With a single decision, Colonel Jeffrey Taliaferro created quite a tempest at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.
Earlier this month, Taliaferro, Commander of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth, ended the playing of "Reveille" each morning, saying there's "no compelling reason to keep it." Colonel Taliaferro said he eliminated the bugle call because of noise complaints.
And, to a some degree, Taliaferro had a point. At virtually all military installations (except for basic training facilities), the start of the duty day is no longer tied to that early-morning bugle call. Lots of airmen Ellsworth personnel were on the job before reveille played at 0630, local time. Other military personnel began their duty day at 0730, while most civilian workers arrived at 0800.
"There's nothing that said we had to play it," Taliaferro told the Rapid City Journal. "We weren't taking any actions based upon it. It didn't honor any specific segment and didn't honor the flag. It was the start of the duty day." The Colonel also thought base residents would appreciate the pre-dawn silence, no longer interrupted by reveille.
But Taliaferro was sadly mistaken. Some members of the Ellsworth community still take military traditions seriously, even if their wing commander doesn't like reveille.
In an effort to preserve the centuries-old custom, two military spouses (Janelle Rice and Holly Sweeney) launched a Facebook group, "I Want Reveille Back at Ellsworth AFB." The forum quickly attracted almost a thousand supporters--far more than the base's "official" Facebook page, which has less than 400 members.
Others found Taliaferro's "quest for quiet" to be a little bit silly. After all, the 28th Bomb Wing is equipped with the B-1 Lancer, considered by many to be the loudest aircraft in the Air Force inventory. With the bombers operating at various times of the day (and night) "there are no quiet hours at the base" a former Ellsworth airman told the Journal.
Colonel Taliaferro said he was stunned by reaction to the "no reveille" decision and quickly reversed course. Last Saturday, on his own Facebook page, the wing commander announced that the morning bugle call would return to Ellsworth, beginning this week. Reveille will now sound at 0730 at the South Dakota base, instead of 630.
To be sure, many Americans wouldn't understand a controversy over an early morning bugle call. But if you've never served (or been a military dependent), it's almost impossible to explain. It's part of our tradition and culture, and--thankfully--there are those who still appreciate that. Even a certain O-6 who needed a little refresher course.
"...it's almost impossible to explain."
Exceptionally good material to share!
Creeping Corporatism in the 'leadership' rank and file.
Thanks for the 'heads up'
I spent about thirteen years at Ellsworth in two tours of duty. First was from 1961-1968; second was from 1972-1979. No reveille was played, ever, during that time frame. Of course there were a few more important things going on beside following an old Army custom.
Revellie was added to Ellsworth shortly after Colonel Joesph Brown took command from then Colonel James M. Kowalski in 2004. The other commanders kepted it in place,
In fact Colonel Jeffry Smith actually ignored noise complaints from the Box Elder, SD community when the volume of the giant voice boxes was raised when the Wing was getting ready for a ORI.
I was there from 2003-2007 before I retired out.
My father is a former MP and woke me up with that several times as a teenager, and I agree that for people who have not been subjected to it, it has a quality that is impossible to explain.
Dear Former Spook:
I didn't see your email address, so I'm posting as a "comment." I would like you to know about the book I am working on. It will advocate the use of Internet voting in all US elections and for our military abroad. Its entitled
How to Sideline the Superrich in All US Elections with Secure Internet Voting
The first draft of the book is finished, and online. Two chapters discuss the security issues. Despite the bad press, I show that it can be done with all the security of an online purchase or electronic banking. (See, "The Great Security Scare," and "The Reasonable Person ...")
One chapter is entitled "The Original Intentions of the Framers for US Presidential Elections." Those guys abhorred the notion of party controlled government. I think we Americans should get our country more in-line with their vision.
I also discuss the outrageous costs of running for president. Obama spent about $740,000,000 in 2008. Of course, this gives an unfair advantage to the superrich who can make big contributions.
Most importantly, I show how a system of presidential elections based on Internet voting can neutralize the power of Big Money, and make the president and vice-president directly dependent upon the people who elected them.
In accord with the First Amendment, the superrich, and everyone else, will be free to spend as much money as they want to, but with the system I propose big spending cannot influence the voter's choice.
No agent/pub, yet. But all my chapter drafts are online for free reading or downloading at:
You are welcome to read any of this, and comment on it to me, or in your writing. (BTW the two Polanyi essays on the list are not a part of the book on Internet voting.)
Please see the Young Republican interview of me, for an excellent short introduction as to how Internet voting would work in practice, at
(Its only a five minute read.) The first question is, “How would Internet voting have changed the 2008 election?”
For a recent radio interview by Jim Fetzer, go to
http://radiofetzer.blogspot.com/ and scroll down to February 10, 2010
I'd like to hear from you!
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Political Scientist, author, speaker, CEO for
The Internet Voting Research and Education Fund
A CA Nonprofit Foundation
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