An officer needs to be a gentleman

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 05:41 PM.

Sending machismo to a hidden underground is not the answer. Neither is the end of rites of passage — effectively legal hazing — that necessarily ensure only the best, the strongest, the brightest and the most capable form the core membership of our elite military organizations.

No. It isn’t these that are going to solve the Blue Angels’ problems. There is a far simpler solution, the suggestion of which is sure to rile up the most extreme of those in favor of unfettered gender equality in the military. Why? I’m going to use the old fashioned, even sexist, term: “gentleman.”

Why does it seem there were fewer sexual harassment cases and sexual assaults in the past? Were there fewer in the past than today?

I think so. Some of the reasons include a blurring of gender roles and the increasing number of women in the military. Better reporting is another reason. But regardless of the reasons, bad and criminal sexual behaviors are worse today than in the past.

This perspective comes not from some fancy study or a glossy, professionally-bound sexual assault training manual, but instead from spending 27 years in the Marines in an at-that-time, male-only combat specialty. Yes. I hold up the possibility that my own memory is blurred. While male-only, we were mostly gentlemen.

Raised in the 1950s and 1960s, we boys were raised to be gentlemen. My dad and coaches beat it into us. As a young Marine in the 1970s, I was trained to be a gentleman. I had examples to follow in my leaders.

We’re not raising our boys to be gentlemen any longer. Neither are we training our military men to be gentlemen.

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