In the Quartermaster’s, Quartermaster’s Corps

It seems there might be another service academy with solutions in search of problems. 

For several weeks, e-mails have been flying among academy wags. The issue: The top dog at the U.S. Military Academy wants to change two of the school’s songs, and not the “classic” alluded to above. 

“Castrate” might be more accurate. West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin “Buster” Hagenbeck wants to make the century-old “Alma Mater” and “The Corps” more inclusive on the gender front. We are reasonably sure even the most ardent activist (note our gender-neutral term) would walk away in disgust. 

The issue would have remained in the burro barn and related chat rooms, but ol’ “Buster” decided to test the news on to West Point’s Board of Visitors (BOV), which includes members of Congress (we’re sensing four-star potential here). He explained that in view of the more than 3,000 women who have graduated, some of whom have lost their lives in the line of duty, it was time to include them — in the songs. For example, in “The Corps” says “the men” would become “the ranks,” and “we sons” would change to “the Corps.” Beautiful. 

We are reasonably sure marching songs as well as drinking songs are gender neutral. Why not replace the two venerable oldies in question with some bawdy gender-bender ballads and presto! Everyone’s happy. 

Maybe this seemingly bizarre gender romp is a step toward eradicating the long-vilified combat exclusion clause. If so, you go, “Buster.” But we don’t give “Buster” that much credit. Maybe we don’t know “Buster” well enough, but we like his name: “Buster.” “Buster.” “Buster.” It should be noted “Buster” obtained alumni input. According to the numbers we’ve seen, 72 percent of West Point alum chums want the song to remain as it is. We do not have a gender break down, but our guess is female grads might be more concerned with the combat exclusion clause. 

We are reasonably sure the U.S. Naval Academy is not considering similar changes, though the Bold and the Beautiful on the Banks of the Severn continue their search for a village. This crowd would melt down like a reactor at the thought of further encroachment in their beloved boat house, though they’d go for the drinking songs, regardless of gender themes. 

(“Mine eyes are dim. I cannot see—ee—ee. I have (hey!) not (ho!) brought my specs with me.”) 

While “Buster” considers changing the words to his historic ditties, maybe the BOV Honchos on the Hill will do something useful and work with fellow members to end the combat exclusion clause. Come gender-neutral members, take a walk on the wild side.

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