Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Black Mark For West Point

And no, I'm not talking about the football team, but a deserter:
After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point near the top of his class in 2008, Second Lt. Lawrence J. Franks Jr. went on to a stellar career with three deployments, commendations for exceptional service and a letter of appreciation from the military’s top general.

The only problem: None of it was in the United States military.

After being sent to Fort Drum, here in the snowy farmland of northern New York, where he was put in charge of a medical platoon, Lieutenant Franks disappeared one day in 2009. His perplexed battalion searched the sprawling woods on the post for his body.

What they did not know was that he was on a plane to Paris, where he enlisted under an assumed name in the French Foreign Legion. It was only this year when he turned himself in that the Army and his family learned what had happened.

On Monday, Lieutenant Franks was sentenced to four years in prison and dismissal from the Army on charges of conduct unbecoming of an officer and desertion with the intention to shirk duty, specifically deployment.
The article details some of his mental demons, which you'd think would have been discovered at some time during 4 years at a military academy.


maxutils said...

I don't think you can blame West Point for that. Certainly, he deserved to be prosecuted for desertion, and he was. But I wouldn't consider it a 'black mark'. Especially if he does have metal issues? Those are the most difficult to detect. Why on earth would you choose to fight in the FFL instead of being an officer in the US Army? There are always cracks to fall through.

a real, though less important black mark is … why can't Army beat the squids?

Darren said...

I don't *blame* West Point, but the fact that someone like him can get through *is* a black mark against the school. The West Point name is a strong association, and this makes us look bad.

allen (in Michigan) said...

If you want to blame something blame the psychiatric profession. It's still almost exclusively an art, mostly a dark art, and for each Picasso there are a hundred house painters claiming the ability to knock out a "Gueranica" on demand.

Then there's human nature which causes us to put far too much faith into anyone in authority.

Mike Thiac said...

What is also bad is he will not be subject to the punishment he deserves, a rope. Article 85, UCMJ, sets the punishment as:

"Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct."