Sunday, February 12, 2006

Col. Greg "Pappy" Boyington not worthy?? (updated)

My favorite morning radio host, himself an alumnus of the University of Washington, passed along a sad little tale last Wednesday. It seems that the Student Senate of the U-Dub had voted down resolution R-12-18:

A Resolution to Calling for a Tribute for Col. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, USMC

WHEREAS Col. Gregory Boyington who as a student at the University of Washington from 1930 to 1934, was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, served as an ROTC cadet, and represented this university as a swimmer and wrestler and held the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate middleweight wrestling title before he graduated in 1934 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering with a 2nd Lieutenant's Commission in the Coast Artillery Corps, served as a combat pilot in the 1st Squadron, American Volunteer Group (the "Flying Tigers of China") and served subsequently as a Marine Corps combat pilot in the Pacific Theatre as Commander, Marine Fighting Squadron 214 ("The Black Sheep Squadron") from 12 September 1943 to 3 January 1944, during which time he was awarded the Navy Cross, America's second highest combat decoration, and the Medal of Honor, America’s highest combat decoration...

And just "Why" was this resolution defeated? You can read the complete minutes of the Feb. 7th meeting, but here are a few especially telling quotes :

Jill Edwards said she didn’t believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce.

Ashley Miller commented that many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men.

Okay - I cherry-picked those statements, although they do appear together in the minutes. But I wonder whether Ms. Edwards truly intended to imply that all Marines are unsuited to be honored by any UW students? Then again, given the troubles we've had here in Washington with recruiting on campuses, maybe that is exactly what she meant.

Gee, I wonder how many of her current fellow students have served in the Marines?? I'd be lookin' over my shoulder if I had made such an ill-conceived and rude statement. Just sayin'.

I also have to wonder if Ms. Miller realizes that she is discriminating against Pappy because of his race?? Sounds anti-tolerant and non-inclusive to me.

Share this little item with your Marine friends, and any interested UW alumni you may know.

Hat/Tip to Ry, who pointed me to the post by AndrewsDad for the links.


I was certain that America's Son would have something thoughtful to say on this matter - and he did not disappoint. Please go read his Opinion vs. Truth for the view from a deployed Marine.

Also, Sgt B pointed out in his comment below that "Pappy" Boyington was not exactly a paragon of virtue. In fairness, this is true - he struggled with demons of his own in the form of alcohol, at least. If the students had chosen to balk at a memorial for reasons of this type, it would make more sense (although I would still disagree). It's the fact that they explicitly chose to ignore him and his character completely, and rejected the resolution for generic reasons like those above that is the telling point.

I also would like to add that young Andrew Everett, who initiated the resolution deserves high credit for taking this step, and for standing and defending his resolution during the debate shown in the minutes. He is exactly the kind of young man I think the U-Dub should be proud to have among its student body.