COAST GUARD CAPTAIN COMMITS SUICIDE
TOLD "CRUDE" JOKES OFFENSIVE TO WOMEN
AT ACADEMY DINNER - INFURIATED FEMALES
PUSH FOR SEVERE PUNISHMENT - TOP BRASS
OPEN "CRIMINAL" PROBE - ERNIE BLANCHARD'S
REQUEST TO RESIGN REFUSED - FORMER CHIEF
OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS FEARED COURT-MARTIAL
AND LOSS OF PENSION - DISGRACED OFFICER
SHOOTS HIMSELF IN THE HEAD

It's been ten years now since once-gregarious Capt. Ernie Blanchard committed suicide in the backyard of his Virginia home.

The former top spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard killed himself in desperation, fearing his 30-year service career would end in disgrace, with a court-martial and loss of pension.

Blanchard wasn't charged with rape or sodomy or any of the sex crimes that are routinely reported in today's politically-correct military.  What he was "guilty" of was poor judgement and extreme insensitivity in telling crude and sexist jokes that could only lead to big trouble. And that's exactly what he got. Enraged females at the Coast Guard Academy demanded the captain be punished.

CRUDE JOKES AND POOR JUDGEMENT

On Jan. 10, 1995, Blanchard addressed cadets and guests assembled in the Old Wardroom dining hall at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.  To break the ice, Blanchard unwisely chose what he thought was a harmless joke to lighten the mood in the room.

The captain related how he had seen a cadet's fiancée wearing a brooch featuring maritime signal flags.

He said the fiancée told him the flags meant, "I love you."

Then came the punch line.

"What they really said." he laughed, was: "Permission granted to lay alongside."

The audience groaned.  Not catching on to his faux pas, Blanchard told even more dumb and risqué jokes.  A stone-cold silence filled the room.  No laughter at all.

Fellow Captain William Stillman expressed the academy's displeasure to his colleague, and within three days, Capt. Blanchard issued a formal apology.  It read, in part: "Us old sea dogs need to adapt and change the way we have always done things."

The Coast Guard public affairs officer hoped the matter had "blown over." But it had not.  A contingent of infuriated females from the academy pressured the top brass to take further action.

FURIOUS FEMALES FORCE A "CRIMINAL" PROBE

To his shock and amazement, Blanchard found himself the target of a "criminal" probe.  The frantic father of two teenage daughters, with some 30 years of military service at stake, offered his resignation to the Coast Guard in order to save his pension benefits.  It was refused.

In utter desperation, thinking all was lost, humiliated and without hope, the veteran officer returned to his surburban Virginia home and walked out into the backyard.  It was nearing twilight.

Holding his grandfather's Smith & Wesson revolver in his right hand, he placed the gun to his head and fired.

There was no need for a "court-martial" any more.