Monday, August 5, 2013

The Bridgebuilder



  This is in the nature of an autobiography, but it is not strictly speaking an autobiography. It will focus mostly on my life in the USCG and the USSSA. There will be some mention of other events in my personal life. My personal experiences, reactions, and observations will be the consistent cord that runs throughout.

This is not intended an a historical treatise for the period between 1947 and XXXX. It will mention only the events that impacted directly and indirectly upon my life and my maturation. There are many people, places and things that could be included but are not. I have written as I have been inspired by the Almighty God who has lead, guided, and protected me from the earliest of my existence until the present. I will describe how these people and events have impressed me at the time of their occurrences, and also occasionally how they have seemed to me in retrospect.

I do not wish to burden this narrative with detail, so I have taken the literary license to pick and choose. Some people will be mentioned who may have wished that they had been forgotten. Others may hold it against me that I did not mention them. I apologize in advance.
(Ensign L. Steverson receives his Commission from Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the Graduation speaker for the Class of 1968.)

LLS (born March 13, 1947) was one of the first two Blacks to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) in 1968. Later, as chief of (G-PMR-3), the newly formed Minority Recruiting Section of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), he was charged with desegregating the Coast Guard Academy by recruiting minority candidates. He retired from the Coast Guard in 1988 and in 1990 was appointed to the bench as a Federal Administrative Law Judge with the Office of Hearings and Appeals, Social Security Administration.

Between 1988 and 1990 he was an insurance account executive sales person for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He applied for and was accepted into a Jusis Doctor/MBA training program. In 1989 he earned over $100 thousand dollars in sales commissions.

He was born and raised in Millington, Tennessee, the oldest of three children of Jerome and Ruby Steverson. His brother, Gary Anthony, was born 27 Sep 1949; and his sister, Karen Yvonne, was born 10 March 1951. At the age of 5 he was enrolled in the E. A. Harrold elementary school in a segregated school system. He later attended the all Black Woodstock High School in Memphis, Tennessee, graduating valedictorian. He was the first member of his family to earn a high school diploma. Woodstock was also known as Shelby County Training School.














In 1913 Shelby County Training School was established for African-American students. Boarding students performed all necessary chores, including gardening, cooking, cleaning, and laundering. The school would remain segregated for 57 years. Professor T. J. Johnson was the school's first principal. Later the school became known as Woodstock High School. African-American students from elementary school within a 30 mile radius of Woodstock were bussed to Woodstock to finish their high school education. Under Professor R. J. Roddy the school became noted for its strict high school course guidelines. In 1923 it graduated its first high school class of 3 students. In 1964 the graduating class comprised 98 students. The valedictorian was London Steverson, the first graduate to receive an appointment from the United States Coast Guard Academy. In 1970 the school was desegregated. With the admission of white students the school became an elementary school.

The Story of Woodstock High School, Part 2
Graduates Reflect on Historic Mid-South Black School
Last Edited: Thursday, 13 Nov 2008, 5:11 PM CST
Created: Thursday, 13 Nov 2008, 5:11 PM CST

Historical Marker at the site of the Shelby County Training School, which later became Woodstock High School. (Photo credit: cgachasehall.blogspot.com) Les Smith, FOX13 News


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WHBQ FOX13 myfoxmemphis.com) -- Through the fading decades and succeeding generations, quality education has been the golden thread used to weave an eternal bond between students and teachers at Northwest Shelby County's Woodstock School.

As the school's former vice-principal for 16 years, Vernon Bacon, proudly says, "Woodstock was a family. Just like a family and right now those people that are still living that taught at Woodstock. That went to Woodstock. They still feel the same."

Starting in 1913, the county's first Negro co-educational school, then located on Woodstock-Cuba Road, relied on it's self sufficiency. Boys planted and tended gardens and fields which provided food for students and faculty members living in wooden dorms. Girls put their domestic science skills to use in cooking and sewing. The close-knit atmosphere experienced by teachers and students created a link of caring and concern which extended long past regular school hours.

Willie Marshall Parker explains, "Woodstock was a twelve month school. Even though school was out, we still had teachers on campus that cared and interacted with the students even when school was out."

Memphis businessman, Pat Carter, describes, "If you were having trouble with math, then your math teacher would stay with you. It might be six o'clock or seven o'clock. We're still going over that math."

Parker's sister, Billie Jean, agrees saying, "You got to know the teachers much better and just knew that this was heaven. And it was heaven for Woodstock."

But, in the 1940's and '50's Mid-South, even the educational "heaven" enjoyed at the all-Black school wasn't immune to the prejudices and intrusions from outside its friendly confines. Bacon called "disruptive" a practice the school had no way of stopping.

"The plantation owners would come to the school. If a child came to school his parents brought him to school and they would get him out of class to plant or pick cotton. And I thought that was the worst thing in the world. But, you had no choice back in those days."

However, while missed weeks in the classroom due to "King Cotton" was regarded as a necessary evil, a greater threat to the serenity of Woodstock ironically came through a process meant to expand and improve the quality of education. The successes won in the Civil Rights Movement had inadvertently spawned what would become Woodstock's greatest nemesis and lead to its eventual demise as a high school. Vernon Bacon says the gradual integration of schools in Shelby County led many on the schools devoted faculty to fear calls from the Superintendent's office. He remembers being present when one such call came for a veteran teacher.

Bacon relates, "So when she answered the telephone he was transferring her from Woodstock to a white school. And she just almost passed out. She just fainted almost."

As a student, Carter says "What we thought about it was that we were gonna lose those teachers and that we were gonna be short changed."

Current middle school teacher, Charlotte Smith, remembers how hostility to the changes grew, "The class of 1967..during that year everyone was required to do a senior speech. And they had started to get a little militant. So, it ended that year."

Retired teacher, Trent McVay adds, "We were all disappointed. Not to be going to an integrated school. But, we were disappointed we were having to leave what we thought was a great school. We felt like maybe the other school should be coming to us."

In 1970, with high schoolers sent to Millington, Woodstock became a middle school. But, more than 35 years after those transformations, the commitment to a school that produced many of the leading Black educators, civic leaders, businessmen and athletes in Memphis and the rest of the country remains strong and untarnished. A new generation of teachers continues to spread the gospel of education and moral virtues previously espoused by iconic principal R.J.Roddy to the current Woodstock middle school students.

In response middle school counselor, Adrian Parks Logan, smiles and admits, "We heard a lot about it and a lot about Mr. Roddy and what it meant to be an Aggie. So, when I was going to school it meant a lot of school pride. It meant something to go to school at Woodstock."

Current Phys-Ed teacher, David Jordan, chimes in, "We've all graduated from college. We're still in school completing other degrees and we've all come back here because we want to be here."

One of our trio of young teachers, DeAnna Smith, laments, "Some students aren't getting that love and affection that they need. That's why we always try to keep the networks of communication open."

Carter goes on to reflect, "I think it's so important that you have somebody you can latch on to. Because we all need someone. A need to belong. A desire to achieve. An understanding of hard work's potential rewards. All combined to establish the enduring spirit and pride of a school and a community that still sees itself as one."

Vice-Principal Bacon concludes, "And everywhere we go, I'm talking about teachers now, and we see Woodstock students. They always greet us well and they say that they are what they are because of us. And that's the highest compliment. That's the highest compliment anybody could have."


A Presidential Executive Order issued by President Truman had desegregated the armed forces in 1948, but the service academies were lagging in officer recruiting.

(President John F. Kennedy onboard the Presidential Yacht, the Manitou, which moored at the Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT.)

 President John F. Kennedy specifically challenged the United States Coast Guard Academy to tender appointments to Black high school students. Steverson was one of the Black student offered such an appointment, and when he accepted the opportunity to be part of the Class of 1968, he became the second African American to enter the previously all-white military academy.


(Cadet 4th Class Kenny Boyd and  Candy, a friend of Cadet Steverson. circa 1964 in New London, CT.)



There were two Black cadets in the Class of 1968. London Steverson and Kenneth Boyd became the first two Kennedy Cadets.

On June 4, 1968 he graduated from the CGA with a BS degree in Engineering and a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 1974, while still a member of the Coast Guard, he entered The National Law Center of The George Washington University and graduated in 1977 with a Juris Doctor of Laws Degree. He worked full-time at Coast Guard Headquarters, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC, and attended law school at night.

(Excerpt from DF 68-70):
Outer space and Antarctica are the last frontiers. The original Star Trek series made space junkies and Trekies out of the Baby Boom generation. I worship and adore Captain James T. Kirk, Doctor Spock and Lieutenants Sulu and Uhuru of the Star Ship Enterprise. I think of them in the same breath as Robert F. Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen, and Admiral Richard Byrd. But, it was the later that I followed to the Last Frontier at the bottom of the globe, Antarctica. This is the story of my life at the South Pole during Operations Deep Freeze 1968-69 and 1969-70.
    The U. S. Navy’s Operation Deep Freeze was established to provide logistical support for the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in the peaceful pursuit of unlocking the secrets of the Last Frontier on earth. Scientists from the United States and 11 other nations gathered in Antarctica on July 1, 1957  and began the systematic scientific study of the ice, water and the atmosphere of Antarctica.
      National Geographic Magazine in the February 1907 issue said that there is a land south of the Straits of Magellan twice the size of the United States that is called the most mysterious land in the world. I can say of this land just as the Queen of Sheba said of King Solomon, the half has never been told. After having spent about two years of my life in pursuit of her secrets, and having traveled the length and breadth of Alaska, I can say that Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest, emptiest, and the most remote place on the earth that I have ever visited. It has no native human population, and no flora or fauna except for a few mosses and four species of seals and penguins.
(Belanger, Dian Olson: DEEP FREEZE, The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica’s Age of Science. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 2006)
Preface
Trying to write a book about my life is like trying to describe the landscape by looking out the window of a moving train. The events continue to unfold faster than one can describe them. My life is a work in progress. For this reason I have decided to look at my life in phases that have a clearly defined beginning and an end. In this book I intend to describe the most adventurous and satisfying part of my life immediately after graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) in June 1968.
There were xxx people in my graduating class. I was #xxx out of xxx. The number one man in my class was the top graduate. His name was Tom Jenkins, and we ended up serving on the same ship as our first duty station. That is the USCGC Glacier (WAGB-4). That is quite amazing considering there were xxx between me and the top man.
The top graduate was given the first choice from the List Of Available Billets that had to be filled from my class. The number two man was given the second pick from the assignments left on the List. This continued consecutively until all the billets were filled. Needless to say, some of the people further down the precedence list did not have much of a choice. They were forced to choose among what was left.
I was really fortunate because not many people in my class relished the thought of 7 or 8 month patrols to the South Pole. And there was always the threat of have to spend the entire winter on a ship frozen in the multi-year pack ice. Also, some of my considerate friends who were helping to manage the selections let it be known that I wanted to be assigned in Long Beach, California where a large portion of my family lived. The Glacier was tied up in Long Beach, California. So, it is possible that some officers who would have chosen the Glacier did not out of deference to me.
I do not think there were many in that category for several reasons. Many of my classmates were getting married within days of graduation. Their brides to be did not want them to go aboard ship that would be away from home for 6 month to a year. They wanted ships that were in large metropolitan areas that would go out for a day or two at the most and return to home port.
Not all of my classmates were married. Many of the single members, most wanted to be assigned to units that would deploy to Viet Nam. They were the ones we considered the most gung-ho. They thought that operational assignments to Viet Nam would improve their chances for fast promotions and give them more leverage in future assignments. Many of these were the off-springs of military members. They knew more about service life and what was required to have a successful career. All academy graduates were convinced that we would serve in the military for 20 years or more. Most of us thought we would be promoted to Flag Rank of at least Rear Admiral.
My first duty assignment after graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy was in Antarctic research logistical support. In July 1968 I reported aboard the Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Glacier (WAGB-4), an icebreaker operating under the control of the Commander Naval Support Forces, Antarctica, U.S. Navy, and served as a deck watch officer and the head of the Marine Science Department. I traveled to Antarctica during two patrols from July 1968 to August 1969, supporting the research operations of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Research Project in and around McMurdo Station. During the 1969 patrol the CGC Glacier responded to an international distress call from the Argentine icebreaker General San Martin, which we freed from being icebound in multi-year pack ice.

The trip from Long Beach, California required the ship to cross the International Date Line, the Equator and the 50 Degrees south Latitude. Each Line Crossing is steeped in nautical history. Any sailor crossing these Lines is required to undergo an initiation ritual.

The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the Coast Guard which commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the equator. Originally the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs.
The two-day event is a ritual of reversal in which the older and experienced enlisted crew essentially takes over the ship from the officers. Physical assaults in keeping with the 'spirit' of the initiation are tolerated, and even the inexperienced crew is given the opportunity to 'take over'. The transition flows from established order to the controlled 'chaos' of the Pollywog Revolt, the beginnings of re-order in the initiation rite as the fewer but experienced enlisted crew converts the 'Wogs' through physical tests, then back to, and thereby affirming, the pre-established order of officers and enlisted. Like the old physically- and emotionally-intensive boot camp, the "Crossing the Equator" ritual deconstructs then reconstructs the initiates' experience from newbie outsider into the experienced military fraternity.
The eve of the equatorial crossing is called Pollywogs' Revolt and, is a mild type of reversal of the day to come. 'Wogs' - all of the uninitiated - are allowed to capture and 'interrogate' any shellbacks they can find.
After crossing the Equator, Pollywogs receive subpoenas to appear before King Neptune and his court (usually including his first assistant Davy Jones and her Highness Amphitrite and often various dignitaries, who are all represented by the highest ranking seamen), who officiate at the ceremony, which is often preceded by a Beauty Contest of men dressing up as women, each department of the ship being required to introduce one contestant in swimsuit drag. Afterwards, some wogs may be "interrogated" by King Nepture and his entourage, and the use of 'truth serum' (hot sauce + after shave + ?) and whole uncooked eggs put in the mouth. During the ceremony, the Pollywogs undergo a number of increasingly disgusting ordeals (wearing clothing inside out and backwards; crawling on hands and knees on nonskid-coated decks; being swatted with short lengths of firehose; being locked in stocks and pillories and pelted with mushy fruit; being locked in a water coffin of salt-water and bright green sea dye (fluorescent sodium salt); crawling through chutes or large tubs of rotting garbage; kissing the Royal Baby's belly coated with axle grease, hair chopping, etc), largely for the entertainment of the Shellbacks.
Once the ceremony is complete, a Pollywog receives a certificate declaring his new status. Another common status is the Golden shellback, a person who has crossed the equator at the 180th meridian (international date line). When a ship must cross these lines, the ship's captain will usually intentionally plot a course across the Golden X so that the ship's crew can be initiated into the Golden Shellbacks.
In the 19th century and earlier, the this Equator-crossing ceremony was quite a brutal event, often involving beating "pollywogs" with boards and wet ropes and sometimes throwing the victims over the side of the ship, dragging the pollywog in the surf from the stern. In more than one instance, sailors were reported to have been killed while participating in a crossing the line ceremony.
As late as World War II, the line crossing ceremony was still rather rough and involved activities such as the "Devil's Tongue" which would be an electrified piece of metal poked into the sides of those deemed pollywogs. Beatings were often still common, usually with wet firehoses, and several World War II Navy deck logs speak of sailors visiting sickbay after crossing the line.


My first duty assignment after CGA was on an icebreaker in Antarctic research logistical support. In July 1968 he reported aboard the Coast Guard Cutter (CGC) Glacier [2] (WAGB-4), an icebreaker operating under the control of the U.S. Navy, and served as a deck watch officer and head of the Marine Science Department. We traveled to Antarctica during two patrols from July 1968 to August 1969 (Operation Deep Freeze 1968 and Deep Freeze 1969), supporting the research operations of the National Science Foundation's United States Antarctic Research Project Scientists (USARPS) in and around McMurdo Station and the Ross Ice Shelf. During the 1969 patrol the CGC Glacier responded to an international distress call from the Argentine icebreaker General SanMartin, which was ice-bound and unable to maneuver. The CGC Glacier freed the San Martin.

He received another military assignment from 1970 to 1972 in Juneau, Alaska as a Search and Rescue Officer in the Operations Center of Commander, Coast Guard District Seventeen (CCGD17). Before being certified as an Operations Duty Officer, it was necessary to become thoroughly familiar with the geography and topography of the Alaskan remote sites. Along with his office mate, LTJG Herbert Claiborne "Bertie" Pell, the son of Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, he was sent on a familiarization tour of Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force bases. The bases visited were Base Kodiak, Base Adak Island, and Attu Island, in the Aleutian Islands.[3] He also visited Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, and the Southern Alaskan cities of Sitka, Wrangle, Petersberg, and Ketchikan.

He was the Operation's Duty Officer on September 4, 1971 when an emergency call was received that an Alaskan Airlines Boeing 727 airline passenger plane was overdue at Juneau airport. This was a Saturday and the weather was foggy with drizzling rain. Visibility was less than one-quarter mile. The 727 was en route to Seattle, Washington from Anchorage, Alaska with a scheduled stop in Juneau. There were 109 people on board and there were no survivors. He received the initial alert message and began the coordination of the search and rescue (SAR) effort. In a matter of hours the wreckage from the plane, with no survivors, was located on the side of a mountain about five miles from the airport. For several weeks the body parts were collected and reassembled in a staging area in the National Guard Armory only a few blocks from the Search and Rescue Center where he first received the distress broadcast.[4]. Later a full investigation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the cause of the accident was equipment failure.[5]
For weeks those body parts were being assembled in the Armory and the stench in the capital was overbearing.

Another noteworthy incident was his involvement as an Operations Officer during the seizure of two Russian fishing vessels, the Kolevan and the Lamut for violating an international agreement prohibiting foreign vessels from fishing in United States territorial waters. The initial attempts at seizing the Russian vessels almost precipitated an international incident when the Russian vessels refused to proceed to a U. S. port, and instead sailed toward the Kamchatka Peninsula. Russian MIG fighter planes were scrambled, as well as American fighter planes from Elmendorf Air Force Base before the Russian vessels changed course and steamed back to Anchorage, where a U.S. Attorney was waiting to prosecute the vessels for the violations of fishing treaties.

LCDR Duke Schnieder, the Law Enforcement Officer, in CCGD17 never tired of relating the tense events that almost triggered a shooting war in the Bearing Sea. The captains of the two Russian ships were drinking heavily. They were afraid their careers were over and their families would be ruined. LCDR Duke Schnieder was part on one of the armed boarding parties. He said the captain came onto the bridge of the ship and ordered the helmsman to change course and to steam towards Russia. Duke Schneider ordered the captain to counterman that order and to return to a course heading for Kodiak. The Russian captain refused. The USCG Boarding Party was armed. I do not know whether they had live ammunition or whether the weapons were loaded. However, Duke Schneider said that he pulled his 45 caliber pistol, cocked it, and pointed it at the head of the Russian captain. Then he told him, like the Godfather don Vito Corlione, either you order the helmsman to steer for Kodiak or I am going to splatter your brains all over the bridge of the ship. The captain was slow to respond, perhaps because he was drunk or because he thought Duke Schneider was bluffing. Every person on the bridge, Russian and American, held their breath until the Russian captain gave the order to change course. Both vessels steered a course for Kodiak. They would be held at USCG Base Kodiak, while the U. S. Attorney went into Federal Court in Anchorage, Alaska and brought an action against each vessel for violations of the international treaty governing where foreign fishing vessels were allowed to fish in proximity to U. S. territorial waters.

The Operation's Center, CCGD17, had been in constant communications with several federal agencies in Washington, DC; among them, were the DOD, DOJ, NSA, DOT, and the State Department. It is not certain at this point whether Duke Schneider had been given permission to fire on the Russian captain or to simply allow him to sail back into Russia with the two USCG Boarding Parties onboard. either scenario was fraught with dire consequences.

Because of his icebreaker experience, LLS was later made the Seventeenth District's first Ice Operations Officer. With the increased activity at Point Barrow and on the North Slope of Alaska brought on by the discovery of the vast oil reserves, more Coast Guard icebreakers were making patrols North of the Bering Sea, where icebreaking is necessary.

The USCG had taken over all the USN's ice breakers; ie, Burton Island, Glacier, North Wind, West Wind, and East Wind. The Wind Class breaker had been received from Russia. Plans were underway to build a new Polar Class icebreaker. They were to be named variously, Polar Star, Polar Bear, etc.


The Coast Guard did not have a separate Judge Advocate General's Corp (JAG). Coast Guard lawyers were called "legal specialists". These law specialists were line officers and could rotate out of specialty, that is out of their regular legal billets. Frequently these tours of duty out of specialty were in law related areas. LLS served one such four year tour of duty as the Chief Marine Investigating Officer for the Marine Inspection Office (MIO) in Battery Park, New York from 1982 to 1986. This job was similar to that of a city prosecutor. With a staff of ten investigating officers, he would investigate marine disasters for negligence and causes of action. Any marine personnel found to have violated a marine safety law would be charged and tried before a Coast Guard administrative law judge at the World Trade Center. In the case of a major marine disaster with multiple loss of life, a formal Board of Inquiry would be convened under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). These Inquiries often would result in promulgation of new marine safety regulations under Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). One such incident was the Case of The Joan LaRie III, a charter fishing vessel that sank of the coast of New Jersey on October 24, 1982. [6][7][8]

In July 1972 LLS was reassigned from Alaska to Washington, D.C. to become the Chief of the newly formed Minority Recruiting Section of the USCG, and was charged with working toward desegregating the nearly all-white USCG, starting with the United States Coast Guard Academy.

From 1876 until 1962 the Academy had not admitted any African-American cadets. One, Merle James Smith, graduated in 1966, two, LS and Kenny Boyd, graduated in 1968 and one, Willie Pickrum, graduated in 1970. After that none were admitted until LLS was placed in charge of the national recruiting effort. As the second minority cadet to enter and graduate from this institution, he was fairly well prepared for this challenging assignment.

He traveled the country looking for qualified minority high school students who could compete for admission. Since the CGA was the only one of the United States military academies that does not require a Congressional appointment, and admission was strictly on the basis of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) with additional consideration of extra-curricular involvement, minority applicants were believed to stand a better chance of being admitted to the Coast Guard Academy than to Annapolis, West Point or the Air Force Academy. Also, since there was only one Black U. S. Senator, Ed Brooke of Massachusetts, and few Black congressmen, there were slim possibilites for Black students obtaining Congressional Appointments.

His efforts were rewarded in 1973 when 28 Black cadets were sworn into the Class of 1977, and again in 1974 when 20 Black cadets were admitted as part of the Class of 1978. It was from these cadets that the Coast Guard's first African-American officers of flag rank were to come in the 1990s; officers such as Admiral Joseph Jones, Admiral Errol Brown and Admiral Manson K. Brown.

While he was charged first and foremost with recruiting cadets for the Academy (because that is where the bulk of the career officers would come from), he was also requested to find minority college graduates who were willing receive direct commissions as lawyers and as aviators. These officers were already college graduates and had no need to attend the four year Academy, instead received a three month orientation at the Coast Guard Officer Training Center. He recruited several people from the Vanderbilt University Law School.

After serving two years in this position, he was replaced by the Academy's first graduate from Guam, Juan Tudela Salas.

A Righteous Calling To The Legal Profession.

It was a miracle that I became a lawyer. The odds were against me. I was born and raised in Millington, Tennessee, a small segregated town about 50 miles north of Memphis. At the age of 5 I was enrolled in the E. A. Harrold Elementary School. After completing the 8th grade I was transferred to Woodstock High School in Memphis, Tennessee. It was an all Black school.

 In 1964 I graduated valedictorian in a class of 98 students. I was one of the first 2 Kennedy Cadets to attend the United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut.

A Presidential Executive Order issued by President Truman had desegregated the armed forces in 1948, but the service academies were lagging in officer recruiting. President John F. Kennedy specifically challenged the United States Coast Guard Academy to tender appointments to Black high school students after noticing that the contingent marching in his Inaugaral Parade was all white. I was one of the Black student to be offered such an appointment.

On June 4, 1968 I graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor's of Science (BS) Degree in Engineering and a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life other than travel around the world as a Coast Guard officer.

 My first duty assignment out of the Academy was in Antarctic research logistical support. In July 1968 I reported aboard the U S Coast Guard Cutter Glacier (WAGB-4), an icebreaker operating under the control of the U.S. Navy. I served as a deck watch officer and head of the Marine Science Department. I traveled to Antarctica during two Operation Deep-Freeze Patrols from 1968 to 1969. Our mission was to support the research operations of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Research Project in and around McMurdo Station.

 My second military assignment was from 1970 to 1972 in Juneau, Alaska as a Search and Rescue Officer in the Operations Center of the 17th Coast Guard District Commander. Before being certified as an Operations Duty Officer, it was necessary to become thoroughly familiar with the geography and topography of the Alaskan remote sites. Along with my office mate, LTJG Herbert Claiborne "Bertie" Pell, the son of Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, I was sent on a familiarization tour of Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force bases. The bases visited were Base Kodiak, Base Adak Island, and Attu Island, in the Aleutian Islands.

 The two years in Alaska were mainly spent playing basketball, hunting, and fishing when not on duty in the Operations Center. I lived alone in Alaska and spent a lot of time reading the Bible. There were only two black and white television stations available, so I did not watch much television. One program that I watched religiously was "It Is Written", a show narrated by George Vanderman. I sent in a request for a Bible Course and a free Bible. The Bible was delivered by the pastor of the local Seventh Day Adventist Church, who came to visit me every week thereafter for a Bible study session.

 It was during this period that I began to feel a closer more person relationship to God. One night I had a vision. When I awakened I was positive I had heard the voice of God. It had spoken to me in a clear, cogent, and convincing tone. It said "Be a lawyer".

I had never even considered becoming a lawyer before that. I thought that my chances of becoming a lawyer were pretty slim. I was only an average student in college and I had not been an avid reader since college. I did not think I would do very well on a Law School Admission's Test. If I were to become a lawyer, it would be a miracle. I was about to find out that God works miracles, but not magic.

The very next day when I reported for work, I sent a message to Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC requesting re-assignment to Headquarters so that I could attend law school at night at the National Law Center, George Washington University. The request was granted immediately.

In July 1972 I was reassigned from Alaska to Washington, D.C. to become the Chief of the newly formed Minority Recruiting Section in Coast Guard Headquarters. I applied to three law schools. They were American University, Catholic University and George Washington University. Only one school responded to my application. That was George Washington University.

 In 1974, while working at Coast Guard Headquarters, I was accepted into the night school program at The National Law Center, The George Washington University. It was a long hard four years of grueling studies, but I graduated in 1977 with a Juris Doctorate of Laws Degree (JD). That was truly a miracle.

The Coast Guard did not have a separate Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG). Coast Guard lawyers are called "legal specialists". These law specialists are line officers and can rotate out of the regular legal assignments. Frequently these tours of duty out of specialty are in law related areas.

I served one such four year tour of duty as the Chief Marine Investigating Officer for the Marine Inspection Office in Battery Park, New York from 1982 to 1986. This job was similar to that of a city prosecutor. With a staff of ten investigating officers, I would investigate marine disasters for negligence and other causes of action. Any marine personnel found to have violated a marine safety law would be charged and tried before a Coast Guard administrative law judge (ALJ) at the World Trade Center.

In the case of a major marine disaster with multiple loss of life, a formal Board of Inquiry would be convened under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). These Inquiries often would result in promulgation of new marine safety regulations under Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

 One such incident was the Case of The Joan LaRie III, a charter fishing vessel that sank of the coast of New Jersey on October 24, 1982.

 One of my legal assignments was as a Law Specialist in the 12th Coast Guard District Office, San Francisco, California and as an Assistant U. S. Attorney for the collection of Civil Penalties under the Federal Boating Safety Act from 1979 to 1982. As an Assistant District Legal Officer, I was required to defend as well as prosecute military members who had been charged with violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Occasionally I was asked to represent other officers in administrative actions involving sexual harassment and discrimination. One such case was the Case of ENS Christine D. Balboni, who filed a complaint against three senior male officers and against the Department of Transportation and the United States Coast Guard (DOT Case No. 82-177).

Ensign Balboni was one of the first female graduates of the Coast Guard Academy. She graduated in the Class of 1981 and was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter RUSH, a high endurance law enforcement vessel stationed in Alameda, California. She filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment against three senior officers on board the RUSH.

 She alleged that false special fitness reports had been written concerning her and that the captain of the ship had requested her immediate transfer off the ship long before her normal rotation date. After no other lawyer would take her case, Commander Ronald Mathews, Chief of The 12th District Legal Office, assigned me to represent Ensign Balboni in a formal departmental administrative hearing before a federal administrative law judge.

The charges made by Ensign Balboni were determined to be valid. The relief granted was to have the false special fitness reports removed from her service record and destroyed. She was promoted to the next higher rank. Her career was saved. No disciplinary action was taken against the offending officers. ENS Balboni retired from the Coast Guard 25 years later with the rank of Captain.

In 1986 I was detailed to the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System (NNBIS) under the Office of Vice President at the time, George H. W. Bush. My office was in the World Trade Center, New York, NY.

When I retired in June 1988 I became the first African-American Coast Guard Academy graduate to retire as a regular line office from the service, and held the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. The only African American Coast Guard Academy graduate senior to me in rank had resigned his regular commission prior to retirement. He accepted in its place a reserve officer commission. My Black classmate, Kenny Boyd, was missing in action, since his disastrous departure from his tour of duty aboard a high endurance cutter at Governors Island, New York. His Commanding Officer had been Captain W. F. Guy. CAPT Guy had a reputation of being very tough on Black officers and enlisted men. It was alleged that CAPT Guy had figuratively thrown ENS Kenny Boyd off his ship.

I retired to Dumont, New Jersey and practiced law in New York, with a focus on family law and defending Coast Guardsmen accused of federal crimes.

 I am a retired member of the New York State, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and Tennessee Bar Associations.

 In July 1990 I was appointed a federal administrative law judge (ALJ) by President George W. Bush. I was assigned to the Ninth Region of the Social Security Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) in Downey,California.

In April 2009, I decided that I had done all that I could do in the legal profession. There were no other mountains to climb. God's miracle had lasted for over 35 years. It was time to move on. I retired from being United States Administrative Law Judge.

For the last few years I have devoted myself to philanthropic endeavors. The Steverson Collection at www.ekmk.hu and the Steverson Collection Book Club are two of the major endeavors of The Steverson Foundation to improve literacy and to spread American culture in the non-English speaking countries of Europe.

The Cultural Diplomacy Award was given to me and my family in April 2009 by the United States Ambassador to Hungary for helping create "a foundation of trust" with the people, which can be built on to reach political, economic, and military agreements; and that combats the notion that Americans are shallow, violent, and godless. We helped to affirm that Americans have such values as family, faith, and the desire for education in common with others; we helped to create a relationship with the people, which will endure beyond changes in government; we helped to reach influential members of the society, who could not be reached through traditional diplomatic functions; and, we donated a large collection of new, used, and rare English books to the American Corners of Hungary.

The State Department Cultural Diplomacy Award is designed to honor distinguished representatives of American culture whose efforts and artistry advance America's goals of mutual understanding and the deepening of friendship between the United States and others.


Judge London Steverson and Tony Curtis Forever Linked By Time and Honor.



Tony Curtis died September 30, 2010 at the age of 85. He will be remembered as both a Hollywood heartthrob and an actor with a gift for comedy. As the author of his own story he was met with mixed reviews. He was the son of Hungarian immigrants. On April 23, 2009 at about 5:00 PM at the American Embassy in Budapest, Hungary he was awarded the Cultural Diplomacy Award by Ambassador April Foley with Jeffrey Levine, the Charge d'Affaires, and Carolynn Glassman, the Cultural affairs Officer at the Embassy.
(Above, actor Tony Curtis and Carolyn Glassman, Cultural Attache at the Amrican Embassy in Budapest, Hungary)

Mr. Curtis was not the only person to receive the Cultural Diplomacy Award that day in Hungary. Earlier on the same day at the American Corner in Veszprem, Hungary Judge London Steverson had been presented with a Cultural Diplomacy Award. It was the opening day of the annual America Week Celebration in Hungary. The highlight of the day was the official opening of the Steverson Book Collection at the Veszprem Public Library. The Steverson Collection was a donation of over 5,000 books to the American Embassy and the people of Hungary from Judge Steverson's own personal collection. Judge Steverson's wife was born and raised in Veszprem, Hungary.

Marjorie Kehe of the Christian Science Monitor had this to say about this talented Hungarian-American. Curtis wrote his own life story twice, once in "Tony Curtis: The Autobiography" (1993) and then again in "American Prince: A Memoir" (2008).

In general, "The Autobiography" was better received. Library Journal wrote, "This is Tony Curtis's story in his own words, and it is a corker. His depiction of a boyhood as a poor New York City street kid ... is moving as well as philosophical and is a recurring theme throughout his life and remarkably diverse career.... This is a literate, first-class "star" autobiography, frank and absorbing but not for the prudish."

Publishers Weekly, however, was tougher on Curtis, commenting that,"If Curtis's vanity didn't interfere, one could more readily sympathize with the man as a survivor of a mean childhood and the drug addiction from which he is recovering. Unfortunately, he blames most of his troubles on others, beginning with his parents."

USA Today said of "An American Prince" that it was "[f]illed with fond recollections of [Curtis’s] friendships with the famous and powerful but punctuated, too, by harsh words for Hollywood legends he says did him wrong…. Curtis spares few intimate details about his years as a Hollywood lothario, including his teenage affair with a redheaded, ponytailed Marilyn Monroe.”

Most readers, however, seemed to feel that while Curtis's recounting of his childhood in a tough Lower East Side Manhattan neighborhood (the son of Hungarian immigrants, he didn't learn to speak English till he was 5) was absorbing, Curtis's bragging about his conquests of the opposite sex (he was married five times and had many affairs) was unappealing. ("Fun for a while, then kerplunk .... falls, like a promising cake gone bad," wrote one Amazon reader.)

In the end, however, it is not Tony Curtis the writer or even the man who will be remembered as much as it will be Tony Curtis the actor, star of "Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), "The Defiant Ones" (1958), "Some Like It Hot"(1959), and "Spartacus" (1960). And perhaps that would have been fine with the man who wrote, in "American Prince," that “All my life I had one dream and that was to be in the movies.”

I next worked as a Law Specialist in the 12th Coast Guard District Office, San Francisco, California and as an Assistant U. S. Attorney for the collection of Civil Penalties under the Federal Boating Safety Act from 1979 to 1982. An Assistant District Legal Officer, he was required to defend as well as prosecute military members who had been charged with violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Occasionally he was asked to represent other officers in administrative actions involving sexual harassment and discrimination. One such case was the Case of Christine D. Balboni against the Department of Transportation and the United States Coast Guard (DOT Case No. 82-177). Ensign Balboni was one of the first female graduates of the Coast Guard Academy. She graduated in the Class of 1981 and was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter RUSH, a high endurance law enforcement vessel stationed in Alameda, California. She filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment against three senior officers on board the RUSH. She alleged that false special fitness reports had been written concerning her and that the captain of the ship had requested her immediate transfer off the ship long before her normal rotation date. After no other lawyer would take her case, Commander Ronald Mathews, Chief of The 12th District Legal Office, assigned Lieutenant Commander Steverson to represent Ensign Balboni in a formal departmental administrative hearing before a federal administrative law judge. The charges made by Ensign Balboni were determined to be valid. The relief granted was to have the false special fitness reports removed from her service record and destroyed. She was promoted to the next higher rank. Her career was saved. No disciplinary action was taken against the offending officers.

He became the Chief of the Investigating Division at the Marine Inspection Office New York City. In 1986 he was detailed to the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System under the Office of Vice President at the time, George H. W. Bush.

When he retired in June 1988 he became the first African-American Coast Guard Academy graduate to retire as a regular line office from the service, and held the rank of Lieutenant-Commander during his last 10 years of service.

He retired to Dumont, New Jersey and practiced law in New York, with a focus on family law and defending Coast Guardsmen accused of federal crimes. He is a member of the New York State, New York City, and Tennessee Bar Associations.

The bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you forget to turn.(Will Rodgers)

In July 1990 he was appointed a federal administrative law judge by President George W. Bush. He was assigned to the Ninth Region of the Social Security Office of Hearings and Appeals in California. [12]

1990 In HK met VF fm Hamburg w/ HBK and PMB at SDA Doctors' Residence.

9/11/2001 watched WTC bombing im Bett mit VF.

11/2001 RC, a US Securities Officer fm London,England had a Reception; met SC at Casa Del Mar, Santa Monica. She was Glorious, Glamarious and Amorous; on Law Review and graduating from SWU Law school. She was from another world, dimension, planet, mind-set; at last, my love had come along.

11/11/2002 I Do.

In 2006 while on vacation at Newport Beach, California, he became aware of a AP news article on the internet concerning a pending court-martial of a USCGA cadet. Information was sparse. Based on the few facts he could ascertain, he perceived that the Black senior cadet singled out for a court-martial was the victim of racial discrimination.

He had started to write his recollections of his experiences as a cadet at CGA. He began to reflect on and write about the pending court-martial. He merely intended to reduce his thoughts to writing for his own personal benefit. He had been inspired by a book on blogging that he had recently read by Matt Droudge, the author of the Droudge Report.

(WHY WAS CADET 1ST CLASS WEBSTER SMITH GIVEN A GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL?)

Why was Cadet 1st Class Webster Smith investigated, charged, tried, and convicted? Why must this talented young man register as a sexual offender for the remainder of his life? Why did he not find any justice in the military justice system? How could his case go through the entire appeal's process and end up at the United States Supreme Court without being granted any relief? Why would Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security refuse to grant clemency in a case that clearly cries out for justice?

 At this point in history when America had come far enough to elect a Black President why was this shining example of the best and the brightest of the African Americans of his generation denied the equal protection of the law? Why was he relegated to the second rail of military justice? On the second rail one receives "almost equal protection".  Like much else in the law, equal protection is a myth for America's citizens of color. The myth gives one the illusion of fairness.

Could the answer have anything to do with the nature of the criminal justice system or the definition of crime?  Crime is a legal concept, and the law creates the crimes it punishes. But, what creates the criminal law?  Behind the law, above it, and surrounding it is our society. Before the law made certain behavior a crime, some aspect of social reality transformed certain behavior into a crime.

Justice is blind in the abstract. It cannot see or act on its own. It cannot create its own morals, principles and rules. That depends on society. Behind every legal determination of "guilty" lies a more powerful and more basic social and societal judgement, a judgement that this type of behavior is not acceptable. This type of behavior deserves to be prohibited and punished. Our society has long chosen to prohibit and punish interracial sex.

After society makes a social judgement that certain behavior, acts, or conduct is wrong, the criminal justice system goes to work. It refines and transforms the list of prohibited acts and behavior. It interprets the list of acts, and does whatever is necessary to catch, convict and punish the lawbreakers.

Bias is inevitable. Crime and punishment are highly charged, emotional, and political subjects. There is no way to wring prejudice, attitude, or race out of the system.



GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
UNITED STATES
v.
WEBSTER M. SMITH, CADET, U.S. COAST GUARD
FILED UNDER SEAL[*]

MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION FINDINGS OF FACT

During the summer training program at the start of their first class year, Cadet Smith and Cadet [SR] were both assigned to patrol boats that moored at Station Little Creek. Both lived in barracks rooms at the Station…she went on to state that on October 19th….she agreed to pose for a picture with him in which both of them were nude, and later that night allowed him to perform cunnilingus on her then she performed fellatio on him.
___________________________________

…. the Government’s objection that this evidence is inadmissible in accordance with M.R.E. 413 [sic] is SUSTAINED.

EFFECTIVE DATE
This order was effective on 26 May 2006.
Done at Washington, DC,
/s/
Brian Judge
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard
Military Judge



The Webster Smith case was a litmus test for justice in America. Every once in a while a case comes along that puts our humanity as a people, and as Americans, on trial. Everything that we profess to stand for as Americans was on trial. Our sense of justice in America and particularly in the U.S. Military was on trial. This was no ordinary trial. Our humanity was on trial. Our system of justice was on trial. This case dissolved the deceptive façade and exposed certain moral deficiencies in our system of justice. This case alone puts the legitimacy of the entire military justice system at risk.

This was not a sexual assault case. Webster Smith did not sexually assault anyone. What he did was engage in an act of consensual love making with a friend. He was charged and tried; his partner was not. Why not? They both violated the Coast Guard Academy Cadet Regulations by engaging in sexual activities in Chase Hall, the cadet barracks.

An article published in the New London DAY newspaper on 20 February 2008 entitled “Service Academies faulted in GAO report,”  stated: “In the summer of 2006, former cadet Webster Smith became the first student court-martialed at the Coast Guard Academy. He was acquitted of rape but convicted of extortion, sodomy and indecent assault.”
One might conclude that he was convicted of three of four charges. That is not correct. The truth is that of the 10 charges referred to the general court martial, Webster Smith was acquitted of one charge of rape, one count of extortion, one count of sodomy, one count of indecent assault and one charge of assault (five of 10 charges). All findings of guilty cited in the article related to one female.
That is only part of the story. The incidents related to Webster Smith were publicly announced as 16 pending charges in mid-February 2006. These charges concerned five women. In early 2006 the Coast Guard Investigative Service  (CGIS) began an investigation related to yet another woman (SR) and Webster Smith. This resulted in six additional charges, filed in March 2006. An Article 32 Investigation resulted in dismissal of 12 of the 22 charges.

 This means, 17 of 22 charged allegations were dismissed prior to trial (12 dismissals; five acquittals).(Merle J. Smith Jr.,Esquire, Individual Military Attorney for Webster Smith.
Waterford, CT.)

One Judge on the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals found that former cadet Webster Smith was denied a fair trial and that the case should have been sent back to the trial court for a new trial. He found that the Case of United States vs Webster Smith should have been returned to the Convening Authority for a new trial.
The Judge found so many discretionary errors in the court-martial proceedings that he had no choice but to rule that Webster Smith had been denied a fair trial.

It was a classic case of "he-said, she-said". The trial came down to simply a credibility issue. The big question was who was telling the truth and who was not.

This was a question for the jury to decide. It was a fact question. The jury is the trier of facts. The court-martial judge (CAPT Brian Judge) went to extraordinary lengths to keep the question out of the hands of the jury. He took it upon himself to decide the issue of credibility. That is why Webster Smith was convicted.

The jury had no idea what the real issue was. They were kept in the dark. They were not given proper instructions. The judge decided who was the more credible witness. The judge abused his discretion.

The judge went beyond the authority and power delegated to him under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and the Federal Rules of Evidence. Webster Smith was denied his Sixth Amendment Rights.

One does not have to read the Appeals Court decision to know that an accused at a court-martial has a right to cross-examine the witnesses against him. Anyone who has watched Perry Mason or Tom Cruise in the movie "A Few Good Men", would come away with an appreciation for the fact that the jury has the responsibility to decide what the facts are and who is not telling the truth.

When a judge does not allow the jury to do its job, he commits reversible error. When a judge confuses his duties with the duties assigned to the jury, then he has abused his discretion and that constitutes reversible error.

The prosecution was allowed to ask Webster Smith questions that were like bombshells that would cave in the sides of a Sherman Tank, but on cross-examination of the principal witness, the Defense lawyers were reduced to tip-toeing through the tulips. The uncorroborated testimony of the principal witness (SR) was a roadside bomb to Webster Smith's defense.

If the jury had only been allowed to follow the Yellow Brick Road and to resolve the credibility issue itself, then, at least, the trial of Webster Smith would have had some semblance of a fair trial. The trial judge, CAPT Brian Judge, was not taking any chances. He took matters into his own hands. He jumped onto the Scales of Justice and pulled them way down on the side of the Prosecution.

In a case where the principal witness was allowed to hide behind the military judge for protection from thorough cross-examination; and where facts and perceptions may have been dispositive of the ultimate issue, Truth can be elusive. In a case where a convincing and charming fabricator of facts can sway a jury that has not been fully informed, and where the jury has only been given some of the relevant facts, the judge left a lot of room for mischief on the part of a sneaky prosecutor. The judge left a lot of room for the imagination of the jury to run wild when he allowed the Prosecutor to introduce just enough evidence to put Webster Smith in a compromising position; but he denied the Defense lawyers an opportunity to explain the contradictions by cross-examining the principal witness. Then the judge left it to the jury to "connect the dots". This was terribly unfair to the accused, Webster Smith.

Webster Smith was reduced to "a bug under a glass jar" for inspection, and the principal witness was kept as snug as a bug in a rug. Eventually all of this discretionary "hokus-pokus" became so egregious as to eliminate any possibility of a fair trial for Webster Smith. Finding the Truth became next to impossible. This case should have been remanded for a new trial. To send the case back to the Superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy, the Convening Authority, for a new trial was the only fair way to remedy the errors that were committed in the court-martial of Webster Smith.

The Founding Fathers and the framers of the U S Constitution provided procedural safeguards for criminal defendents facing the awesome powers on the Federal Government. They gave him; among other rights, the right to remain silent, the right to trial by jury, and the right to confront and to cross-examine the witnesses against him. These rights are inalienable. These rights cannot be taken away; not by the Government, and certainly not by a part-time trial judge.

One judge on the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals saw clearly how the legal system, the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Military Rules of Evidence were misused to deny Webster Smith a fair trial.

I believe a great travesty of justice was committed. A gross miscarriage of justice was done at the Coast Guard Academy. The entire process was flawed.
The only evidence was the word of a couple of incredible females. There was no physical evidence whatsoever.
Webster Smith has apologized for his behavior. Confession is good for the soul. It is the first step toward true rehabilitation. No one else involved in the entire episode showed such strength of character. The Academy is a character building institution.


 Cadet Webster Smith was a victim of jealousy, racial discrimination, a violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause, and last but not the least, a victim of a double standard.
He was one of the most loved and respected cadets on campus. But he had two things going against him. One, he had dated the first female Regimental Commander, and the Dean of Admissions’ daughter. Both were white. Since they were white and Cadet Smith was Black, it did not sit well with the Commandant of Cadets.
Racial Prejudice is still very much alive at the Academy.


 America's fighting men have come in many guises, shapes and sizes. They have had to fight all of America's enemies, both foreign and domestic. Cadet Webster Smith had to fight his own senior officers, friends, and mentors. In the end he was proud. He had fought the good fight. Even TIME magazine carried the quote of the first cadet in Coast Guard history to be tried by a General Court-martial.

http://www.time.com/time/quotes/0,26174,1209244,00.html


Less than 60 days after the verdict was rendered in the Webster Smith case, I predicted that the case would make it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court justices are not elected. They are appointed with the advice and consent of the Congress. The Nine Justices of the Supreme Court are the least democratic branch of the federal government. They have no constituency. They do not have to conform to the biases of the majority. They are the Court of Last Resort; so, they are infallible. With few exceptions, they have dealt with evenhandedly with all of America's citizens.

They do not have to sit for re-election. They are appointed for life. They are totally isolated from busy bodies on the Right or Left Side of the political spectrum. With one stroke of the pen, they may act to curb injustices, correct unsavory attitudes, and breathe new life into a living Constitution.

Historically we have looked to them to solve our most vexing social problems. They are America's ultimate arbiters of justice; and, that includes military justice.

Aside from the Webster Smith Case, I cannot think of any case or incident in Coast Guard history that affected more directly the hearts, minds, and daily lives of all members of the United States Coast Guard.

The U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals had to review the Webster Smith case. It had no choice. Article 66 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, requires the Coast Guard Criminal appeals Court to review all cases of trial by court-martial in which the sentence as approved by the Convening Authority extends to dismissal of a cadet from the Coast Guard, and/or a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge, unless the accused waives appellate review. Webster Smith did not waive appellate review. He appealed his conviction. Oral arguments in the Case of The Appeal of the Court-martial Conviction of Cadet Webster Smith was scheduled for January 16, 2008 in Arlington, Virginia.

A legal brief filed by his lawyers claimed the convictions should have been thrown out because the defense team was not allowed to fully cross-examine one of his accusers during Smith's court martial. They said that meant the jury didn't hear testimony that the accuser, a female cadet, Shelly Roddenbush, had once had consensual sex with a Coast Guard enlisted man and then called it sexual assault. If she lied once, she very well could have lied again.

The Coast Guard Court of of Criminal Appeals is made up of Coast Guard Officers. It has the power to decide matter of both fact and law. Decisions of the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals may be appealed to the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces (CAAF). It is made up of five civilian judges, appointed to 15 year terms. It decides only issues of law. Its decisions may be appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court. The Webster Smith Case followed this long and winding path all the way to the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of Webster Smith. The justices declined to hear the case without comment.

Webster Smith was proud of his decision to fight the good fight all the way to the end of the road. See TIME magazine June 29, 2006.

http://www.time.com/time/quotes/0,26174,1209244,00.html


https://www.amazon.com/author/cgachall.blogspot.com

Steverson wrote a blog under a pseudonym, ichbinalj. He was outed by Peter Stimson, who wrote the Tidewater Musings blog.


{["Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Of truth, and of consequences
Some things I find, well, interesting. And, this is one of them. From yesterdays' Hartford Courant, by way of Topix.com:
After an unusually brief and tumultuous tenure, the superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is being replaced.

Rear Adm. James C. Van Sice is heading to Washington, D.C., to take on an assignment at Coast Guard headquarters. His transfer comes as a task force - formed after the high-profile court-martial of one of his cadets - continues its reviews of the policies and culture at the school under his watch. Typically, the academy's superintendent is in place for four years before being reassigned. Van Sice has been in charge of the academy since May 2005. He's being replaced by Rear Adm. J. Scott Burhoe, 51, who will take over during the winter break.

Coincidentally, Van Sice, 54, has become the subject of a separate investigation, the nature of which isn't being revealed by the Coast Guard.

Cmdr. Jeff Carter, spokesman for the service, said information about Van Sice arose during the task force's review of the academy. Members of the task force decided the information was 'beyond the scope of their charter,' so they forwarded the matter to the Coast Guard chief of staff, Vice Adm. Robert Papp, who had formed the task force.

Papp assigned another rear admiral, Larry Hereth, to conduct an 'administrative investigation' into the matter. Carter said the administrative review didn't play into the job switch for Van Sice and that Van Sice's new job as director of personnel management shows that his superiors still have 'confidence he can effectively serve.' Van Sice's new job puts him in charge of pay, recruiting, housing and personnel policy for the entire 56,000 member Coast Guard. By the second week in January, Burhoe, who leaves a job as assistant commandant for governmental and public affairs in Washington, will be in charge of the school as it deals with the fallout from two recent sexual assault cases involving cadets. The timing of the job switch, according to a statement from Papp, is based on the expected release of the task force's findings next month. Burhoe will lend a 'fresh perspective' to act on the task force's recommendations for the school. Carter said Burhoe is somebody 'who has not been involved in any of the issues the task force is looking at.' It was after Van Sice took command of the 130-year-old school that an internal investigation resulted in sexual assault charges being brought against a cadet, Webster Smith.
Of some interest: Rear Admiral Van Sice is leaving the Academy well under the usual four-year tour length; Rear Admiral Van Sice is leaving in the middle of the school year, rather than the usual summer rotation time.

Something is afoot here, for sure.

Another Coast Guard blogger and pundit is certain, also, that something is afoot. Check out this blog, sometimes known as CGA Chase Hall. I'm actually not certain what the title of the blog is; it seems to change. Right now it's titled The Full Story. Setting the Record straight. First Black Coast Guard cadets in Chase Hall. What's more important than what the title of the blog is, is who the author is. CGA Chase Hall or The Full Story or whatever is penned by London Steverson. Who is London Steverson? Well, he's a federal administrative law judge out in California. But that's all that makes his point of view unique. Judge Steverson was the second Black student to be a cadet to the Coast Guard Academy.

We all have heard the story about how President Kennedy ordered the integration of the Academy. From the CG historian's office:
During his inaugural parade, President John F. Kennedy noticed that there were no African-Americans in the Coast Guard Academy cadet unit marching in the parade. He called Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon that night and ordered him to admit African-Americans into the next Coast Guard Academy class. Dillon complied immediately.
That would have been January 1961... Merle James Smith came to the academy in the summer of 1962. That's not the speediest implementation of presidential policy I've ever seen... ;-) Not until 1964, with Kennedy dead and buried, were there any other appointments of Blacks to the Academy. That summer, two arrived; one of those was London Steverson, who has now taken to blogging.

Judge Steverson's blog is interesting reading. I call your attention to the current posts, where he discusses current goings-on at the Academy, and his older posts, where he discusses, in a sort-of oral-history-in-the-third-person, his life in Chase Hall and the Coast Guard. Fascinating stuff.

I also find fascinating his analysis of Admiral Thad Allen. He calls Admiral Allen. I'll return to this assertion, but only after noting that in the same week Admiral Allen canned the Academy Superintendent and also shut down all operations on what was supposed to a jewel in the Deepwater crown. He's not messing around. And, like Judge Steverson asserts, he speaks truth to power; I'd say he does more than that: he speaks truth, full stop.
Posted by Peter A. Stinson on Tuesday, December 05, 2006"}]


The system needs help to maintain the status quo. Power conceeds nothing without a struggle. Anyone who thinks critically and independently should beware. The system has many sympathetic helpers. The leader of a powerful and ruthless organization recognized that the status quo needed help to stay on top. Case Officers, Katsas, could call upon a system of volunteer helpers. They were called sayanim. For each katsa there were thousands of sayanim. Each sayan was an example of the cohesiveness of the dominant group. Regardless of his allegiance to his or her country, he would recognize a greater loyalty to the dominant power group. He would do his part no matter how small to protect it from independent thinkers, radical elements, or new ideas.
Helpers fulfilled many functions. They monitored and collected crucial data on all kinds of influencial communicators. They provided leads to all kinds of operators. They colleceted technical data on all kinds of non-conventional thinkers, speakers, and writers. A rumor at a cocktail party, a blog on the internet, an item on the radio, a paragraph in the newspaper, a half-finished story at a dinner party, any ripple of discord that could lead to a crack in the status quo was tracked to its source and delt with.

She no doubt felt that her new position of power had given her the right to a goy boy toy; so, she set about it in a most vigorous manner.

Nelwyn Nicholson was born 12 Nov 1946 in SF, Ca. She died 28 Sept 2002 in Lakewood, Ca. Her funeral was held 5 Oct 2002 at the Miller-Mies Mortuary, 11015 Downey Ave., Downey, Ca. 90242. In 1966 she began working for SSA. She was a case technician when he arrived at SsaOha in Aug 1990. When she died the sexual harrassment began.

It was the announcement of her death that prompted the first bold assault in his office. He had been on leave when she died. He was aware that she had had health problems, but he had not been told of her death.

She appeared to have been waiting for him at the door to his office like a giant California Condor hovering waiting for carrion. She followed him into his office and told him that Nel had died. Then she grabbed him in a bearhug of an embrace that was supposed to be emotional support for someone who has just been rocked by bad news. The embrace was so long and so powerful that he was shocked and had to forcefully extract himself.

When he sat in his chair she remained and even advanced upon him. He placed on foot on the computer desk and the other on the floor. His legs were at a 45 degree angle. She stepped boldly into the apex near his crotch, so close that he could feel her body heat. It was a power play based upon an obsession that had been building.

The obsession seemed to encompass everything about him. He had observed he spying into his car, almost daily. She peered into the car appearing to visually record or inventory the contents. He usually carried large quantities of books in the front and back seats. They were the most recent purchases from the used book store at the library.

On numerous occasions she would walk into his office not knowing he was there. She would look at the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, survey the top of the desk, and linger a moment, then leave. When he was seated in one of his guest chairs and had a clear view of the door, she would just look in and move on. He never observed her to walk past without looking into the office. It appeared that she was coveteous of his office, his office furniture, his books, his art work, and the aura in the office. When he was gone, her first act was to move into his office, like a letcherous nerd would sleep in Marilyn Monroe's bed and smell the covers after Marilyn had left the room.

MW lied through her teath.
FC lied through his teeth. He was in his office on Friday telling his what a great job he was doing and to keep up the good work. Monday he rcvd the sheet with his signature on it.
CM lied through her teeth.
OB was just dumb, bearly a hi school grad.

The bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you forget to turn. (Will Rodgers)

In April 2009 he retired from his United States Administrative Law Judge Appointment. He devoted himself to philanthropic endeavors. The Steverson Collection at www.ekmk.hu and the Steverson Collection Book Club were his major attempts to improve literacy and to spread American culture in the non-English speaking countries of Europe.

Part of the reason for these philanthropic efforts was because of the love of books. It was for the love of books.
People take reading books for granted, especially now that they are available electronically. Not so long ago, there was a whole generation of children that did not have access to books in this country, not because there was a lack of books, nor because they were illiterate, but because of the color of their skin. Black children had no right to step across the threshold of a public library and read or borrow books.

Back in 1963, London Steverson, a young Black man, a senior at an all Black Woodstock High School, in Memphis, Tennessee, wanted to write a senior term paper on the topic of martial arts. The school had only a small library with a limited selection of books. There were no books on karate, taekwondo, judo, aikido, or kung fu in the school library. In fact there were no books at all on martial arts. So, when Mr. Steverson inquired concerning any other library that he could possibly use for his research, the school librarian, Mrs. R. J. Roddy, informed him that there was a public library in Memphis, TN. It was a much bigger one, and it had a large selection of books on many topics, but it was for whites only. Before Mr. Steverson lost all hope for his term paper, Mrs. R. J. Roddy told him, she could call the librarian in that other "whites only" library and see what books they had on the subject. It turned out that there were quite a few books on martial arts. The library sent over a two page list of titles. Mr. Steverson looked through the list and picked out some books that he thought he could use as references. Mrs. R. J. Roddy called back and told the librarian which books Mr. Steverson wanted, and they sent the books to his school by special delivery. He does not remember whether his books were the only ones sent to his school, but looking back, he is amazed at what lengths they were willing to go to keep him out of a public library. But unbeknownst to him and to everyone around him, a little seed was planted in Mr. Steverson's heart and soul, when he was denied access to the Memphis, Tennessee public library.

"It was not until a few years later when I was a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) that the implications of the incident really hit home" he said. "I was now at an all white college and had access to a well stocked library, not like the small library at Woodstock High, which had little more than some magazines, news papers, periodicals, and Readers' Digest Condensed Books."All this was taking place during the 60s when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. People were marching and sitting-in, and highlighting the inequities of the segregated public accommodations. "The more I used the library at the USCGA, the more I became aware of the great deprivation that I had suffered in high school in Memphis, TN. And many people all over the South were still suffering." he said.
So he began to develop a real love for books and an appreciation for what books could do for the spirit. He began to go to the drug stores in New London, Connecticut, and buy paperback books. At first, he bought any book he could afford, like James Mischner's "Hawaii'. He kept and treasured every book he purchased and slowly they began to stack up. Then, later as he traveled to foreign countries, he expanded his collection with foreign books. He joined book clubs, The Book of The Month Club, and later The Folio Society.
He has visited and used many libraries all over the country, except the one in Memphis. One day, more than 40 years later, when he visited Memphis, TN, his nieces and nephews asked him if I had been to the Benjamin Hooks Public Library. He said no. In fact, he never really associated going to a public library in Memphis, TN, based on his childhood experiences. "The idea felt strange to me because I had never been inside the Memphis Public Library, I did not think I was welcome" Mr. Steverson stated. He took his wife and children and has accomplished a major milestone in his life 44 years later. He was finally able to step foot inside the public library in his hometown, and on top of it all, apply for library card. The lady was an older white lady from Connecticut, who was processing his application. The lady was surprised that a 60 year old man born and raised in town, had never had a library card there. "I explained to her that when I had lived in Memphis, Blacks were not allowed to use the public library, and I had left Memphis at age 17." She was amazed and I was pleasantly taken aback that my minor children and I were getting library cards for the first time at the same time." His whole family became a member as a symbol to his freedom to read books anywhere.

"One day I looked around and I had so many books I did not know what to do with them" he said "nearly every room had wall to wall bookshelves filled with various books. Every room in his house had books in it, from the front door to the back door. Within 6 months of getting the library card, he moved to Hungary. "When the packers came to our home with boxes, we were surprised that the bulk of out possessions were books. We had over 400 boxes of books." There were high school, college, and law school text books, along with novels and books of every description. They were the accumulation of over 45 years of collecting books.

When he arrived to Hungary, his wife began to take him to visit the elementary and high schools she had attended. He found that every school was teaching English diligently to their students, and they discussed the idea of donating some of the books to her alma maters' libraries. Then, one day he visited the County Library in Veszprem. (ekmk.hu) To his surprise there was an American Corner in the library. American Corners are a State Department supported programs that provide, without American personnel, a public diplomacy outpost - library, discussion forum, program venue and Internet access - available for the use of the local population in a host country. The American Corner had two shelves of English language books and plenty of space. The American Corner was also near the local university. Mr. Steverson decided that this was the best place to donate his books because they would get the most exposure to English speaking and reading people. After showing the Director some samples of the types of books that he had, she was delighted to accept all the books he could donate. The donation was called the Steverson Book Collection and since the initial donation, the collection has expanded from one corner to three corners in Hungary, helping students and teachers, Hungarians, foreigners and ex-patriots to have access to a wide variety of books and knowledge. The seed planted in 1963 has come to grow, blossom and bear fruit. Mr. Steverson has fulfilled a lifelong dream of helping young and old alike to have access to books and learning. His dream carried him even further than he had ever dreamed, giving him the opportunity to help a whole nation have access to something that he did not as a child.

AWARDS.

The Cultural Diplomacy Award was given to LLS in April 2009 by the United States Ambassador to Hungary for helping create "a foundation of trust" with the people, which can be built on to reach political, economic, and military agreements; and that combats the notion that Americans are shallow, violent, and godless. He helped to affirm that Americans have such values as family, faith, and the desire for education in common with others; he helped to create a relationship with the people, which will endure beyond changes in government; he helped to reach influential members of the society, who could not be reached through traditional diplomatic functions; and, he donated a large collection of new, used, and rare English books to the American Corners of Hungary.

The State Department Cultural Diplomacy Award is designed to honor distinguished representatives of American culture whose efforts and artistry advance America's goals of mutual understanding and the deepening of friendship between the United States and others.

Since his appointment by President George H. W. Bush in 1990 as federal administrative judge to the Ninth Region of the Social Security Office of Hearings and Appeals, LLS and family have resided in Downey City, CA, where he was president of the Downey Sister City Association for seven years, and an International Peace Ambassador.

(Faye Campbell, circa 1992, at Rio Hondo Golf Club, Downey, California with Judge L. Steverson for Installation of the new Downey Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.)

Judge David Linehand, his wife Elizabeth, and Faye Campbell were the "Triple Threat" in Downey Society. After Dave and Liz moved to San Bernadino, CA., Faye was left adrift until 1990 when I moved to Downey.
(Judge David Linehand escorting his daughter, Blythe Smythe, to the altar on her wedding day in Santa Barbara, California. Judge Linehand was a retired U. S. Navy Commander, a former Judge Advocate General and a hard-hat deep sea diver.)

Dave said that there was one person that I absolutely had to meet. That was Faye Campbell. He said that Faye was the unofficial Mayor of Downey. She knew everyone. She was an Italian from Brooklyn, New York. Her mother had owned a neighborhood dining establishment near Hollywood where movie stars would sometimes drop in for a quick meal. That was before she moved to Downey.

Dave believed that administrative law judges living in the community should become involved in the community. That way we would not look like "carpet-baggers". He advised me to join one or more of the local civic organizations. There were several to choose from. There were the Kiwanis, Elks, the Rotary, Rose Float Association, Sister City Association, Chamber of Commerce, Gangs Out Of Downey, The YMCA, and others. 

Faye Campbell was the best friend and fairy godmother that I could have ever hoped for. After Judge David Linehand introduced me to her, she introduced me to Downey Society and Downey-at-Large. She got me to join the Chamber of Commerce and the Sister City Association; she took me to every Chamber of Commerce Installation; took me on a visitation to Guadalajara, and San Quentin, Mexico, and Alajuela, Costa Rico. She nominated me for President of the Sister City Association, and I served for twelve years. It was a 20 year magic carpet ride. Her passing leaves a giant hole in my heart.

On July 18, 2013, Faye went to join the immortals at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb at that big Installation in the sky. Where ever she is, she is certainly the life of the party. Keep dancing; keep smiling; keep loving; keep laughing; keep touching the hearts and minds of whoever you meet. Au revoir my friend and confidant.
( In 2005 at the Chamber of Commerce official opening of George's Place.)
(Patty Pollo, Kathy Bee, Smokey Robinson, Faye, Nora)


2007 at the Sister City Association's annual Christmas Party with Paula Majiea.
Faye Campbell,center,  with Alda Sichting and Brenda Gavin, wife of Mayor David Gavin, Downey, California.
Faye Campbell, (-------- July18, 2013)

I have the information about Fay's Memorial Service...The address 12348 Paramount Blvd. Downey for St. Raymonds . I hope that is clear to friends of Fay for Aug. 1, Thurs. 11 am. Thanks Pastor Glenn Koons, Living Hope Church.
Lucy Wilson was responsible for creating the following event:
   (Lucy Hauk Wilson, owner and CEO of HSS Security Services, Downey, CA..)

 If you knew Fay which it was hard not to, she always had a part of New York with her but the people of  Downey is what she really had a love for. Volunteering with most of the organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the Rose Float Association, Miss Downey, DRMC Volunteer, Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, Gangs Out Of Downey, Citizens for Downey, Adopt a Grandparent for teens in trouble, Sister Cities Association, Campaign Manager for local Downey Council and Bellflower, YMCA, Downey crime Prevention and I know many more organizations too many to list them all. Fay loved to dance and have a good time; they were a must; and, boy did she love politics and reading the weekly Downey Patriot newspaper up to the end, even when she couldn’t see the text she still wanted the paper. Fay will be greatly missed as a big part of my family, a best friend, an adopted grandmother, an Auntie Fay and a true Downey VIP.
Everyone is welcome to: St Raymond’s Catholic Church

Mass will be held with: Father Paul of St. Raymond’s.
Pastor Glen Koons: will lead us in prayer and share Fay’s love for the Lord.

If you would like to share about Fay please contact me, Lucy Wilson, we will only have time for a few people and it must be pre-approved prior to Wednesday, July 31, 2013, you may call me at 562 923-1234 at my HSS Office

Fay prefers you donate to our YEAH! Program. Fay inspired me and opened my eyes to see how sad hundreds of people who can’t live alone get placed in a home for seniors and forgottenThis was always a fear of Fay’s since she had no family left she would have been put in a home, knowing this I promised her she would never be without family and she would never be put in a home as long as I am around. I thank God he helped me through some rough times in life and Fay lived in my home for 7 months and passed away holding my hand.
This is a vital program and it helps kids making crafts and collecting used cards to pass out and bring a bit of a family love to those without. "YEAH" Program in memory of Fay Campbell. We will be branching out bring different therapy animals for seniors alone. The love of an innocent animal brings so much joy to seniors, I have firsthand experience to see them come to life over a dog’s nozzle. Seniors who still feel young at heart will be bring some music and dancers to share and get up and move. Donations can be made out to: YEAH Program in memory of Fay Campbell”.
Hope to see you at the services.

“Fay’s Celebration of Life” will be held following mass in the Reception Hall.


TRIBUTES:
Former California Assemblywoman, Sally Hovice, said "I am so saddened to learn of her passing. When I was elected to the State Assembly, she was one of the first who greeted me with such open, friendly arms. She was a kind, loving person. I know all will miss her greatly."
Gloria Reyes-Smith said " Faye made sure when I was new to Downey that I met everyone that was going to help me grow my business. Always remembered me in her prayers. I know she is in heaven dancing with her son!!!! Dear London, how she loved you!"




NOTES.

References
^ Truman Library - Executive Order 9981
^ http://www.laesser.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=90&Itemid=38
^ Attu Homepage
^ DCA72AZ003
^ Aviation Disasters Crashes
^ http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/moa/boards/joanlerie.pdf
^ http://www.webandwire.com/coast%20guard%20casualties.htm
^ Missing Body Is Found In Jersey Boat Sinking - New York Times
^ http://www.offisland.com/armedsalas.html Info about Juan Tudela Salas
^ Transitions - The Mason Spirit - George Mason University
^ Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
^ http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7862/2758/320/AljOmaha35630520.jpg
[edit] External links
Integration of the Armed Forces 1940-1965, chapter 20 Limited Response to Discrimination - includes info about President John F. Kennedy's personal involvement with the first attempts to desegregate the USCG Academy, which was a direct cause of London Steverson's admission into the Academy.
USCG history page - See of this page starting with caption for picture of the Lamut (about 2/3 the way down the page).
Photo of the judge in robes on the bench
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7862/2758/1600/JudgePortraitDSC03584.jpg
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7862/2758/320/AljOmaha35630520.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~uscgacademy/london.html
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Steverson"
Categories: 1947 births | George Washington University alumni | Living people | United States Coast Guard Academy alumni
Hidden categories: Articles needing additional references from September 2009 | All articles needing additional references.

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