I served as a Navy officer on active sea duty for four years. I am the son of a Navy officer who served in the Pacific in World War II, the nephew of a Navy officer, an Army officer and an enlisted soldier who fought his way across Europe in World War II. I am the son-in-law of an Army colonel who landed in France, the brother of a Marine officer and pilot, the father of an Air Force officer and the father-in-law of an Air Force officer.
Much of what this country’s military believes are the essentials of leadership and conduct is attributed to John Paul Jones, whose body of standards includes the following regarding the qualifications of an officer: “he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency, and well meant shortcoming from heedless or stupid blunder.”
It is time to bring an end to the destruction of a career and damage to the family of Scott Compton as a result of his “stupid blunder.” The honor of the military is not besmirched, the nation is not damaged, the deed is not without regret.
This slide into further damage to satisfy demands for retribution must be halted, and a useful member of society must be restored to his teaching, no doubt chastened, which should be sufficient to assuage the distress of men and women who fought for the right to speak freely — if unwisely.
Wilson W. Farrell