Why did it happen? What were their superiors thinking?
One retired infantryman, Thomas P. Kratman, has tried to get to the bottom of it, via a series of hard-hitting questions he sent to ROTC brass at the two schools that pressured their cadets to don those red pumps.
The following is his letter, in its entirety:
I am Thomas P. Kratman, LTC, Ret. My branch was infantry. I hold a JD from W&L. I am a former IG. I am an (occasional) bestselling author (per Wall Street Journal; I am told I am blacklisted by NYT).
I also write a weekly column (the most read weekly column) for an online magazine with a lot of readers. So before I unfairly screw anyone’s figurative lights out, in a very public way, would you care to make a statement and answer a few questions? Please, in the answering, if you choose to answer, do not insult my intelligence or experience by claiming that AR 670-1 authorizes red high heels and ACUs. It does not. Please don’t waste my time with claiming that the high heels event was for morale building. That kind of nonsense will just piss me off and do terrible things to the objectivity to which I, of course, aspire.
I have been in contact with PAO, Cadet Command. You may wish to coordinate your answers, if you choose to answer, with them.
1. Were you ordered by higher to do this/have your cadets do this? Yes, “I wish” or “I would like” still carries the weight of “I order.”
2. If you were acting under orders, from whom did the order originate, at what level, again with the understanding that “I wish” equals “I order.”
3. Do you know whence it originated, at brigade or at Cadet Command?
4. What were the precise words given to your cadets to set this in motion.
5. Were cadets required to buy the shoes? And, again, I wish = I order.
6. Which ROTC Brigade does Temple fall under?
7. Did any cadets object vocally or in writing?
8. Did any cadets threaten to go their legislative representation or the IG over this?
9. Are you familiar with 10 USC 1034?
10. Did you, personally, really think this was a good idea? Really?
I won’t ask if you can give me the contact information for each of the cadets who took part. I will try to find it on my own if the questions above are unanswered or if the answers smell. If I have to drive to Temple and wait for someone in uniform to pass by so I can ask them, so be it; the drive is tax deductible for me.
The Army says they are investigating the allegations and the U.S. Army Cadet Command spoke to TIME about the process:
“After receiving some comments about uniforms, we are currently gathering facts in order to review how local ROTC units implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” the statement said.
Thus far, LTC Kratman has yet to receive an answer to any of his 10 questions.