An Open Letter to the VMI Corps

by Carter Melton

Ladies and gentlemen of The Corps, greetings. My name is Carter Melton, a history major from Salem who graduated in 1967. For 30 years I was the president and CEO of one of the largest hospitals in Virginia and served two terms on the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors.

I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Oh, no… a liberal-arts relic from The Old Corps.”

Please, just hear me out.

Last Monday evening you heard from the Governor of Virginia.

He stood before you and presented himself as a man who had been on the road to Damascus, met Jesus, and had an epiphany of the heart. In fact, he is a politician who got caught with his political pants down and, given the nature of his dilemma, pivoted to a strategy of racial redemption to save his political skin.

As for the Governor’s deep love and affection for VMI, you might want to consider the following:

When allegations of systemic and virulent racism at VMI first arose, he had the opportunity and responsibility to order a thoughtful, fair, and honest investigation. Instead, in an act of feckless political convenience…which supported his campaign for racial redemption…he threw VMI under the bus, aided and abetted by some of the most intellectually dishonest journalism I have ever seen, compliments of the Washington Post.

As you consider the difference between the fairy tale you heard in Cameron Hall and the above assessment, here are a couple of things you might want to ponder:

First, read the October 19, 2020 letter to VMI, signed by the Governor and 10 political allies. In it, they repeated the original allegations of virulent and systemic racism at VMI, treating those allegations as fact without a shred of evidence, and declared VMI guilty as charged without any inquiry or review. Keep in mind as you review this scolding letter of gratuitous condemnation, that the three lead signatories consist of two confirmed White practitioners of blackface and a Black alleged rapist. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Second, try to find some documented rationale justifying the Governor’s shameful and shabby treatment of General J. H. Binford Peay III, arguably the finest Superintendent in VMI history. He was a true gentleman and leader of impeccable character, and a man with a world-class record of outstanding performance and service to America and Virginia.

If you can’t find any substantive rationale for the treatment of General Peay, you might look up the word “McCarthyism” on Wikipedia. Substitute the word “racist” for “communist” and you will begin to get the picture. Today’s crazy world is not the first time governments have abused power to destroy individuals and organizations.

Third, take a look at the inexcusable action of the Commonwealth, under the Governor’s control, of jerry-rigging its own procurement protocols in order to hastily engage a second-tier law firm from the Midwest…which cravenly markets itself as the legal champion of wokeness…to investigate VMI for the princely sum of one million tax-payer dollars. Did you know a lawsuit was filed over this selection process? You can find this sorry tale well documented at

Lastly, obtain and read the entire final report of this law firm’s “investigation” and see if you notice any glaring disconnects between the damning word picture in the “Executive Summary” and the actual data, which is supposed to rigorously support any conclusions. There is a term-of-art in the consulting world called “wire job.” Tickle Wikipedia again and look it up.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a couple of good thoughts (believe it or not).

First, VMI’s reputation graduates every year. This special place is our school, our reputation, our diploma, and our legacy. And it is our responsibility to get up every morning and help make VMI better today than it was yesterday.

Second, wherever your journey takes you, whether to the ends of the earth to protect, defend, and sacrifice for America, or down the road to a new hometown, always know that VMI men and women will welcome you into their homes, their offices, and their hearts. Your price of admission is adherence to our touchstone of honorable behavior.

May God bless The Corps, VMI, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States of America

Rah Virginia Mil

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46 responses to “An Open Letter to the VMI Corps”

  1. Donald Smith Avatar
    Donald Smith

    GINO Northam’s speech was for the Shapiras of the Commonwealth, the MSNBC/NPR crowd. GINO Northam tossed VMI to the SJW wolves, to save his own skin.

    A few decades ago, a British politician was involved in some sort of scandal. To save himself, he sold out some of his colleagues, blaming them for his troubles. A leader of the opposition commented: “Greater love hath no man, than he who lays down his friends’ lives for his own.”

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      He is a pediatrician, not a gyno.

      1. Mark O Flaherty Avatar
        Mark O Flaherty

        He is a GINO: Governor in name only.

      2. Donald Smith Avatar
        Donald Smith

        Thanks for stepping on it in public, and for the record, Nancy…or whatever your real name is.

        We’re just getting started here.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Donald Smith, a likely name.

  2. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Philosophical question: If you were accused of a crime or wrongdoing, who would you rather have investigate and find the charge to be unwarranted, your best friend or your worst enemy?

    Trey Gowdy was one of South Carolina’s finest and most competent prosecutors — a man well trained and proficient at conducting an investigation — who was certain that his political rival was guilty of gross misconduct, perhaps even criminal conduct. His report is here:

    1. Carmen Villani Jr Avatar
      Carmen Villani Jr


      Like the disgraced governor, I am a VMI Grad and former President of the Honor Court. There is a big difference between how investigations took place for suspected Honor Code violations and what took place with regard to this governor. At VMI, investigations are conducted and then charges are brought forth ONLY IF the evidence demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that a violation occurred.

      That is not what happened at all in this situation with this governor. He put forth a letter with 10 other state officials dated October 19, 2020 charging VMI with having “an appalling culture with ongoing structural racism.” Subsequently, $1 million of taxpayer money was spent to do a so-called investigation. Ask yourself, if your employer make those charges against you and then paid a $1 million to do the investigation, would you expect it to be fair and objective?

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Well, they do have a 100 year history of racism. It mellowed a bit in 1968.
        But, the real question is, “Are you disappointed with the results of the investigation?”

        1. Carmen Villani Jr Avatar
          Carmen Villani Jr

          Need to answer the question I posed to you Nancy. You bring into this discussion a point that is irrelevant.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            A State institution faced a very public charge of institutional racism.

            An internal investigation is out of the question. Works well for police brutality charges, and shootings eh?

            As you said, the governor is an alumnus. A State investigation by the personnel of the AG’s office would have a similar appearance of direct influence.

            The best possible investigation of such a charge, and the kind that would most quickly and cheaply dispense with the charge would have been and WAS an “independent” contracted investigation. Yes, it was paid for by a State controlled by a Governor and an AG through a contract. Everything the government does is done thusly, but that is the longest arm any government has.

            If my employer leveled such a charge at me, I would not be happy, but I’d rather he take the matter to arbitration (the equivalent of what Northam did) than turn it over to HR (Herring) or his secretary (the Honor Council).

          2. Carmen Villani Jr Avatar
            Carmen Villani Jr

            A very public charge indeed Nancy but with insufficient evidence of such. As Mr. Melton points out, datasets used by Barnes & Thornburg were insufficient to warrant their conclusions. Concur that an internal investigation would not be the correct approach but neither is those making the charges, such as the disgraced governor, paying $1 million in taxpayer money to a law firm aligned with CRT and DEI.

            I had suggested to some alumni that The Southern Association Of Colleges And Schools Commission On Colleges, which had renewed VMI’s accreditation in 2017, be brought in to conduct another audit of VMI to determine if it is still adhering to “a mission appropriate to higher education.”

            You stated: “I’d rather he take the matter to arbitration” to my question about an employer hiring an outside firm to investigate. You comment clearly suggests that you wouldn’t approve of your employer hiring an outside firm. That is exactly what happened in the case of VMI. The same individuals making the charges hired an outside entity to investigate, not arbitrate as you suggested.

            Another point you allude to in your response is that you would defend yourself, not merely allow false allegations to go unanswered. Can you now understand why there are alumni very upset with the VMI leadership because they DID NOT defend the Institute?

            Justice requires taking reports of infractions, doing a thorough investigation, and then making charges if appropriate. What happened to VMI was reports, charges, flawed investigation. That is injustice. To answer your question, the findings of the B&T report were anticipated.

          3. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            By arbitration, I meant outside, independent. HR would be the corporate equivalent of the AG, and the boss’ secretary the equivalent of internal investigation, kinda like how the military used to handle sexual assault. Hey!

            VMI really did get a good investigation. Outside, independent firm with creds, selected by an alumnus, which VMI can claim they paid for.

          4. Carmen Villani Jr Avatar
            Carmen Villani Jr

            To your point that VMI “really did get a good investigation,” I strongly disagree but you have every right to express your opinion. I see no need to have further discussion. Enjoy your day.

          5. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Well, there ya go.

          6. .
            Actually the “investigation” was a predictable, formulaic hatchet job that could have been written at any time.

            The investigators never even visited VMI.

            I sat for a 90 minute interview and came away with a clear understanding that neither of my interlocutors had any command of VMI in even the most remote fashion.

            They could not describe the “systems” through which VMI operators which makes one a bit skeptical when the investigation was about “systemic” issues.

            JLM VMI ’73

          7. “The investigators never even visited VMI.” Pg 23 of the report: “First, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Team was largely unable to conduct interviews in-person or on post. Indeed, VMI reported that it was enduring a COVID-19 outbreak during much of the first portion of the investigation. As a
            result, most of the interviews took place by videoconference or telephone, which of
            course limited the personal connection that in-person conversations provide. Still,
            the Team made multiple trips to post for in-person interviews and open houses. All
            individuals on post were alerted to the presence of the Team and the location and
            time of the open houses so that they would have the opportunity to meet with a
            Team member if they wished.” Fact free assertions as usual from you, professor.

          8. Steven M. Joyce Avatar
            Steven M. Joyce

            Real great investigation. 100 questionaries sent out. 14 responded 7 felt racism. thereby the systemic racism charge. 7% over 100 + years a good part of it was pre civil rights era and it was norm for country. Judging the past by today’s standards is definitely a “woke” perspective. Had the investigation been fair it would have concentrated on the past 30 or so.

          9. .
            I think the appropriate adjectival descriptor should be “‘unfounded’ public charge.”


            If you’re going to make an explosive charge against an institution you should at least pretend to have some evidence before you manufacture the evidence.

            JLM VMI ’73

          10. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Unfounded is a word used to describe an inestigated charge, however thin. Past tense sort of thing.

          11. .
            Nah, it means ungrounded, unwarranted, groundless, nonvalid — the Gov knew it was unfounded when he turned those words loose because he made that excreta up, darling.

            Nice try, but weak volley at the net. Aim higher.

            JLM VMI ’73

        2. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar

          Miss Nancy, your post is addressed to Carmen, so I really should exercise some courtesy and limit this reply. I cannot connect “they,” a century of “racism,” or “1968” to the narrative. If the latter is a reference to the admission of black cadets, the Corps had nothing to do with that. (There was a time when the Corps was not blamed for every perceived evil, as it is now.) What I remember is that, of the five black cadets admitted that year, three achieved outstanding records, one left school because it did not meet his needs (a nice way of putting it), and the other died of accidental causes. And one more thing: They were given the kid-glove treatment.

          As for any “disappointment” in the “investigation’s” findings, this implies that Carmen, or anyone reading this, had any different expectations in the findings. No, of course they didn’t. You have to understand the practice of law at this level. The law firm’s “client” was technically the Commonwealth, but in reality it was the Governor. He, in effect, handed-over $1 million to the law firm with instructions to bring back findings that would support his unsubstantiated allegations. The law firm knew what to do, and they did it. Northam got what he paid for. So, no, there was no “disappointment” in those findings, only confirmation of what we already knew was coming. It was a complete waste of taxpayer money.

          1. .
            Fair assessment. Bravo.

            JLM VMI ’73

    2. Donald Smith Avatar
      Donald Smith

      Common-sense question: why should anyone pay any attention to a commenter who hides behind a pseudonym, and who sees the phrase “GINO” and think that means a…gynecologist?

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Common sense question: Is using Donald Smith any better than checking into a motel as John Smith? MINO.

        1. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar


          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Turned away from an HI ing the good old days? Are you black?

          2. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            BTW, I once registered at a Nags Head motel by signing in a real hotel register book.

  3. Dwayne Lunsford Avatar
    Dwayne Lunsford

    Well said sir! In the early days I had high hopes for ol’ gov blackface; for once a native Virginian as opposed to the typical NoVA political flotsam (re: Clintonists, etc.) turned loose on the good folks of the Commonwealth. We can only hope that when the time comes the spirit of New Market will prevail.

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      The spirit of New Market always seems to pass from one class of cadets to the next. I don’t think that will change. As Jackson once said, “The Institute will be heard from today.”,demeanor%20and%20personality%20showed%20by%20a%201848%20graduate.

  4. vicnicholls Avatar

    Thank you. Excellent article.

  5. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar

    Mr. Melton, thank you for writing what must be written.

    The fact is that the Governor is a contemptible scoundrel, for all of the reasons set forth in your letter, and for many other reasons.

    All alumni of whatever political persuasion should be concerned. The Governor has damaged their diplomas. In a recent discussion, a colleague asked me if VMI was “that racist military college.”

    I can only hope that cadets are reading Bacon’s Rebellion. It is important that they do, because the free flow of ideas has come to a grinding halt on campus. Can anyone here confirm that BR has penetrated the iron curtain walling off VMI from the world?

    My greatest fear is that saying the wrong thing, which is already regulated and enforced by means of negative incentives, could morph into an honor violation. In these latter days, don’t bet against it.

    1. Carmen Villani Jr Avatar
      Carmen Villani Jr

      Excellent point YellowstoneBound1948 about the label these young men and women will face when pursuing a career upon graduation from VMI. It is disturbing that the VMI leadership did very little to defend our fine reputation. If there is an attempt to use the Honor System to mute free speech, there will be a rejection of doing so.

      1. Donald Smith Avatar
        Donald Smith

        “It is disturbing that the VMI leadership did very little to defend our fine reputation.”

        What happens when a VMI graduate is confronted by a graduate of Norwich, or the Citadel, or Sandhurst, or St. Cyr, and asked why they allowed Stonewall Jackson to be dishonored? What will the VMI grad do when the Citadel graduate, or the British or French officer, patiently and politely explains why Jackson should be honored by the military college closely associated with his name, instead of being dismissed by it?

        We’ll probably soon find out.

        1. Carmen Villani Jr Avatar
          Carmen Villani Jr

          The devil made us do it? 😀

  6. Cassie Gentry Avatar
    Cassie Gentry

    I could find nothing on Wikipedia relating to “wire job”, though I suspect the writer meant it as something along the lines of a paid for study fleshing out a foregone conclusion with fine sounding words, something they could get the Kenyan to do…

  7. Carmen Villani Jr Avatar
    Carmen Villani Jr

    As a VMI graduate myself (1976), I thank Mr. Melton for putting forth this letter and for his service to the Institute as a Board of Visitor (BOV). The current BOV should take note. You defend VMI, NOT take a blended knee to the disgraced governor!

  8. Steve Gillispie Avatar
    Steve Gillispie

    You don’t have to be at VMI to get savaged by these Democrats and their CIA/FBI/DOJ/media enforcers.

    Saying the wrong thing, having the wrong beliefs, or asking the wrong questions will get your door battered open and you in handcuffs and roughed up by the FBI as has happened in the last month to concerned parents and journalists from East to West.

    Intellectual dishonesty from WAPO and the entire MSM has now progressed to consistently blatantly false, demagogic, and seditious hate-mongering, as we have seen in the Rittenhouse media debacle and the recent treatment of Winsome Sears, to name a few examples in the sea of viciously wrong media lies and misinformation.

    Some of those who condemn Northam are never-Trumper
    “?republicans?” whose capitulation to the same media-generated hate and political bigotry has enabled this country’s political tectonic shift to the trashing and destruction of the foundations of our republic.

    The real fight the Trump’s administration was waging has been playing out at VMI, in the Rittenhouse trial, California, Afghanistan, school boards, the January 6 Commission hoax, the border, inflation, energy……

    Hopefully, there will be enough awakening in 2022 or 2024 that those who thought Democrats would bring a return to peace and civility in 2020 were bamboozled by a party bent on Obama’s agenda of a new and different US which you have to be his Reverent Wright, an Islamist, or a little red book lover to want. Or they will complete their takeover and destruction.

    Anyone who votes for anyone with a D beside their name is voting to destroy the United States. Anyone who votes for or supports a D is voting to support the very thing thousands of Americans died to prevent in the last World War. There appear to be no exceptions as witnessed by the flurry of emails our Spanberger, who could have been an exception, has put out since November trying to appear a representative of both sides yet continuing to vote down the line with Pelosi.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Gee, smacks of Benghazi type of stuff, don’t it? How’d that turn out for ya?

      1. Let’s see… that was when Obama arrested a Jewish-American for a ten minute YouTube video which supposedly caught the Middle East on fire, then got one ambassador, two CIA GRSers and two DoS security officers killed because no one in Washington listened to the experts about the danger of the city. Then the White House flakes lied about the real cause the following Sunday. Read about how the DoS forced the CIA to change its assessment to fit the White House narrative and so Congress couldn’t use that assessment to criticize Obama, Biden, and Clinton. But why bother with facts…….

      2. Steven M. Joyce Avatar
        Steven M. Joyce

        You don’t even understand what the Benghazi issue was about. It is failure to take care of your people. For doing nothing and leaving them to die. Correct it was not a crime by legal sense but one of not doing what was right and ducking responsibility.

    2. Jake Spivey Avatar
      Jake Spivey

      If state Senator Elmon Gray (D – Sussex) were alive (& in office), would you vote for him?
      WWII veteran, businesman, VMI BoV pres. (’64-’66), served on the boards of many business and universities, the vestry of his church, and led efforts to establish Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a state holiday.
      As you describe “the left and the right,” that “D” means Gray was almost the “anti-christ” since he won re-election 4 times, enabling him to leave nothing but destruction in his wake.

  9. Bob X from Texas Avatar
    Bob X from Texas

    Read “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals “ a 1971 book by activist Saul D. Alinsky and “1984” by George Orwell to see the playbook the Left is using to tear down VMI and the USA.

  10. DJRippert Avatar

    Northam’s speech at VMI was cowardly. No public. No alumni. Cadets told to be respectful. Mandatory attendance. A simple minded lecture from a simple minded governor. Thank God his four years of buffoonery will soon come to an end.

    1. To be followed by four years of Trumpista buffoonery by the electee. And that’s why I’ll never venture into ole Virginny ever again.

      Dan Prall VMI ’62

  11. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Northam had one other option he could have (and I would have) taken in the beginning: toss the whole thing to the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ, wipe his hands, and forget it.

    Of course, we all know how that turned out for VMI the last time the feds got involved.

    1. If that had happened. VMI would’ve been pulverized – and rightfully so.

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