What The !#$%!!!! U.S. Naval Academy Graduates Ordered To Remove Swords For President Obama’s Speech

Obama Naval Academy Sword Insult

UPDATE: Controversy Over The Veracity Of This Story

UPDATE #2: Photos Of Vice-President Cheney at Annapolis Graduation 2006 – Swords Worn

UPDATE #3: Photos Of President G. W. Bush At West Point – With Swords

UPDATE #4: Soldier Of Fortune Magazine says sword ban is routine. Midshipmen do not wear swords. No information on whether swords were banned for parade. Soldier of Fortune Magazine

One of our readers (Rohan) accuses us in comments below of running the story without additional fact checking – advising that the Washington Times “is right up there with Fox News for misinformation and straight up lies.

Rohan should also throw in Reuters faked photos, the LA Times faked stories, New York Times faked stories, CNN and 60 Minutes as each have been caught publishing lies. Heck, Reuters alone had to withdraw over 1000 faked pro-Palistinian/anti-Israel photos so Rohan is correct… Ya can’t trust anybody and that includes CBC, The Nation, Barbados Advocate and Barbados Free Press. How many times have you read a lie or a half truth in the Nation or the Barbados Advocate? (Ha… like every day at least once!)

Which is why blogs can and do serve a far higher purpose for freedom and truth than most of the regular media – in part because of the immediate feedback and fact checking by readers. Even Reuters CEO Tom Glocer said that “The blogosphere provides accountability...”

So let’s discuss this story and see what we can come up with. (A pity that DLP supporters don’t want to discuss integrity, freedom of information and corruption stories in such detail!)

Rohan claims in a comment that the story of swords being banned at Annapolis for the President’s visit is all fake and that US Naval Academy graduates don’t wear swords… but one of the links he provides indicates that swords are sometimes traditionally given to Annapolis graduates by parents and relatives. The link also indicates that swords are worn at the Academy by Midshipmen for formal parades and occasions.

Rohan’s link to the USNA.org site also indicates that the Academy provides swords to Midshipmen for ceremonial occasions…

“Swords are entirely OPTIONAL for almost all Mids and Commissioned Officers.  While at the Academy, a Mid may only need one when performing duties as a Striper at such events as Formal Parades, etc.  Swords are NOT part of the standard Midshipman uniform.  For those Mids who need swords and do not supply their own (almost all Mids fall into this category), the Academy supplies generic swords which remain property of the Academy and are used year after year by succeeding classes.”

The site also indicates that Commissioned Officers of the US Navy may wear dress swords for special occasions – and one would think that might include ceremonies, visiting dignitaries and graduations, etc. Hey… I don’t know, I’ve never been to CanoeU.

Rohan also links to one Annapolis graduation photo showing the graduating class without swords. Again, I don’t know enough about Annapolis to know if some personnel at graduation ceremonies in the past have carried swords on stage or during the opening events, etc..

So let’s research this story a little more and see what we can come up with. Obviously, a real CanoeU graduate with some photos of previous ceremonies would solve the question.



Ok folks… here are photos of the 2006 Graduation with Dick Cheney attending and swords being worn during various parts of the ceremony, so it looks like Rohan’s comments needed a little more research on his part. Nonetheless, the question still remains – can we confirm that no swords were worn during the 2009 graduation with the President in attendance? We’ll look online for some photos, but meanwhile here is the link for photos of the 2006 Annapolis graduation with swords.

Cheney AnnapolisUS Naval Academy

UPDATE #3: Photos Of President G. W. Bush At West Point – With Swords

I am not a fan of “Dubya”, but to add some gasoline to this discussion, I found photos of Bush at the 2006 West Point graduation ceremony that speak for themselves. It will be interesting to see President Obama attend the same ceremony…


Original Story as published…

Necessary or Over-Reaction By U.S. Secret Service?

I don’t know why I am so upset about this story, but I am. I missed it when it broke a few weeks ago, but some Google and Bing searches show that the story wasn’t that widely reported.

President Barack Obama spoke at the Graduation Ceremony for the US Naval Academy at Annapolis on May 22, 2009 – but before he spoke, all Naval midshipmen were disarmed of their ceremonial swords and umbrellas.

Never before in the history of Annapolis has the Commander in Chief required that all Naval officers in his presence be disarmed.

Although I haven’t sorted it all out, there are reasons why this story has so devastated me and I don’t know what to think.

A standard tonic and gin will not be enough. Perhaps a martini will assist. Better make it a double. Very dry, wave the vermouth bottle in front of the glass – no closer. (I don’t fly until Sunday so no worries, Mum!)

Robert somewhere in the Pacific


Filed under Barack Obama

29 responses to “What The !#$%!!!! U.S. Naval Academy Graduates Ordered To Remove Swords For President Obama’s Speech

  1. Rumplestilskin

    Robert, a martini,shaken or stirred…..


    What it does signify is that we live in interesting times indeed, when anyone can be good…or bad.

    Surprised? You should not be, Mr.Bond.


  2. ProLife


    The man is “god”. What do you expect.

  3. reality check

    I seem to recall at least three assasinated Presidents in the past 150 years or so and two attempts in the past fifty years ( Regan and Ford ).

    Don’t forget the soldiers who have lost it in Iraq through stress or religion who have shot their own.

    The “crazies” always come out of the woodwork for a President. This President is trying to effect major change and will increase the pressure many times more on the secret service.

    This is not a normal President and these are not normal times. They need to keep him safe and secure no matter how strange.

  4. Sargeant

    Why are you so upset Robert? Do you think red blooded American males or females for that matter can’t carry out acts of terrorism because they are graduates of the academy? This order must have been at the insistence of Obama’s security detail, perhaps they were privy to some information that they didn’t share. Who killed Sadat? Who killed Indira Ghandi? They were both killed by members of their armed forces. I know you may dismiss their killers as Sikhs and Arabs but today one can’t be too sure. The American Secret Service would not want any harm coming to this President on their watch and they will do anything to prevent an incident.

    I’m sure you heard the news about the 80 years plus man who shot up the museum in Washington. Imagine 80 years and still full of hate, it sure makes you wonder.

    Recently I saw a news story where the President travelled to a burger joint and although he was accompanied by the usual security detail his car did not have the Presidential emblem. He just wanted his visit to be low key as if that’s possible.

    Remember both Lee H Oswald and Tim McVeigh while they did not graduate from the US Naval Academy were former members of the US Armed forces

    BTW I see your link to the story is from the Washington Times the mouth piece of the Rev Sun Myung Moon. I hardly think that you are likely to find anything favourable to this President in those pages

  5. crossroads

    The higher you are the harder the fall….hhmm

  6. crossroads

    tru call

  7. ProLife

    Only if you guys would open your eyes and see the light just slapping you in the face, but then I guess you have to want to see the light.

  8. Rohan

    Another B.S article from a right wing newspaper outlet in the U.S. Google the Washington Times if you’re not in the U.S, they are right up there with Fox news for misinformation and straight up lies.

    As usual, BFP just runs with it with zero fact-checking.

    1) From United States Naval Academy Parents site:

    “Swords are NOT part of the standard Midshipman uniform.”


    2) Here is an image from the 2005 Commencement. NO SWORDS!

    3) 2008 Commencement-NO SWORDS


    As usual BFP just reprints right wing garbage without taking 2 minutes to check.

  9. Rohan

    Well BFP, if you ever approve any of those notes, you can delete the last two.

  10. Chicago

    Rohan needs to tone down the froth at the mouth and do better fact checking himself.

  11. Rohan

    Chicago, I’m not frothing, I posted INFORMATION.

    That’s how it works, if you have an argument to provide, you can do so and back it with evidence.

    My point stands. The pictures you posted are NOT “Graduating Midshipmen” but are guys in the ceremonial parade.

    What we’re talking about is “Graduating midshipmen”. From the Times article,

    “Graduating midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis are being told in writing to leave at home or in their vehicles all “ceremonial swords”

    The pictures I posted are indeed “Graduating Midshipmen” and swords are NOT a part of their uniform.

    Funny thing is, I live like 20 minutes from the base in Annapolis, and knew this was a joke.

    So let’s not confuse the issue BFP. Graduating
    Midshipmen have not worn swords to graduation at any time in recent history.

    Your pictures only cloud the issue…or rather non-issue that ‘s being pumped by the Hannitys, the racist Michele Malking, and their ilk.

  12. Rohan

    It doesn’t get much clearer than this:

    Graduation, Midshipmen taking oath of Office at USMMA

    This is a case study for how right-wing lies are spread. Start with something that kinda SOUNDS like it could be scandalous and kinda true. Distort it a little bit, and then spread it as far as it can go.

    There will always be someone to past it on with checking first. And if it seeks to confirm some pre-conceived notion, then so much the better.

    Can’t remember who said:

    “A lie can get half way across the world before the truth gets its shoes on”

  13. Rohan

    Update: The Naval Academy’s press office provided additional comments, reprinted below:

    Naval Academy’s Press office response to the article:

    “Unfortunately, this article is extremely misleading. Midshipmen are not required to have swords as part of their normal uniform issue unless they are Brigade Officers, and then they are issued temporary swords for parades and other ceremonial events.

    Officers may add the sword and wear it at ceremonial events such as change of commands, weddings, etc. as designated. THEY ARE NOT, NOR HAVE THEY EVER BEEN WORN BY MIDSHIPMEN AT GRADUATION.

    Many parents give swords to graduates to be worn with their officer uniform after commissioning, but they along with many other items are routinely banned from being carried into the graduation ceremony for obvious security reasons. I sincerely hope that this explains the issue.


  14. Jason

    It is not so clear Rohan. I don’t see any swords at the 2009 parade like in the previous years’ photos.

  15. passin thru

    This has been an interesting exercise in chasing down a story by readers of a blog. Unlike Rohan I don’t view BFP as right or left as they swing both ways on many issues. They supported Obama for president and called his election right while he was still running against Hillary for the nomination.

    I’m still a little confused about the parade officers not wearing or wearing swords and if that was done when the President was there or not. I too wait to see if the West Point grads will wear swords when Obama attends. I think they will.

  16. rohan

    Passing thru,
    There should be no confusion any longer.

    Midshipmen do NOT wear swords at graduation as confirmed by

    A)The photos I posted
    B)The naval office themselves.

    The photos bfp posted were not graduating midshipmen.

    Also I never accused bfp of being right or left.

  17. akabozik

    Moe Lane claims that he phoned the US Naval Academy press office and was told that the policy had been in place since 9/11.

    I can see Robert’s shock if he didn’t know that. I didn’t.


    What is the truth abot this story I wonder?

  18. Dan

    As a US Navy veteran, I can confirm what Rohan says, although his cited links explain things clearly enough.

    As to whether swords are worn at a West Point graduation, that is a non sequitur. Army and Navy uniforms and accoutrements differ. Army dress and ceremonial uniforms often include swords as this is a heritage from their infantry and cavalry roots.

    This whole controversy has absolutely *nothing* to do with Obama.

  19. Rohan

    Thanks Dan.

    This is not the first time I’ve pointed out BFP taking part in one of these baseless attacks, but I’ll give you credit for at least trying to figure out what was going on after I pointed it out.

    Here’s how it usually works:

    1) Some right-wing blog, newspaper writes a misleading or down-right untrue article.
    2) Publish it.
    3) Right-wing blogs/news outlets pick it up with no checking
    4) They add some fake, manufactured outrage of their own. In the case of BFP, see the title: What the $@#%%!)
    5) Re-publish it without any Fact-checking.
    6) Rinse and repeat.

    By the time the truth comes out, people already believe that Obama is a muslim, he wasn’t born in the U.S, he went to a muslim Madras, and so on and so on.

    Hopefully BFP will get around to posting a final update on this. To your credit, at least you tried to check it out after I posted.

    This page comes up on the first page of Google for most searches related to this issue, so you’ll continue to be a part of the problem until this article is updated.

    P.S. Even Foxnation has already removed their article about it:


  20. Rohan

    Official website of the Naval academy showing images of graduating mid-shipment from 2003 onwards.

    Not ONE sword.


    Oh well, no use beating this dead horse any more.

  21. BFP

    Thanks for helping to keep Barbados Free Press honest, Rohan.

    Unlike the oldstream Bajan news media and some other blogs that lost their zest for questioning government integrity the moment the DLP was elected, we welcome criticism.

    Now, when can we expect the media to publish the court documents showing the blank search warrant used in the Ronja Juman case?

    When can we expect a public enquiry into the numerous police shootings?

    When can we expect you and other government supporters to express some outrage over the Prime Minister lying about introducing a code of conduct for Ministers?

    When we quote a newspaper article and it turns out to be a dud, you spend hours attacking us – but not a word when we talk about the broken promises about ITAL (Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation).

    Thanks for coming around though.

  22. J

    My Dear Robert:

    You wrote “A standard tonic and gin will not be enough. Perhaps a martini will assist. Better make it a double.”

    I think that you need to stop drinking.

    And when you fly I trust that it is a a sober passenger and not as a drunken pilot.

  23. Rohan

    Interesting reply BFP.

    Really, I didn’t spend hours attacking you because you quoted a dud story. It took all of 2 minutes to figure it out, and the rest of the time posting evidence after you posted more misleading “Updates”.

    For the record, I am no government supporter, in case someone mis-reads the way you worded your question. And I want ITAL to progress as much as any right-thinking Barbadian. It’s funny that you would try to use this (and other situations like this, yes we know they have been others) to insinuate that I’m some Gov’t stoolie..haha

    It’s simple. When you post good articles, I’ll continue to say so when I’m around. Ditto, when you don’t. It’s not complicated.

    Like I said, I’ll continue to give you guys credit for being open to criticism.

  24. Sargeant

    Who is moderating at BFP today? Somebody is “touchus”. After admitting that you goofed (and I was taken in) by posting the original story, you went on to attack the messenger. If you are content that the majority of your articles are factual why didn’t you say that you strive for accuracy but sometimes you miss your goals and move on but don’t shoot the messenger.

    Thanks Rohan !!! I should have done my homework once I saw that The Washington Times was their primary source.

  25. passin thru

    Rohan, talk about integrity. BFP leaves the article and discussion posted. Even when they are wrong they take the public medicine.

    The Fox News blog took it down like it never happened.

    Compare BFP’s integrity with the Nation or advocate where stories drop off the face of the earth and are never seen again when they are “inconvenient”

  26. sailingunc

    There is unfortunately a considerable amount of misunderstanding and in some cases a lack of context regarding prescribed uniforms, ceremonial swords and associated security measures in conjunction with the recent May 22nd U.S. Naval Academy graduation and commissioning.

    Midshipmen and officers did not wear ceremonial swords at graduation because of long established uniform protocol, not due to security concerns as some observers have inferred. In fact, the prescribed uniform for officers and Naval Academy midshipmen participating in the graduation and commissioning was “Navy Service Dress White” – i.e. the familiar Navy “choker” white uniform with ribbons; medals and swords were not prescribed with this uniform for this event. Other military service personnel who were participating wore their equivalent service uniform in the same configuration. Navy Service Dress White (and Marine Corps equivalent) has been the prescribed uniform for Naval Academy graduations in recent history, spanning the past several decades. Graduating midshipmen did not wear swords because swords were not a component of the service uniform prescribed for either this graduation or many other previous graduations.

    It may also be helpful to know that in conjunction with the graduation and commissioning celebration, many family members and friends of graduating Naval Academy midshipman present their graduate and newly commissioned Navy ensign or Marine Corps second lieutenant the service’s ceremonial officer sword to symbolize the beginning of their careers as officers in the naval service.

    The May 22nd graduation was attended by nearly 30,000 people, all of which had to undergo required security screening. As a matter of routine measures associated with similar events, attendees were required to be screened through magnetometers, and were prohibited from bringing large bags, large electronic items, and any instruments or tools that could be considered weapons or appear to be weapons. The Naval Academy advised the graduates and their families about the strict security associated with the graduation and recommended that families not bring certain items, including ceremonial swords. The intent was to avoid any additional stadium entry delays and to preclude family members from possibly not being able to attend their midshipman’s graduation. This was consistent with many previous graduation ceremonies.

    I hope that this helps explain any misunderstandings on these issues.

  27. Hard Driver

    Can someone explain to me what was the relevance of this post? And why expend so much effort on such a trivial issue ..
    There are far more serious issues to tackle right here on this rock …

  28. Rohan

    This is an ongoing issue with false information that promotes hate. This wasn’t about Obama and Swords. But about a continuing narrative about Obama being muslim, against the troops, Anti-America etc.

    And it’s that narrative that’s being used to propel hate and violence.

    From the same Washington Times newspaper this week:

    “Earlier this week, the newspaper saw fit to run an opinion piece declaring that President Obama “not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself,” and that in any case he has “aligned himself” with the radical Muslim Brotherhood. ”

    Check out this article about the brewing hate an acts of violence in the U.S in the last several months. This stuff is serious.


  29. Moe Lane has banned me from posting on his blog after I dared call him out on all this BS. Naval Academy Grads do NOT wear swords at graduation. West Point grads DO. Naval Academy grads did NOT wear swords in 2005 when Bush addressed them at the grad ceremony. The pics above with swords are of parades, not graduation ceremony. As the parent of a West Point Grad I find the whole issue insulting to all of our intelligence. Pic is below:


    as you can see, no swords—and Bush was there to speak.

    The idiots that have spread this story around are missleading their own base…..spoon feeding them mis-information should be a crime.