Connect The Dots: Florida Coke Case & Standards

On March 11, several cadets were involved in a party where they ingested cocaine laced with fentanyl. Several of the cadets ended up in the hospital. The Superintendent, Darryl Williams, sent this out on March 14th:

March 14, 2022

Members of the Long Gray Line,

As many of you know, the United States Military Academy has been working through a serious incident involving several Cadets. The health and safety of all our Cadets is my top concern and priority. I ask that you refrain from speculating or commenting on the details of any ongoing investigation.

Initial reports indicate that four Cadets were transported to nearby hospitals in various conditions while on spring break in Florida after allegedly being exposed to a substance that may have contained Fentanyl. As of today, all but one Cadet has been released. We will continue to support any ongoing investigation, and once completed, we will take appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of our Cadets and to maintain good order and discipline within the Corps.

America looks to the Academy to develop leaders who embody the highest level of character. Character development is the most important thing we do here at the Academy. Good order and discipline are vitally important to our success. Therefore, illegal drugs of any kind have no place at West Point, in our Army, or in our Military.

The Academy remains committed to educating, training, and inspiring the Corps of Cadets. I encourage Cadets to take care of each other and themselves. Thank you for your continued commitment to West Point.

Darryl A. Williams

Lieutenant General, U.S. Army


We pray for the recovery of the affected cadets.

At the same time, we note that there were multiple football players involved in the incident. Our own examination of the video shows 3-4 Black cadets and 2 White cadets involved (video isn’t the greatest, we may be off on classification). The reporting also indicates that the cadets were in their “early twenties,” so likely not underclassmen, and therefore having gone through most of the Academy’s developmental programming.

We have noted that the “diverse demographic” and athletes, particularly football players, are admitted at a much lower bar and by bypassing the WCS screen that West Point imposes on other demographics and groups.

We have shown that the groups admitted with lower test scores have much higher all-cause attrition rates, and particularly for academic/conduct/honor, than more-qualified groups. Or, broadly speaking, it illuminates the ability of different groups to deal with the overall rigor of the Academy. Including such things like behaving responsibly on spring break.

So while we don’t know anything about these individual cadets, we can’t help but wonder: if West Point prioritized “the highest level of character”, as it claims to do, over diversity and sports, and had admitted on merit some of the many other qualified candidates who applied for these slots, would we be reading this headline today? Would we be keeping the candidates who could have attended in place of those who are about to be separated?

As always, factual corrections and thoughtful criticism is welcome.

6 thoughts on “Connect The Dots: Florida Coke Case & Standards”

  1. There is simply no question that Williams is guilty of doing the biding of the progressive political class in DOD/DOA; his actions, as the supposed steward of the Academy’s traditional values, demonstrate that he/they value personal advancement and post retirement employment over the Academy’s historic ethical principles. His most recent note contains simply self serving platitudes, similar to those following the recent cheating scandal. He clearly lied by both commission and omission during that spectacle. Even lacking specific knowledge of who these cadets are and represent, they are a discredit to the Academy and should be expelled immediately, with at least Article 15 level punishment. Of course, we will never be told the details of their punishment, but anyone who has taken the time to both digest the analyses of the usmaData posts and reviewed the actions/misdirection of the last three Superintendents, can not be other than convinced that the admission process and quota system is destroying the integrity of Academy. It truly does beg the question whether the institution itself continues to represent a viable option to other, certainly less costly, commissioning alternatives. Thanks again to the folks who put these posts together.

    • I agree that the responsibility for poor choices for admissions should start at the highest levels at WestPoint. Accountability to the public for a public institution of this caliber should be made crystal clear to graduates at least.
      And those who are seeking to substitute “character” for Duty, Honor Country of the Honor Code at the academy should reconsider their “push” of this idea.
      James Von Hargis ‘68 B-1

  2. West Point is paying a horrible price for a few victories on Saturday afternoon….just not worth it. I’ll trade a win for a Corps comprised of men and women who don’t require this much character training.

  3. The incident should be the subject of a thorough CID/Article 32 investigation. Graduation and commissioning for all of those involved in the incident should be deferred until the issues are resolved.
    Those charged with the use of or trafficking in illegal drugs should be court martialed and, if found guilty, given a highly publicized Dishonorable Discharge and serve hard time in Leavenworth.

  4. There are a few “tells” in LTG Williams’s message:

    “illegal drugs of any kind have no place at West Point, in our Army, or in our Military,” he writes. He doesn’t write that “users of illegal drugs have no place at West Point,” etc.

    He also writes that “Character development is the most important thing we do here at the Academy.” He doesn’t write “We expect and demand Cadets to display exemplary character and have zero tolerance for those who take or tolerate the use of illegal drugs.”

    Most nauseating is his statement that “The health and safety of all our Cadets is my top concern and priority.” That obviously is not true. If it were, he would not allow cadets to participate in summer military training or injury-inducing sports such as… football.

    • Your observations are absolutely correct. A member of the class of ’62 has just released the “open letter to Williams” which he requested following the ’62 Reunion mtg (22 April) with him. Williams’ abject failure of leadership and ethical character are clearly evidenced in that letter by numerous incidents – all verified by current cadet contacts and others. One specific example, is a statement that he made in which he claimed to not being aware of an honor violation – a former black football player was caught on tape stealing a watch; the case was adjudicated; the cadet was allowed to graduate (Cl’21 in Dec’21) and is now an USA 2ndLT.The honor system and process, described in legal detail in USCC Pam 15-1 vests the sole and final authority for code violation actions with the superintendent. THERE IS NO WAY HE DID NOT ONLY KNOW ABOUT BUT APPROVE THE CODE VIOLATION. Numerous other leadership and personal failings are described, to all of which he pleaded ignorance: poor living conditions, CRT training, establishment of safe spaces for black female cadets, biased teaching practices in non STEM departments etc. Incidentally, USCC Pam 15-1 has for decades been available for pubic scrutiny. With the willful program cancellation by Williams following the 2020 cheating, the revised 2020 edition is now unavailable to the public. SHAMEFUL AND DISHJONEST BEHAVIOR AT THE TOP BREEDS INEFFECTIVE GRADUATE LEADERS.


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