: couldn't get on a sub... yadayada.

Howard said...

I think this happens frequently. A kid on our base stopped an admiral who didn't display proper ID and held he and his driver at gunpoint for thrity minutes. The Admiral was thrilled, the kid got something or other and the base commander sort of disappeared.