Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Abandoned Shipmate with Ladson Mills, Thurs., Aug. 8, 5:30 pm

Join us Thurs., Aug. 8, 5:30 pm as Ladson F. Mills III will be here to discuss his new book Abandoned Shipmate: The Destruction of Coast Guard Captain Ernie Blanchard (McFarland, pb., 180 pp., $35).

Captain Ernie Blanchard left for work January 10, 1995 a successful officer. Respected by superiors and subordinates, his personal and professional values seemed perfectly aligned with the institution he served, the United States Coast Guard. By day’s end his career was finished.

At a speaking engagement at the Coast Guard Academy, Blanchard’s icebreaker–a series of time-tested corny jokes–was met with silence. Within hours, an investigation was underway into whether his remarks constituted sexual harassment. Several weeks later, threatened with a court-martial, he shot himself.

Here the author investigates Blanchard’s death in the context of the turmoil surrounding the U.S. Armed Forces’ gender inclusion struggles from the 1980s to the present.

Retired Navy Reserve Captain Ladson F. Mills III is a former trustee of the University of the South and Fellow of the Graduate Theological Foundation. He is the former president of the American Study Program of Oxford and a regular contributor to Virtueonline and The Covert Letter. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

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