The Tale of Two Gauntlets:

Simon Kenton and Paula CoughlinÓ


Gerald L. Atkinson

15 December 2005


A gauntlet is a former punishment, chiefly military, in which the offender was made to run between two rows of men who struck at him with switches or weapons as he passed. The two rows of men administering the punishment are said to form the gauntlet. It appears to derive its meaning [1] from the word fustuarium (an abstraction from the Latin fustis, a branch or rod) which was a Roman military form of execution by cudgeling, which was copied by later armies.

In Roman antiquity, the word fustuarium was used to describe a situation in which laxness on guard duty or desertion could endanger the entire corps and even the Roman state, a slacking soldier was liable to be found as unworthy of the uniform, stripped, and beaten to death with sticks by his comrades, whose trust he had betrayed, as a collective exercise of ultimate discipline against what could be considered as passive equivalents of high treason. The excruciating effects on the condemned are comparable to running the gauntlet.

A very similar military punishment found in later armies was ‘running the gauntlet.’ (early form: gantlet in 1661) or gantlope, known for example from Sweden (probably transferring their word gatlopp to British troops in the Thirty Years War) which persisted in parts of Germany (mainly Prussia) and Austria and Russia until the 19th century. The condemned soldier would be stripped to the waist and had to pass between a double row of cudgeling or switching comrades. Various rules might apply, such as banning edged weapons, requiring the group to keep one foot in place, or allowing the soldier to attempt to protect his head with his hands. The punishment was not necessarily continued until death (if so, he might be finished off when unable to walk), and actually considered far less dishonoring than a beating with exposure to ridicule on the pillory or stocks, since one could ‘take it like a man’ upright among soldiers.

In some traditions, if the condemned was able to finish the run and exit the gauntlet at the far end, his faults would be deemed paid, and he would rejoin his comrades with a clean slate (and serious injuries), elsewhere he was sent back until death followed.

A Prussian cavalry variation was to beat the condemned with spurs instead of rods. It was also common practice in the French army, especially for thieves. It has also been used in training, notably on military cadets in a less harsh manner to instill discipline. Mild forms, not intended to cause permanent damage, have also been used on or by children.

Similar practices are used in other initiations and rites of passage, as in pollywogs (those passing the equator for the first time), in aviation when a new pilot gets his first license, or in mountaineering when reaching a certain summit for the first time. As these do not cause serious injuries, they are sometimes eagerly anticipated by the participant as a sign of acceptance into a more prestigious group.

This is the tale of two gauntlets, one traversed by Simon Kenton, a frontiersman who was captured by Shawnee Indians during the period leading up to the Indian wars on the frontier that were preludes to the 1812 War with the British and their Indian allies. This gauntlet was as severe as any described above and tells a story of great courage. The other is a gauntlet run by a female naval aviator which was more on the order of an ‘initiation,’ but one based on a voluntary acceptance of the known ‘sexual’ nature of the ‘punishment’ at a storied bacchanal. These two tales, spanning a time period of about 200 years informs us of how far our early ‘warrior’ military culture, the one that tamed the then ‘Northwest Territories,’ has been feminized to the point of ineptitude in a scant period of three short decades since the end of the Vietnam War. The ‘warrior,’ Simon Kenton displayed courage, determination, bravery, stubbornness, and defiance in the face of death at the hands of his brutal, barbaric, and savage Shawnee enemies. Paula Coughlin displayed weakness, whining, and cringing while facing only groping, pinching, grabbing and otherwise non-lethal and non-injurious ‘punishment’ in the face of her ‘enemies’ – male naval aviators (men who oppress women in the radical feminist parlance – while voluntarily participating in a sexual bacchanal at a Tailhook celebration in the comfortable, air conditioned confines of a Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. We have in this tale of two gauntlets a stark reminder of what large segments of our nation’s military have become in the interval of 200 years. This is an ominous omen.

Introduction to the Warrior’s Gauntlet (Simon Kenton)

Allan W. Eckert has written an historical narrative [2], ‘The Frontiersmen,’ the first in the author’s ‘The Winning of America’ series. It is a narrative history of the period between 1755 and the early 1800s when the ‘Northwest Territory’ extended only from the Appalachian mountains to the Misssissipi River. This territory was made safe primarily by frontiersmen who fought valiantly in the Indian Wars. It encompasses the life span of Simon Kenton who lived in the company of such men as George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, Arthur St. Clair, ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne, Simon Girty, and William Henry Harrison.

Eckert writes in a narrative style that captivates the reader and surrounds one with the story such that one actually believes one is in every scene. He reveals that “the frontiersmen were a remarkable breed of men. They were often rough and illiterate, sometimes brutal and vicious, often seeking escape in the wilderness of mid-America from crimes committed back east. More often than not they left their bones to bleach beside forest paths or on the banks of the Ohio River, victims of Indians who claimed the vast virgin territory and strove to turn back the growing tide of whites.”

The book tells another story. “It is equally the story of one of history’s greatest leaders, whose misfortune was to be born to a doomed cause and a dying race. Tecumseh, the brilliant Shawnee chief, welded together by the sheer force of his intellect and charisma an incredible Indian confederacy that came desperately close to breaking the thrust of the white man’s westward expansion. Like Kenton, Tecumseh was the paragon of his people’s virtues, and the story of his life reveals most profoundly the grandeur and the tragedy of the American Indian.”

As the book’s cover states, “No less importantly, The Frontiersman is the story of wilderness America itself, its penetration and evokes life and meaning from the raw facts of the story [in such a way that] not only do we care about our long-forgotten fathers, we live again with them.”

Simon Kenton was born in 1755 on a farm in the Hopewell community of Virginia. He was what the historian, David Hackett Fischer labels a ‘backsettler,’ a Borderer American. His father, born in 1701, immigrated to British America in his late adolescence from the border country of northern Britain as an indentured servant. After serving his indenture of five years, he became a tenant farmer, eking out a meager living with little promise of a better life. Hard work and daily toil were his lot in life.

The Prelude to the Indian Wars of 1814

Simon had little interest in this kind of life and dreamed of a life on the frontier where adventure and opportunity beckoned. It was a time when the frontier was festering with Indian uprisings in the Ohio and Kentucky region. It was a prelude to the Indian wars that resulted from the Shawnee, Tecumseh’s, building of a confederation in the 1791-1814 period which joined the British in the War of 1812. It was a time of great peril for the American settlers on the frontier.

By the time that Indian raids on settlers had prompted a militia to be organized to put down these uprisings, few people living on the frontier were not familiar with Simon’s name. He had proven himself well in the events leading up to the Indian wars. Where messenegers had to traverse dangerous, Indian-infested country, Simon was first choice to get through. Usually three couriers were dispatched with the same message and twice only Simon had delivered it, not only himself unscathed, but considerably faster than had been anticipated. Bareback or in saddle, he rode as if he had been bred to it and when it became necessary, as occasionally it did, he could run all day without dropping.

Kenton was a good friend of Daniel Boone. They hunted together and loved the great wilderness. Kenton had a chance meeting with Boone shortly after Boone was captured by a Shawnee war party, taken prisoner, and forced to be adopted by his captors and become a Shawnee. Eckert explains [3], “One thought was dominant in Daniel Boone’s mind throughout [his captivity]. Sooner or later, he knew, he would attempt escape and he must be successful, for there was no second chance. The penalty for white men recaptured – those who had been adopted before escaping – was a hideous death at the stake.” He eventually escaped.

Boone escaped, but not before being taken to the large Shawnee village at Chillicotthe, a gathering of five or six thousand Indians. He escaped when he learned that the Shawnees were preparing to attack his home fort, Boonesboro. He met up with Simon Kenton and signed him on to assist in warding off the Indian attack. Kenton and another frontiersman acted as spies to ascertain the movements around the Indian village. They were surprised by an old man and Indian boy who Simon shot, and later Simon was rescued from a small Indian war party by Boone and his companions. The information Simon got from the dying boy caused Boone to hurry back to Boonesboro to ward off the pending Indian attack.

The Capture of Simon Kenton

Soon thereafter, Kenton and a companion were surprised by a small Indian war party. His companion was killed and scalped and Simon was captured. When he was recognized as the great frontiersman, Simon Kenton, his life was saved, for the time being at least [4]. “A captive of his stature would not just be killed here and his scalp taken. No! This was an enemy to take before the whole Shawnee nation before he was put to death. The glory of capturing him would ride with [his captors] all their lives, especially Bo-nah [the leader of the war party].”

When his captors made camp, Simon was made to lie spreadeagled on his back. A thong of rawhide attached each wrist and ankle securely to a stake pounded deep into the ground. In addition, a pole was laid across his neck and tied to a tree behind him in such a way that he could not even turn his head. And then, as the flies and ants came, attracted by the smell of blood and the meat cooking over the little fire, he began for the first time to wish that Bo-nah had killed him.”

“It was a night of absolute horror for Simon Kenton and he got neither sleep nor rest. The manner in which he was bound made movement practically impossible and the hours from nightfall until dawn were one torment after another…Rarely did the [Indians who came to look at him] return to their companions without first spitting in Simon’s face or kicking him in the ribs or grinding a heel into his unprotected groin.”

“The insects were maddening. First the flies, which crawled and bit and crawled some more and then the ants, which were nearly as bad. When darkness deepened and they disappeared, mosquitoes took their place and whined continually over him for hours, glutting themselves on his blood before droning sluggishly off, their bodies a deep swollen red. And finally, when it became too cool for them, the cool night air clamped down upon him with a hand of sheer misery and his teeth chattered and his body trembled until he felt he must be shaken apart.”

In the morning the Indians rebuilt the fire and cooked the meat. A greasy, almost raw chunk heavy with fat was thrust into Simon’s mouth and he chewed it greedily and swallowed. They then gave him a water-filled gourd which he drained in one great draught. His wrists were then bound behind him and he was tied to a tree while the Indians…gathered up the horses, and among them was a wild unbroken three-year-old black…Even the Indians had trouble with it, and not until they had tied a blanket around its eyes did it become tractable and allow itself to be led. “Now Bo-nah came over to Kenton and asked him if he spoke the Shawnee tongue. When Simon nodded, Bo-hah smacked him smartly across the face and said, ‘You steal Shawnee horses, yes? Now we let you ride Shawnee horse.’”

“It took the combined effort of six of them – two to hold the wild black horse and four to maneuver the frontiersman – but finally they got him astraddle the horse, facing backwards. They bound his ankles beneath the belly of the black and then placed a loop over Simon’s head and drew it snug around his neck. The other end of this line was tied around the horse’s neck.”

“The Shawnees mounted their own horses and led the black into a small clear area and here Bo-nah jerked away the blanket blinding the animal and whipped it smartly on the rump. Instantly the horse screamed in panic and began to buck and spin, doing all it could to dislodge its rider. It smashed against trees, scraping the hide off Simon’s legs, and galloped under low branches which slammed into his back or head with numbing blows. It tore through areas thick with brush and thorns and his body was raked and grooved in a hundred places while the Shawnees shouted and laughed.”

“But somehow the frontiersman stayed on. If he were thrown off he would surely be strangled or his neck broken, and so he locked his legs as tightly as he could around the animal and managed to catch some of the mane hair in his bound hands behind him. He leaned forward and bowed his head as low as the throat halter would allow and closed his eyes tightly so that he would not be blinded. There he clung for what seemed an eternity, while the world turned into a swirling, slashing, pounding hell.”

Finally, utterly exhausted, the wild black stood spraddlelegged, its head low and its sides heaving. Even when the Indians rode up to it there was no will left to shy away. Dully, Simon felt his feet released. Arms gripped and lifted him and his leather leggings were put back on, covering the buttocks worn raw. Then he was replaced on the animal’s back so he faced forward and his ankles tied again, loosely this time. Through a fog of hurt he felt them begin to lead his horse, but for a very long time he rode in misery so severe that nothing about him existed except a faintly flickering hope that if he could hold out long enough, somehow, in some way, he would escape.”

Each night Simon was staked out in spreadeagle fashion again as he had been the first night and there were more cuffings and kickings, but “not once did he ask for quarter from them. Kill him they might, but he would never beg for mercy from them.” Simon Kenton was being true to his Scots-Irish heritage. In the spirit of William Wallace, the early hero of Scotland’s fight for independence from England, he would not bow to anyone. He would be true to his ancestors’ oral heritage.

“It took them three days to reach a point a half mile from Chillicothe and where they had camped last night while several of the warriors had ridden on ahead to alert the village to their successful return. He was staked out again on his back and all through the evening until late at night there came a steady procession of Shawnees to see the famed enemy helpless. Women and little children stared at him from a few feet away and some of them whipped him across face and body with slender stinging switches.”

Finally, close to midnight, Simon felt his hair gripped savagely and his head shaken. Fortunately, it was a Negro dressed in Shawnee garb who had been adopted by the Indians. He secretly attempted to help Simon while not being detected from doing so by his adopters. He whispered to Simon that “You’re in bad trouble sir. They’re going to burn you.” He informed Simon that they were going to burn him at the stake when their chief, Black Fish, returns from his raid on Boonesboro. He told Simon that “When he come back, they hold trial for you in msi-kah-mi-qui – that’s the council house. That’s when you get condemned…But in the mornin’ you got to run gauntlet…if you don’t escape and got to run the gauntlet, get to msi-kah-mi-qui fast. Once you there, Shawnee law say you no more get whipped.”

The Warrior’s Gauntlet

In the morning, Simon was fed and when he was finished the Indians untied his ankles and Bo-nah led him toward the town [5]. “At the foot of the hill southeast of the village, a double line of men and women – from ancient ages all the way down to the smallest children who could wield a stick – stretched a full quarter mile to end at the massive council house. There were easily four hundred people in the line, each with stick, switch or club four to six feet in length.”

“They stripped his clothes from him again and Bo-nah pointed at the council house with his hickory stick. ‘You run to the msi-kah-mi-qui. If you stop or fall, you start over again.”

“Bo-hah stepped behind the frontiersman and, at the beat of the starting drum from the council house, laid his stick across Simon’s back with such force that the frontiersman thought his shoulder blades were broken. Simon ran, ignoring the pain in his body from the previous injuries, taking great bounding strides that often got him past the waiting Indians before they could react enough to land their blows. Even then he was hit often, though seldom with very great force because of his forward speed. Near the end of the line and with safety close, he was suddenly confronted by a warrior who stepped into his path, his club at ready. Simon increased rather then slackened his speed and with his clenched fist punched the man between the eyes such a tremendous blow that he broke his nose and sent him sprawling senseless into his companions in the line.”

“But the pause this occasioned was disastrous. A heavy stick thudded against his temple and as he grasped his head in pain, more blows rained down upon him until he fell dazed. Dimly he was aware of other blows falling on him but then they stopped and he felt himself lifted and half propelled, half dragged back to the starting point amidst the howls of delight from the Indians in the lines.”

“They let him rest for perhaps ten minutes when once more they reached the head of the line. When the drum sounded again, Bo-hah struck him with his stick while he still sat on the ground and then struck him again as he scrambled to his feet. Once more he was on his way, but the blows had told on him and his speed diminished. More and more frequently he was being struck. Abruptly he turned and leaped high, feet catching a squaw full in the stomach and bowling her over and then, outside the lines, he raced for the council house.”

“From the line ahead of him a squaw rushed toward him and as she raised a hefty club over her head he knew he should dodge around her, but somehow his body wouldn’t answer quickly enough and the club hit his neck and knocked him sprawling. Instantly, he became the center of a growing circle of people striking him with clubs and switches, fists and feet. Even after he was unconscious they beat him for a long time.”

A young Shawnee woman was charged to ministering Kenton back to health, sufficiently so he could be strong enough to run the gauntlet again. By the fourth day after his double-run of the gauntlet, he was well on the mend…She told Simon that “Bo-hah had taken up vigil outside the door to the wegiwa and that they were almost in the center of Chillicothe. The gauntlet beatings had taken much out of him and he could not trust himself to outrun pursuit even if he could get a good headstart…She told him that ‘Tomorrow you will be Cut-ta-ho-tha, the condemned man.’ When Simon asked her ‘Why tomorrow? she replied, ‘Because Black Fish and our warriors have returned today and tomorrow they will hold council and condemn you. There is no way else.’”

When Simon then urgently asked her whether or not the Indians had taken Boonesboro, she shook her head and told him that, according to Eckert, “Boonesboro was a strong fort. For thirteen suns they had tried to break in, but they had failed and they were angry. Thirty-seven of their men were killed and many wounded and only one white man was known for certain to have been killed. The news of Kenton’s capture had been greeted by them with fierce pleasure and early tomorrow morning they would hold the council that would proclaim the end of the frontiersman.”

At a village council meeting the next morning the Indians condemned Simon Kenton to be burned. While most wanted this to occur immediately, other chiefs wanted the execution to take place at the geographic center of the Shawnee nation, so that the greatest number possible of their tribe could witness it. Black Fish agreed that the importance of this execution made it a national affair and that it should take place at Wapatomica. Simon’s original captor was ordered to select a party of braves and start off first thing in the morning for Wapatomica with their captive, being sure to stop at every village enroute in order that the residents there might have the opportunity to participate in a gauntlet.

Simon Kenton was now convinced that there was no doubt that he would be executed and he resolved that he would attempt an escape at the first opportunity. Should he fail and be recaptured, his lot would be no worse than it was now. As he was paraded from village to village and forced to run the gauntlet, “A hundred or more escape plans had been formulated and as quickly dismissed during these torture-filled days. As he was marched along he would fix his eye upon a bush or tree ahead and say to himself, ‘I will make my escape attempt when I reach that point,’ but always before he got there he would recognize the futility of it and look ahead to another point.”

“In large measure, it was only the constant planning for escape which kept him going. He hadn’t known it was possible for the body to be such a shell of pain. The composite agony of a thousand or more bruises and cuts, welts and small burns, bumps and scratches was almost unbearable. And now, before him, lay another gauntlet to run – his sixth – and he honestly doubted he could make it. The very thought of the clubs and switches, branches and sticks whipping across the multitude of injuries already covering his back and head and shoulders was enough to set the muscles of his calves and thighs atremble. If he was to escape at all, it must be here and now. One more gauntlet and he would be unable to muster the strength for it.”

“All the way from Chillicothe he had been hounded and teased and tortured by following Indians. Worst of all were the squaws and children who made life a living hell for him; they were the first to meet them as he approached a village and they would whip him with switches and throw mud at him and small rocks. It was they who made up the majority of people in the gauntlet lines and they were the most fierce in their intensity to inflict real injury.”

“After leaving Chillicothe under guard of Bo-nah and four other warriors, they had reached the village of the Peckuwe sept called Piqua Town on the bank of the Mad River and the quarter-mile gauntlet here had been a severe one, even if it was the first one in which he had successfully reached the msi-kah-mi-qui.”

On the way to the next village “he was forced to lie face down to form a human bridge across a little muddy creek, and each of the five warriors and the dozen or so women and children following after them made certain to step on the back of his head and force his face deep into the muck. He was nearly unconscious from suffocation when they dragged him out.”

“More and more Indians came to meet them the farther north they traveled, as word of the famous captive spread rapidly from village to village…those inhabitants of other Shawnee villages, as well as nearby villages of tribes other than Shawnees, came in a hurry to be sure they got in their licks on this dreaded frontiersman…With this influx of Indians, each gauntlet was larger, longer and more painful than the last. Before reaching the Mackachack Towns he was forced to run two more gauntlets and both times he was beaten to the ground before the run was completed. The second time, when it appeared he would make it through, a squaw had heaved a double handful of sand into his eyes and, while he groped about blinded, he was beaten into unconsciousness.”

“Each time he awakened from these ordeals it was to find that, in a strange paradox, his wounds were being treated with great care – washed and medicated and, where necessary, bound. He was given good food and water to drink to rebuild his strength and he took it willingly, knowing it was just to restore him for another gauntlet run, but knowing as well that he must retain what strength he had for whatever opportunity might present itself for escape.”

“And now, with the huge double line of this sixth gauntlet stretching before him to the msi-kah-mi-qui in Moluntha’s Town, he knew he would make his determined bid for freedom – a bid that would have to be made before the gauntlet run, else he would not have the strength left to make the escape. Despite the beatings and other mistreatment already received, he still felt strong enough to run; he was sure that if he could once gain a lead on his pursuers, he could outdistance them.”

“Bo-nah positioned him at the mouth of the terrible twin lines and stood waiting behind Simon with his own staff at ready to strike as soon as the drum at the council house door should sound. But this time Simon didn’t wait. With complete unexpectedness he leaped forward and raced down the line and had sped by a full thirty of the club wielders before they realized it. Suddenly he turned and sprang into the air directly at a short squaw who ducked instinctively. He cleared her by a foot and was running at full tilt when he touched ground behind her.”

“So amazed was the entire gauntlet line that for a long moment the Indians just stared. But Bo-nah’s shrill cry of rage galvanized them into action and the entire assemblage thundered out in pursuit. As Simon had anticipated, this worked to his advantage. The women and children got in the way of the more speedy young men and there were several collisions and upsets. By the time the young men had gotten up to full speed behind him, Simon was easily seventy yards in the lead.”

“Naked and shoeless, the agony of running was severe for him at first and it was all he could do to hold his own. But then his tormented muscles began loosening and he increased his speed, running in great smooth strides that carried him through fields and over fallen logs and little creeks as if they weren’t even there.” Amazingly enough, Simon Kenton had escaped his pursuers.

His freedom was short-lived, however, for he was captured again by a six-horseman war party. The leader of that band, Blue Jacket, caught up to Simon and “…leaned forward on his horse’s neck and swung his tomahawk fiercely. Fortunately it was the pipe end rather than the cutting end of the blade which struck him. The rounded metal end smashed into the very top of Simon’s skull, punching a section of bone the size of a shilling into his head, and he fell senseless.”

“Simon was not dead, though by rights he should have been. As it was, he did not regain consciousness for two days after Blue Jacket brought him back to Moluntha’s Town. The mood of the Shawnees there had changed in an instant from one of great gloom to one of deep joy when they saw their captive returned. Some of them ran up, gauntlet weapons still in hand, and began pummeling the frontiersman as he lay unconscious across the horse’s back.”

“The frontiersman did survive, although for four days after recovering consciousness he was in something of a daze from the pressure of that circle of skull bone resting on his brain. But incredibly, his mind cleared and by the end of the seventh day after being struck he could sit up and even walk about some.” Simon’s wounds healed quickly. But another council had affirmed his death sentence. He was turned back over to Bo-nah to be taken on the morrow to Wapatomica where the execution was to take place.

“Another gauntlet faced Simon at the end of their eight-mile walk to Wapatomica, northeast of Moluntha’s Town…The prospect of another gauntlet caused his stomach to churn. This time it was not so severe. Most of those in line were armed with switches rather than clubs, stinging when they hit rather than bruising muscle and bone. But toward the end of the line a lone, club-wielding squaw landed a savage blow over the same spot where his skull had been fractured by the tomahawk and, when he regained his senses, he found himself once more at the head of the gauntlet line and forced to run this torturous route for the eighth time.”

“He could do little more than stagger along now. For the first time since becoming a captive, he lost absolutely all hope of salvation. His feet dragged as he ran and it was in something of a haze that he felt the fire of the switches across his back and buttocks and legs. But this time no one struck his head and, though several times he stumbled, he managed to carry on and reach the open doorway of the grandest msi-kah-mi-qui of the Shawnee nation, far larger than that at Chillicothe. He collapsed unconscious across the threshold.”

“The rest of the day was one of continuous teasing and debasing, which was as hard for him to bear as the whippings. Still nude, he was staked again in spreadeagled fashion on his back. Women and children flitted about him, hurling ugly remarks and dropping handfuls of fiercely biting ants on his chest or groin. The little boys took great delight in standing with a foot on either side of his chest and urinating into his face. The worst of these acts came when a fat squaw attempted to defecate upon him. She stepped astraddle his head, raised her greasy buckskin skirt and squatted over his face. But in a rage, Simon jerked his head upward and buried his strong teeth in the soft flesh of that very tender portion of her anatomy. As she shrieked and screamed and thrashed in an effort to get away, he felt as if his head would be torn off. Only when the blood gushing from her torn body threatened to smother him did he finally release his hold. With that the whimpering squaw scrambled away through the crowd, which was roaring with laughter at how this unbelievable captive had turned the tables on her. There was no sympathy at all for the squaw: she had earned what she got through carelessness and underestimating her enemy.”

“The Wapatomica Council held the next day differed only in that the question was not whether or not Simon should be put to death, but when. Once again long speeches were made and votes cast, and when it was over he was told that when the sun arose three days from now, the fire would be kindled to consume him…Less than fifty feet from where he sat tied, a sturdy post was erected and around this on the ground, in a circle beginning five feet from the post, a crew of squaws was laying out firewood.”

Luckily for Simon, his execution was delayed. A hundred and twenty warriors had returned from near the fort at Wheeling and they had brought with them many fine scalps and eight prisoners. These prisoners were to be tried immediately before his execution. This was a lucky break for Simon. But his luck was even better. The leader of the returning war party was an old friend, Simon Girty, whose friendship went back to the days before the bitter Indian wars. Girty interceded with the Indian council and after long debate the Indians agreed to declare Simon ‘not condemned’ and turned over to Simon Girty to be adopted into the Shawnee nation.”

After a short interlude during which Girty took Kenton under his wing, Red Pole, an Indian chief who had been one of those voting for Simon’s death at Chillicothe, became incensed that the Shawnees had ‘uncomdemned’ Simon. Red Pole and a party of sixteen from Chillicothe had ridden to Can-tuc-kee to attack a settlers’ fort. They had fallen into ambush and seven of the party were killed, three others wounded. Red Pole was furious at what the council had done regarding Kenton. He won the debate among the Indians and Kenton was again declared cut-too-ho-tha. There was nothing Girty could do at this point for his friend. Girty did, however, get the council to postpone the execution until they reached the British trading post at Upper Sandusky, fifty miles to the northeast, where the Indians were to receive their annual annuities of powder and lead and other supplies to carry them through the winter. During the journey to Upper Sandusky, Bo-nah became furious that his charge had not been executed and in a rage attacked Simon with his heavy stone-headed war club. The blow caught Simon on the left arm several inches beneath the shoulder and snapped the bone. Bo-nah grabbed him by the hair and pulled him to his feet, ordering him to continue marching along the trail. The other guards had their clubs or tomahawks out and stood ready but, even so, Bo-nah stood back several paces from the fierceness of Simon’s gaze. Without a word or even a moan of pain, Simon began to walk again, cradling his injured arm in his right hand.

To his immense relief, no gauntlet was run as they entered and passed through Solomon’s Town, but a crowd hovered close and hurled insults at him and followed for half a mile before withdrawing. Simon had not even indicated that he was aware they were there and this had the effect of increasing their growing awe of him. “But an old Shawnee and his squaw whom they encountered along the trail were not awed. The slaying of their son by whites not long before was still too fresh in their minds. They had been chopping firewood and stopped to watch as the party approached. The old man snatched up the axe he had been using and swung a blow at Simon’s head. Simon ducked away but the weapon struck and broke his right collarbone, at the same time cutting a deep gash. Simon stumbled and fell and it took the combined effort of two of his guards to keep the old man from completing the job.”

“Simon had no hope whatsoever. Tomorrow at sunrise he would be tied to the stake already erected here in the center of Upper Sandusky and he knew that now he was a dead man…Ten miles or so from the major trading post on the Upper Sandusky River, a troop of twenty Indian youths on horseback met them and galloped around the captive and his guards with shrill cries and threatening gestures, then disappeared in the direction from whence they had come. In another mile the six came to a clearing where these boys and several dozen others had aligned themselves for Simon’s ninth gauntlet. Even the fact that they were armed only with light switches failed to raise Simon’s spirits and he walked rather than ran the thirty-yard gauntlet, hardly aware of the stinging blows raining upon his backside.”

“No white man ever walked through a gauntlet! No white man did not feel the burning bite of willowy switches – not unless he was under the special protection of the Great Spirit. As a result, the blows that struck him at the end of the line were hardly more than gentle taps and some of the boys, out of fear, refrained altogether from striking…Apparently word of this phenomenon had spread to Upper Sandusky and this time there was no gauntlet line awaiting him. Nor did he receive as much of the heckling and minor torturing as before. He was simply tied to the post and told that at sunrise he would be burned. Once again fate intervened. The ring of firewood was laid around the fire post and Kenton was led toward it in the early light. Before he could be tied to it, however, the skies suddenly broke and a heavy pelting rain drummed down on the entire area, soaking the wood and adding fuel only to the belief that the life of this great white man was being protected. Nevertheless, the ritual burning was merely postponed until tomorrow at the same time and Simon Kenton could conceive of no other possible twist of fate which might again save him. This time tomorrow he would be dead.”

Simon did not expect the last twist of fate that would deliver him to freedom. Drouilliard, an old friend of Kenton’s and a respected trader with the Indians, intervened and convinced the Indians that Kenton must be delivered to the British at Fort Detroit so that they might obtain information from him regarding the American militia – thus saving many Indian lives. Simon Kenton was now in the hands of the British.

Several months later, however, Simon Kenton escaped and made his way back to his homestead in Kentucky. He lived a long and full life, finally dying in his bed after 81 years. In the meantime, the War of 1812 had been won by the Americans and with it, the Northwest Territory. It was a safe world east of the Mississippi now, where the worst enemy a man had to face was his own kind — thanks to the men like Simon Kenton, the Frontiersmen. Few lives had ever been as eventful, few men as important to an era. And upon his headstone is engraved in eloquent simplicity ‘Full of Honors, Full of Years.

Several heroes of the Vietnam War, for example lance Captain Lance Sijan, USAF (of Serbian ancestry), 1st Lieutenant John Bobo USMC, and Captain Rocky Versace U.S. Army, have carried on the Scots-Irish tradition so well exemplified by Simon Kenton. While a feminized America allows celebration of our Vietnam War POW heroes, these Americans exemplified the warrior spirit of our forebears – and died while taking the fight to the enemy and hardly anyone honors their heroism. On the other hand, however, the other gauntlet of this tale exemplifies the weakness of our ‘feminized’ military – resulting from the ‘feminization’ of our larger culture.

Introduction to the Female Gauntlet (Paula Coughlin)

During a weekend in September 1991 the Tailhook Association held its annual reunion at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The so-called Tailhook "scandal" was fabricated, inflated into controversy beyond the boundaries of belief, and used as a public relations vehicle to destroy the public confidence in the U.S. Navy and the morale of those who then served. This overblown "scandal" turned into a witch hunt which threw constitutional guarantees out the window for those accused. It also resulted in the weak-kneed civilian and top naval leadership caving in to the special interests of egalitarian organizations to admit women to combat roles on ships and in aircraft. This occurred solely in order that women might in the future penetrate the so-called "glass ceiling" of equal opportunity military employment. It had absolutely no basis in terms of national security need. This result has led to a weakened Navy which has been subject to reduced standards in recruitment, qualification, and promotion, especially in naval aviation, to contribute to the national defense in the manner that has led to victory in every major conflict over the past two centuries. But what is this Tailhook "scandal" which precipitated this process? It involved charges of sexual abuse and misconduct carried out by young male naval aviators on women who attended, some of whom were themselves naval officers.

The Events That Led to the Female Gauntlet

The Tailhook Association, a private, nonprofit social/professional organization of naval aviators, contractors, and others involved in naval aviation, has hosted an annual professional conference at the Las Vegas Hilton for decades. In 1991, over 4,000 naval officers attended the weekend conference [6]. It is important to note here that probably fewer than 30 and certainly fewer than 117 (the number of persons officially accused by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)) were responsible for all of the alleged "misconduct." The quality and usefulness of the conference, as a professional gathering, has not been challenged [7]. The OIG reports, however, that the social or "party" aspects of the conference had been growing increasingly out of control in the years before 1991. The OIG report identifies 90 "victims" (83 females and 7 males) of indecent assault by naval officers as well as numerous other acts of "indecency" over the weekend of the conference. Such acts included pinching, streaking, mooning, chicken fights (women sitting on the shoulders of males in the swimming pool and attempting to remove the bathing suit tops of other women), ballwalking (public display of male genitalia outside of clothing), leg shaving, belly/navel shots (imbibing liquor from belly buttons), butt biting, zapping (placing paper stickers on a person's clothing), X-rated movies, and public and paid sex (a few instances). Of these, only ballwalking and belly/navel shots appear to be unique to Tailhook. All others are byproducts of a society which, over time, has accepted such behavior by young adults without public outcry. Such events have become routine at Spring Break from colleges across the land as the students cavort at resort beaches from coast to coast. And this, off course, is the environment from which the military services recruit their young officers.

A prominent university professor [8] expresses this concept accurately, "For generations, boys were taught that certain kinds of behavior were not acceptable in the presence of women. They were taught courtesy, attentiveness and to use no foul language, and assault was out of the question altogether, even if your face were slapped. Women were to be placed on a pedestal. These civilizing lessons made a lot of sense because of the awesome physical power difference between men and women." He goes further to describe the changes resulting from the civil rights industry and the radical feminist agenda as, "For the last several decades these values and customs, and the civil institutions that fostered them, have been seen as archaic and unnecessarily inhibitive of fun. And they've been seen as impediments to the social engineering agenda and ideology of society's elite that call for women being declared equal to men."

None of the 90 alleged victims of sexual assault could identify their assailants. It is also of interest to observe that in fully 15 of the 83 alleged assaults carried out on women, the victims either "objected to being labeled as a victim" or took care of the incident to their own satisfaction. Nevertheless, the OIG investigators included these "body counts" in their official report [9]. It is clear that these investigators themselves had an agenda. As stated previously, many of them were women, obviously radical feminists themselves or sympathetic to their cause, who selectively reported (often misreported) questionable activities by men but not by women.

The gauntlet was defined by witnesses [10] as a very crowded hallway in the Las Vegas Hilton hotel where people were drinking and socializing and where it was difficult to move without having drinks spilled on oneself. Others reported that the gauntlet consisted of "drunk" and "obnoxious" junior officers who pushed and shoved each other and anyone else in the hallway. Descriptions of the gauntlet in the mid-to-late 1980s also included reports of women being passed overhead down the hallway, similar to a type of activity seen at numerous high school or college football games across the nation. The OIG report [11] admits that "Our investigation revealed that many women freely and knowingly participated in gauntlet activities. A significant number of witnesses reported that women went through the gauntlet and seemed to enjoy the attention and interaction with the aviators. Those witnesses, both men and women, generally stated they could tell the women were enjoying themselves because, despite being grabbed and pushed along through the crowd, they were smiling and giggling. Some of the women were observed going repeatedly through the gauntlet. Many women who went through the gauntlet told us they did so willingly and were not offended by the men touching them."

Further, the OIG report reveals the character of many of the women who attended the Tailhook convention to participate in the activities described above. It states [12], "A civilian woman employed by the Navy told us of a conversation she had with another young woman whom she met while on a commercial flight into Las Vegas to attend Tailhook '91. The young woman described the gauntlet and said that, at about 3:00 a.m., things get 'real rough' and wild on the third floor. According to the Navy employee, the young woman implied that she enjoyed this type of activity and that was the reason she was going to Tailhook '91." Many people told the OIG investigators [13] that they understood the gauntlet to be a Tailhook tradition in which women willingly walked through columns of drunken aviators and were fondled, grabbed, groped, pinched, or otherwise consensually touched.

In many instances, some of the "victims" were warned of the raucous and wild behavior that was typical of the gauntlet. Two civilian females and one civilian male described [14] seeing a sign posted on the third floor which read "Gauntlet -- Enter at your own risk" or some similar wording. One of the women specifically recalled that the sign was visible in the hallway area immediately on exiting the guest elevators. Another female Navy lieutenant said that "squadron mates told her about the gauntlet prior to attending Tailhook and warned her 'Don't be on the third floor after 11:00 p.m.'" The OIG report states [15] that "Many female officers said they had been forewarned to avoid the third-floor hallway at certain times." Numerous accounts exist in the OIG report wherein male aviators either forewarned prospective "victims" of the dangers involved in entering the gauntlet or were instrumental in physically rescuing them from the "mob" aspects of the gauntlet.

It is worthy of note that the OIG investigators strained credibility by attempting to balance the sexual assault nature of their report by disclosing [16] seven (7) cases wherein men were assaulted by women. Four were pinched on the buttocks. Two were grabbed in the crotch by unidentified women. One had his shorts pulled down to his knees by two women. These reports, attempting to represent some semblance of impartiality in the investigation, are not only ludicrous but insulting to any reasonable person's intelligence. To believe that most men would object to or be insulted by such antics is laughable. In fact, the OIG investigators failed completely to report the behavior of female naval officers at Tailhook which, if carried out by males, would have been reported as punishable offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. As it turns out, the OIG investigators completely overlooked the inappropriate behavior of female officers and reported only that of male officers.

The alleged assaults at Tailhook occurred primarily in the hallway at the hotel, the gauntlet. The OIG report reveals that the hallway, probably as long as maybe 30 yards or so, was absolutely packed with bodies. A witness said [17] that ". . . the majority of them, two to three hundred young people, are between 21-to-26-year-old young men, mostly on the lower, probably the 21-to-24-year-olds, and mostly, in my judgment, just by the attendance at Tailhook, mostly, young Naval officers, but also Marine officers and some Air Force guys; and I did see some people there in '91 that, by their dress and their hair, were not in the military at all. They were civilians that came from the local areas to attend the party." Consequently, the focus of the OIG investigation was initially on finding the young naval officers who allegedly sexually assaulted 90 "victims" at Tailhook.

The OIG investigators used detailed interviews and other investigative techniques to allege [18] that 23 officers were determined to warrant referral to the Navy for having participated in indecent assaults, and an additional 23 in indecent exposure. In total, 87 officers were implicated in one or more incidents involving such acts and/or conduct unbecoming an officer. It is noted that none of the 90 so-called "victims" of sexual assault listed in the report were able to identify their assailant(s). Absolutely no hard evidence existed for prosecution of any of the sexual assault allegations. Consequently, the investigators used over 800 photographs collected from Tailhook attendees to implicate many of the young naval officers in some questionable act and then asked those officers to incriminate themselves or other naval officers on the more serious allegations of sexual assault. That is, the investigators were in the unenviable position of having to ask alleged perpetrators to testify against themselves and/or fellow naval officers solely on the basis of speculative peripheral evidence.

The upshot of all of this judicial activity has been that not one junior officer has been apprehended and convicted of any of the 90 alleged sexual assaults. It is clear, however, that junior officers were the perpetrators of whatever assaults that might have actually been carried out during Tailhook '91. They were the people who created, manned, and carried out the gauntlet activities.

One month after the Tailhook symposium of September 1991, LT Paula Coughlin officially reported the facts of her assault at the hands of unidentified young males at the gauntlet in the third-floor corridor of the Las Vegas Hilton hotel. She reported her abuse at Tailhook '91 to the then Secretary of the Navy, H. Lawrence Garrett III. She had earlier unofficially reported the incident to her superior officer, Rear Admiral John W. Snyder, Jr. who did not immediately report the matter to higher authority. When a full investigation of the affair promised by Mr. Garrett failed to materialize, LT Coughlin went public [19] with her story on 24 June 1992 to the national mainstream news media, including The Washington Post. In addition to appearances on national television such as ABC's Peter Jennings, who ran her interview on two consecutive broadcasts of World News Tonight, she published her story in the June 1993 issue of Glamour magazine [20]. LT Coughlin's account of the attack on her is contained in the OIG report [21]: "According to LT Coughlin, she arrived at the third-floor hallway of the Hilton Hotel alone at approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday evening. She entered the hotel from the pool patio through the doors at the main passenger elevators, turned right and proceeded up the hallway. As she approached the hallway, she found it to be loud and rowdy. Both sides of the hallway were lined with men leaning on the walls. As she began to walk up the hallway, there were approximately six to eight young men on each side of the hallway and two in the center of the hallway. Each had their backs to her at the head of the group. As she attempted to pass the man on the right side, the man intentionally bumped into her with his right hip. LT Coughlin excused herself, and one of the men lining the hallway yelled loudly, "Admiral's Aide!" LT Coughlin turned to look at the man who yelled. She described the man who had first bumped into her as having dark skin with short dark hair, perhaps Hispanic or a light-skinned black. She was grabbed by the buttocks with such force that it lifted her off the ground and ahead a step. LT Coughlin turned around and yelled at the man, "What the f--- do you think you are doing?" As she said that, she was grabbed on the buttocks by someone from behind. She turned and asked that individual the same question. The men in the group began grabbing her breasts as well as her buttocks. LT Coughlin described the assault as follows:

'The man with the dark complexion moved in immediately

behind me with his body pressed against mine. He was

bumping me, pushing me forward down the passageway

where the group on either side was pinching and then

pulling at my clothing. The man then put both his hands

down the front of my tanktop and inside my bra where he

grabbed my breasts. I dropped to a forward crouch position

and placed my hands on the wrists of my attacker in an attempt

to remove his hands . . . I sank my teeth into the fleshy part

of the man's left forearm, biting, hard. I thought I drew blood . . .

I then turned and bit the man on the right hand at the area

between the base of the thumb and base of the index finger.

The man removed his hands and another individual reached up

under my skirt and grabbed the crotch of my panties. I kicked

one of my attackers . . . I felt as though the group was trying to

rape me. I was terrified and had no idea what was going to

happen next.'

LT Coughlin attempted to escape into one of the administrative suites, but her route was blocked by men who stood in the doorway and would not allow her through. The men in the crowd continued to grab at her buttocks and breasts, and she noticed that one of the men in the crowd turned and began to walk away. 'I reached out and tapped him on the right hip, pleading with the man to just let me get in front of him. The man stopped, turned . . . and pivoted to a position directly in front of me. With this action, the man raised both his hands and put one on each of my breasts.'

LT Coughlin broke free and ran past him into an open door that led to one of the administrative suites. She sat in the room in the dark, 'attempting to understand what had happened to me . . . I was appalled not only by the brutality [compared to Simon Kenton’s treatment?] of the incident, but the fact that the group did that to me knowing I was both a fellow officer and an admiral's aide.'

The OIG report contains testimony from three others who witnessed portions of the attack on LT Coughlin. These reports corroborate some of the details of her testimony. It is of interest to note that the OIG report contains allegations that LT Coughlin herself had engaged in improper behavior at Tailhook '91. The report states [22], "During the course of our investigation, we received several allegations indicating that LT Coughlin engaged in improper activity while at Tailhook '91. We investigated all such allegations but found that the allegations were based on hearsay testimony or were otherwise without merit. None of the people who told us about the alleged incidents or improper conduct involving LT Coughlin actually witnessed the incidents themselves, nor could they provide the identity of any eyewitnesses. When interviewed, LT Coughlin denied all allegations of impropriety. No credible information was found to support the allegations of misconduct on the part of LT Coughlin."

It became clear only during the sworn testimony of witnesses during the Article 32 pretrial hearings for the naval aviators implicated in Tailhook '91 that there indeed was misconduct on the part of LT Coughlin at Tailhook '91. This misconduct, if reported against male naval officers, would have resulted in nonjudicial punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This did not happen.

In the aftermath of Tailhook ’91, the National Organization for Women (NOW) trumpeted a victory lap for LT Paula Coughlin in their online January 1995 newspaper[23]. “Former Navy lieutenant Paula Coughlin won $5 million in punitive damages in her suit against the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel for its failure to provide adequate security during the 1991 Tailhook convention. Coughlin was one of more than 80 women who say they were sexually assaulted by drunken Navy and Marine aviators at the convention. The federal jury had earlier awarded Coughlin $1.7 million in compensatory damages. USA Today reports that Navy fitness records described Coughlin as a ‘bright star’ with a promising future until she quit, citing harassment after she publicly charged that the Navy had failed to investigate the complaints of sexual assaults and retaliation for blowing the whistle on the Tailhook scandal. ‘I think justice was served,’ said Coughlin, who hopes to slip into obscurity, go home and ‘paint my house.’ Coughlin settled with the Tailhook Association for an undisclosed amount of money before the civil trial began. ”


The ancestry of Simon Kenton, the frontiersman – and warrior – has been established. He was definitely of Scots-Irish descent. Scots-Irishman James Webb, Vietnam combat veteran and former Secretary of the Navy, traces the history [24] of his people, beginning nearly two thousand years ago at Hadrian’s Wall (constructed by the Romans), when the nation of Scotland was formed north of the Wall through armed conflict, in contrast to England’s formation to the south through commerce and trade.

Webb vividly portrays how the Scots-Irish developed the qualities that helped settle the American frontier and define the American character [25]. “There was a time more than two thousand years ago when Celtic tribes dominated middle Europe…They were poetic and warlike. They followed strong leaders, even to their deaths. They brought their women and children to the battlefield and put them behind their ranks so they would be sure not to retreat. And they did not retreat…And they had a permeating discontent that caused the more determined of them to keep pushing, every generation, a little bit farther into the wild unknown.”

“Until God played his greatest trick on them. Up the English Island they moved, a generation at a time, ever northward, each generation seeing the more restless and aggressive push farther, breeding a new generation of even more restless and aggressive travelers. To the far north they moved, into what is now called Scotland, and when it ended or became too bleak they found sea bridges into Ireland. And so after hundreds or thousands of years of insistent wandering, the most migratory and curious among them found that they were caught in a cruel genetic joke, all their energies bottled up in wild, desolate places that only faced each other or the sea. So back and forth they went, across the sea bridges from Ireland to Scotland and then back again, waves of them that they called ‘clans’ taking out their fury on each other, then uniting once in a while when the Romans or the English sought to conquer them. The wildest, most contentious people on all the earth, trapped in a sea-bound bottleneck, their emotions spattering out into poetry and music and brawls, calling each other Irish and Scottish now, or Catholic and Protestant, anything that might make another reason for a good, hard fight.”

Webb continues. “Until they became the British Empire’s greatest voyagers, indeed its greatest export, settling in odd places all around the world. And for that splinter of them…the Scots-Irish, this meant the Appalachian mountains, their first stop on their way to creating a way of life that many would come to call, if not American, certainly the defining fabric of the South and the Midwest as well as the core character of the nation’s working class.”

Webb explains that [26] “The Scots-Irish…are a force that shapes our culture, more in the abstract power of emotion than through the argumentative force of law.” Here is where we draw our first distinction between Simon Kenton (the warrior) and Paula Coughlin (the female pretender). The ‘argumentative force of law’ became the latter’s battleground. His was the fierce battleground forged in the Indian wars.

“Two hundred years ago the mountains built a fierce and uncomplaining self-reliance into an already hardened people…Their bloodline was stained by centuries of continuous warfare along the border between England and Scotland, and then in the bitter settlements of England’s Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland…On occasion they sold themselves as indentured servants in order to escape Ulster’s harshness, although unsurprisingly, they quickly became known in America as disagreeable and in-your-face when in that role.”

“In America they settled not in the plantations along the Southern coast or in the bustling towns of New England, but in the raw and unforgiving mountain wilderness…the overwhelming majority populating an area along the Appalachians that stretched from Pennsylvania to Georgia and Alabama. It was not unusual to find that their first task beyond building a cabin was to defend themselves against the bloodcurdling attacks of Indian war parties.”

“They fought the Indians and then they fought the British, comprising 40 percent of the Revolutionary War army. They were the great pioneers – Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, and Davy Crockett among them – blazing the westward trails into Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and beyond…They formed the bulk of the Confederate Army and a good part of the Union Army as well, and even later provided many of the greatest generals and soldiers our nation has ever seen. Stonewall Jackson comes to mind, as do Sam Houston, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Ulysses S. Grant, George S. Patton, and a slew of army chiefs of staff and Marine Corps commandants. Not to mention Sgt. Alvin York, the most remembered hero of World War I, Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II, and David Hackworth, America’s most decorated veteran from Korea and Vietnam. Indeed, they have fed dedicated soldiers to this nation far beyond their numbers in every war – for instance, the heavily Scots-Irish people of West Virginia ranked first, second, or third in military casualty rates in every U.S. war of the twentieth century…”

Webb describes the Scots-Irish who populated the early American frontier as [27] “…a quick-tempered but sensual and playful people. They often dressed provocatively, acted with a volatile belligerence, drank to excess, engaged in constant and open competition in every form, and adamantly defied the attempts of outsiders to control them.” This might also describe the young naval aviators, warriors just back from the first Gulf War, who formed the gauntlet that Paula Coughlin, the pretender, voluntarily traversed in the third floor hallway of the Las Vegas Hilton hotel one wild, raucous night in September 1991.

But the Scots-Irish were, above all, fighters. Webb says of these early settlers [28], “These were uncommonly tough people, used to hardship. They asked for nothing from the government or anyone else, and nothing is what they usually received. They followed the Wilderness Road into the backcountry and the Wagon Trail into uncharted Piedmont and mountains where only the Indians dwelled, creating a series of log cabin settlements that were little more than small but interconnecting fortresses…their principal economic activities were cattle and hog farming, hunting, trapping, and rudimentary trade, especially with the Indians whom the flatlanders so desperately feared. And every male adult automatically became part of a local militia.”

“[The Scots-Irish settlers’] ferocious performance against a variety of Indian attacks that began in 1754 and continued even after the seven years of the French and Indian War gained them not only respect but also an enduring legitimacy. They fought and played by their own rules, expecting no quarter from an enemy and giving none in return.”

“From the very beginning, the Scots-Irish carried few delusions with them into the mountains…[there was an Indian problem]…From the moment the members of a new settlement began building their first cabin, every man, woman, and child knew they were in a land that could quickly turn into a war zone. A militia had to be formed, with clearly defined responsibilities…In many mountain areas, ‘blockhouse’ forts were built on centrally located farms, where the settlers could gather in order to defend themselves from attack. Attacked they were, war parties sometimes carrying away women and children as prizes. Fight they did, learning from the Indians themselves how to use the woods and blend into their surroundings, tossing aside old European ideas of battle and becoming masters of the frontier.”

For the Scots-Irish “The measure of a man was not how much money he made or how much land he held [or how educated he may or may not be] but whether he was bold – often to the point of recklessness – whether he would fight, and whether he could lead… Physical courage fueled this culture, and an adamant independence marked its daily life. Success itself was usually defined in personal reputation rather than worldly goods…poor but proud was an unapologetic and uncomplaining way of life…The difference between this culture and most others is that its members don’t particularly care what others think of them.”

Webb points out that [29] “To the end of his service [the Scots-Irish soldier] could not be disciplined. He slouched. He would never learn to salute in the brisk fashion so dear to the hearts of the professors of mass murder…and yet – by virtue of precisely these unsoldierly qualities, he was, as no one will care to deny, one of the world’s very finest fighting men.”

Webb lays the foundation for a rational view [made in this essay] for the behavior of the young male naval aviators, just back from the first Gulf War, at Tailhook ’91. As were the Scots-Irish, these young naval aviators were imbued with a warrior ethic. According to Webb [30], “The warrior ethic has always been the culture’s strong suit. The Scots-Irish emphasis on soldiering builds military leaders with the same focus and intensity that Talmudic tradition creates legal scholars…And, as always with this culture, wherever it resides, honorable military service remained one of the surest stepping-stones to respect and even advancement inside the community.”

Webb, in a discussion of the political debate over the impact of Darwinian theory, observes [31] that this [again] “…pitted the touchstones of Southern culture [primarily Scots-Irish culture] against what many viewed to be an assault from the outside.” This is a trait of the Scots-Irish. They have never bowed to any assault from outside their own culture. And that is precisely what was occurring as politically motivated Congressmen were preparing to open near-combat roles for women in the U.S. military – at the urging of a radical feminist movement based on a foreign ideology, cultural Marxism. The Scots-Irish, our nation’s most valuable military asset – the fighters, the warriors – were being challenged from above rather than led from below. This violated a 2,000-year tradition, based on a warrior ethic that spanned the ages from Hadrian’s Wall in northern England through the Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and every other major war to the present. The Scots-Irish and their warrior ethos would not stand for such a corruption of their heritage. Consequently, Tailhook ’91 had to happen.

Webb gets to the heart of what is in contention in today’s culture wars, an element of which is the matter of women-in-combat [32]. “For nearly two thousand years, in one form or another, this culture’s unbending individualism – and its ingrained hatred of aristocracy – has been in conflict with a variety of authoritarian power structures, and it remains so in today’s America. The culture in its embryonic form stood fast against the Roman and Norman nation-builders who created a structured and eventually feudal England. The unique emphasis on individual rights and responsibilities…caused it to resist the throne and finally brought down a king. The fierceness of its refusal to accommodate the Anglican theocrats in Ulster created the radical politics of nonconformism, and this attitude was carried into the Appalachian Mountains. Its people refused to bend a knee to New York and Boston either before, during, or after the Civil War, standing firm against outside forces that would try to tell them how to live and what to believe.” This, again, explains the resistance of many ordinary Americans to the alien practice of ‘sensitivity training,’ to change their behavior and/or attitudes toward agendas of our elites in the higher echelons of many of our public institutions – including, during the 1990s – our nation’s military. This is particularly true of the resisters in the military who respected themselves and their honor above the ticket-punching careerism that has infected our modern armed forces. They are not satisfied to ‘go along to get along’ with the politically motivated bootlickers – both civilian and military. They remain true to the Scots-Irish heritage whether or not they have a Scots-Irish surname.

Webb continues. “And even today, an individual and an issue at the time, [the Scots-Irish heritage] refuses to accept the politics of group privilege [e.g. affirmative action, preference for some over others] that have been foisted on America by its paternalistic, Ivy League-centered, media-connected, politically correct power centers.”

“America’s ruling classes have carried a visceral dislike of this culture from the earliest days of the colonial experience, when the first Scots-Irish parcels from Ulster – turned away from the Puritan settlements in Massachusetts – headed for the hills of New Hampshire. Those who plotted their towns so carefully and wished to form a society based on order, reason, and compliance felt little more than disgust for the chaotic, often sensual rebelliousness of a people who refused to be controlled from above. [Shades of Tailhook ’91.] … Modern military commanders, plant foremen, union bosses, and government commissars of political correctness all learn and relearn the same lesson every day – that this is a people who respond to good leadership but will never allow themselves to be dominated or controlled if an edict from above violates their beliefs.”

Web explains that “The ethnic makeup of America’s ruling class has changed over the generations, just as the ethnic composition of the [Scots-Irish] has been leavened by assimilation. The methods of enforcing dominance from above have also undergone many alterations, from sword and spear and royal prerogative to the ability to manipulate power structures through a network of elite academic institutions, media suasion, and judicial activism. But the basic issues that drive the controversy have remained remarkably consistent. On the one had, there has always been a form of power that believes it holds the answers to society’s problems and wishes to impose those answers from above, its members being the arbiters of what is right and wrong, proper or antisocial. And on the other are the people who are sure of who they are, loyal to strong leaders who affirm their basic beliefs, and who reserve their greatest dislike for those who would abuse governmental systems in order to create special favors for anyone who does not deserve them.” And this, in a nutshell, is what was at the heart of the Tailhook ’91 ‘abuse’ of women by the young warrior naval aviators. Paula Coughlin and her sisters in arms did not earn their ‘combat’ positions. They were placed there by edicts from above – political edicts from congress, political edicts from the Clinton administration (the center of the cultural Marxist revolution in America from their early days in the 1960s to their rise to power in the 1990s), and finally from the Navy admirals (most of whom were non-combat submariners) who were at the top of the chain of naval command.

There is significance to the fact that when LT Paula Coughlin prepared to enter her ‘gauntlet’ on the third floor of the Las Vegas Hilton hotel, a male voice loudly proclaimed, ‘Admiral’s Aide!’ The ‘warrior’ Navy, as opposed to the ‘suck up’ Navy takes a dim view of those who finagle such cushy, career-enhancing positions without going through the test of fire in, at least several long deployments, if not combat, where one is expected to ‘earn’ his good reputation. Paula Coughlin was one such ‘suck up’ naval officer. The admiral who proudly served as her mentor (a former good friend of mine at Test Pilot School at Patuxent River and who testified on her behalf in her lawsuit against the Hilton hotel chain) had awarded her a medal for ‘working ten hours a day, six days a week’ as his aide. She had bragged publicly that her job was to ‘keep her boss out of trouble.’ Her job as ‘Admiral’s Aide’ was to keep track of his schedule. The young naval aviators at Tailhook ’91 presumably knew of her record.

Those young naval officers at Tailhook ‘91 were also obviously aware of the reduced standards for women in tests involving upper body strength, stamina and endurance in physical fitness tests, and allowing women to simply walk around the barrier-climb were observed by these young male naval officers throughout their training. And they obviously resented it. The female naval officers were competitors for scarce future flying jobs and the young male aviators naturally resented "dumbing down" of standards for women in this competitive atmosphere. Thus, it is particularly telling that the cry “Admiral's Aide!” went up in a chorus when LT Paula Coughlin attempted a penetration of the all-male gauntlet. The thought of a male competitor enhancing the path of his own future promotion by "sucking up" to the brass in a cushy aide's job, without having to face the dangers and hardships of at-sea deployments, can make even a hardened combat veteran slightly “white around the moustache.” The fact that Lt Coughlin, an Admiral's Aide, was in addition a female, obviously added to the fire of resentment. The OIG report contains [33] reference to such attitudes, "One female Navy commander opined that the 1991 Tailhook convention was different in some ways from previous years, in part because of the recent Gulf War and the congressional inquiries regarding women in combat. She is quoted as saying,

The heightened emotions from the Gulf War were also

enhanced with the forthcoming . . . downsizing of the

military, so that you had people feeling very threat-

ened for their job security and to more than just their

jobs, their lifestyle. So you had people worried about

what was coming down with the future. You had quite a

bit of change. You had people that had been to the

Gulf War. You had alcohol. You had a convention that

had a lot of ingredients for an emotional whirlwind

of controversy."

She went on to say that these potentially explosive ingredients combined at Tailhook '91, and resulted in ". . . an animosity in this Tailhook that existed that was telling the women that 'We don't have any respect for you now as humans.'" The animosity, in this officer's opinion, was focused on women:

"This was the woman that was making you, you know,

change your ways. This was the woman that was

threatening your livelihood. This was the woman

that was threatening your lifestyle. This was the

woman that wanted to take your spot in that combat


Anyone with half a brain could have figured out that a walk down the 30-yard ‘gauntlet’ at Tailhook ’91 was not a good idea. Especially if you were an ‘Admiral’s Aide’ and a female naval aviator with an elevated opinion of herself. Thus, LT Paula Coughlin walked into a Scots-Irish hornets nest and could not ‘take it like a man.’ She had unwittingly stumbled into over 2,000 years of warrior tradition that was fired up and white hot. A comparison of Paula Coughlin’s ‘gauntlet’ and that traversed by Simon Kenton, the frontiersman, is especially telling with respect to one who has the ‘warrior ethos’ and another who was just a ‘pretender.’ America fights (and must fight) her wars with the former. America cannot rely on the ‘pretenders.’ To do so is not only folly, it is akin to committing suicide.

Webb sums up the legacy of the Scots-Irish culture in America today [34]. “…the traditional Scots-Irish is a study in wild contrasts. These are intensely religious people, indeed, they comprise the very heart of the Christian evangelical movement – and yet they are also unapologetically and even devilishly hedonistic. They are probably the most antiauthoritarian culture in America, conditioned from birth to resist any pressure from above, and yet they are known as the most intensely patriotic segment of the country as well. They are naturally rebellious, often impossible to control, and yet their strong military tradition produces generation after generation of perhaps the finest soldiers the world has ever seen.” These are just the kind of soldiers our nation needs now in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places around the globe where the threat of terrorist violence of global reach is present. We offend this group at our nation’s peril. In the aftermath of Tailhook ’91, those with the ‘warrior spirit’ in naval aviation were purged from the ranks. It continued at Aberdeen with the U.S. Army. And it is at work today at the U.S. Air Force Academy. This must not stand!

“Underlying these seeming contradictions is an unwritten but historically consistent code of personal honor and individual accountability. For untold centuries this code has required males of the culture to prove through physical challenge that they possess the courage, judgment, loyalty, and survival skills necessary to take their place among the ‘Celtic kinship.’ Modern sociologists may wish to demean this process and call it sexist or outmoded, but it nonetheless persists, through a series of formal and informal rites of passage…Through a system of rewards and punishments, honor and shame, and ultimately acceptance or rejection, the Scots-Irish culture shapes its own version of manhood in accordance with the traditions that have sustained it.” This is America’s warrior culture. We see it in action around the world in our Special Forces, our Rangers, our Infantry, our Marines, and in other pockets of excellence in some of our other armed services. It is, however, being corrupted by the cultural Marxist forces at work in attempting to carry out their counter-culture revolution.

Paula Coughlin was one instrument of that counter-culture revolution. The tale of her ‘gauntlet’ pales in comparison to that run by the Scots-Irish frontiersman, Simon Kenton. Where his required a run of a quarter-mile through the clubs, branches, and hickory switches in the hands of hundreds of raging Indians, while naked, and with the sentence of death hanging over his head, Coughlin’s was a 30-yard voluntary traverse of a ‘gauntlet’ of some dozens of young naval aviators who pinched, poked, grabbed, and pushed her along. The sexual nature of her ‘gauntlet’ is a weak joke compared to the actual survival ritual imposed on Simon Kenton by brutal savages [quite akin to the Islamic jihadists we face now in Afghanistan and Iraq]. Nothing could be more illustrative of the rapid descent of some portions of our nation’s military than the comparison of these two gauntlet runs – one by a warrior who would not beg, would not cry, would not complain, would not cringe, would not submit; the other by a female who displayed so little courage as to suggest that her motive was to do the greatest amount of harm and damage to a venerable institution, the U.S. Navy. All if this was carried out in the name of an agenda aimed at male ‘enemies,’ who are presumed to oppress women. For Simon Kenton the enemy was savage Indians who practiced the most foul and inhumane torture on their victims. For Paula Coughlin, the enemy was young males who pinched, poked, pushed, and groped. The contrast could not be more illustrative of strength of character and a ‘warrior spirit’ compared to a whining, complaining, malcontent who couldn’t take it like a man.

In fact, there were female naval officers who were subjected to the same treatment afforded LT Paula Coughlin at Tailhook ’91, but who took care of the matter by themselves, without a coven of organized outside radical feminists and a lawsuit from which she became a multi-millionaire. Those females did not whine, did not cry, did not submit. They, the few, must have been of Scots-Irish ancestry.

There is a question here of how societal evolution in America resulted in the alleged ‘abuses’ of Tailhook ’91. That is, the trendy shredding of tradition in our culture concerning attitudes of and about females. A respected black professor asks a simple question, "How come men don't whimper and wail when insulted by foul language and rude behavior?" He answers this question [appropriate, as well, as an explanation for behavior exhibited by a few young naval officers at Tailhook '91] as follows: "We just return the favor in kind, and if the situation calls for it, we have a fair one -- a rumble. Even if you can't rumble, you don't whimper and wail. That's for sissies -- at least traditionally. Also, traditionally, behavior acceptable among men was not acceptable between men and women. Thankfully, there was a double standard. Women could say and do things, like slap your face, that wouldn't be tolerated if done by a man. Boys were indoctrinated to treat women differently. This made sense because, given enormous male and female strength differences, women would always come out on the short end of the rumble.

He goes on to describe recent cultural changes in the attitudes toward women. "For the past several decades we've been told: Women are equal to men, we must eliminate double standards, there must be liberation. We've seen the effects of that message. Some men make lewd comments to women and treat them in a manner that not even the lowest of lowlifes would have 50 years ago. And we're all naively surprised. While we were trashing spontaneously evolved traditional values for male-female relationships, we forgot their purposes. Instead of recognizing the folly and recapturing those values, like fools, we think government sexual harassment laws [and military sensitivity training] are suitable substitutes."

He goes on to characterize the nature of cultural changes which have influenced attitudes about authority in the larger society from which the Navy draws its young officer candidates. "Our attack on traditional values runs deep. During the past several decades, there has been a successful attack on all centers of authority…Look at the flap over President Clinton's marital infidelity, pot smoking, draft dodging and other moral indiscretions. The fact that Mr. Clinton is what he is doesn't say much. His faults are shared by millions of men. As such, it's nothing new. What's new is that at no time in our history could a man who was a known draft dodger, flagrant womanizer, and pot smoker be elected to the nation's highest office. This is the first time in our history where military men, from top brass on down, had to be ordered and lectured to respect the commander in chief. The fact that Mr. Clinton was the President of the United States says little about Mr. Clinton, but a lot about widespread national moral degeneration.

These observations paint a landscape of cultural change, at least in part promoted by radical feminists, which led to behavior exhibited by a few young naval officers at Tailhook '91. Such behavior was neither spawned nor approved by the U.S. Navy. Nevertheless, Tailhook ’91 was the seminal event that opened combat roles to women in naval ships and naval aviation and nearly 95 or so percent of combat roles in the Air Force as well as a huge number of ‘job descriptions’ in the Army. And that is why women are being protected in military fortresses in Iraq and Afghanistan while they incur death and injury anytime they venture outside these protective shells.

In the meantime, a vast number of the warriors in these services have left in droves as women came to ascendancy in military units. Even the support units of our Special Forces have been opened to women whether or not they can toss a hand grenade beyond lethal range of themselves and their fellow soldiers. When the Scots-Irish and their ‘extended family’ of warriors leave our armed forces, America is weakened by the loss of the very culture that sustained it during times of war. We continue this folly at our nation’s peril. This tale of two different gauntlets informs this folly.

Will Durant, who spent a lifetime chronicling the history of Western Civilization, described how ancient Greece decayed into oblivion. Durant explains that [35] "The life of thought endangers every civilization that it adorns. In the earlier stages of a nation's history there is little thought; action flourishes; men are direct, uninhibited, frankly pugnacious and sexual. As civilization develops, as customs, institutions, laws, and morals more and more restrict the operation of natural impulses, action gives way to thought, achievement to imagination, directness to subtlety, expression to concealment, cruelty to sympathy, belief to doubt; the unity of character common to animals and primitive men passes away; behavior becomes fragmentary and hesitant, conscious and calculating; the willingness to fight subsides into a disposition to infinite argument. Few nations have been able to reach intellectual refinement and esthetic sensitivity without sacrificing so much in virility and unity that their wealth presents an irresistible temptation to impecunious barbarians. Around every Rome hover the Gauls; around every Athens some Macedon." In the above quote, one can recognize parallel events in our own American society which are leading our experiment with democracy down the same road that ancient Greek democracy traveled. Indeed, around every civilized society is poised the possibility of its slide into dissolution and chaos. A more 'virile' enemy is always in the shadows, patiently awaiting any society's dissolution from within. Who is the enemy then? The enemy is us! Alright, one might argue, even if this situation is recognized and granted, exactly who are the outside barbarians from whom we must protect ourselves? They must be explicitly identifiable in order to be credible. The answer is, "The enemy is any group that is 'stronger' in the sense of 'virility' and 'unity' than the fabric of American society." The 'enemy' may be outside groups and/or inside groups, working independently or in concert. They may be motivated by religion, ethnicity, ideology, or simple greed." A reasonable person cannot deny that such groups exist here in the United States of America and abroad. They certainly do!



1) From Kikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Online at: http//

2) Eckert, Allan W., “The Frontiersman: A Narrative,” Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2001.

3) Ibid, Eckert, Allan W., pp. 152.

4) Ibid, Eckert, Allan W., pp. 166-169.

5) Ibid, Eckert, Allan W., pp. 170-191.

6) Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, "The Tailhook Report: The Official Inquiry into the Events of Tailhook 1991," pp. vii, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993

7) Ibid, pp. vii.

8) Williams, Walter, "When Wisdom is Cast Aside," The Washington Times, 11 July 1993.

9) Ibid, OIG Report, pp. 179-248.

10) Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, "The Tailhook Report: The Official Inquiry into the Events of Tailhook 1991," pp. 37, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993.

11) Ibid, pp. 42.

12) Ibid, pp. 43.

13) Ibid, pp. 37.

14) Ibid, pp. 42.

15) Ibid, pp. 53.

16) Ibid, pp. 246.

17) Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, "The Tailhook Report: The Official Inquiry into the Events of Tailhook 1991," pp. 41, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993.

18) Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, "The Tailhook Report: The Official Inquiry into the Events of Tailhook 1991," Executive Summary, pp. 2, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993.

19) Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, "The Tailhook Report: The Official Inquiry into the Events of Tailhook 1991," pp. viii, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993.

20) Francke, Linda Bird, "Paula Coughlin: The woman who changed the U.S. Navy," Glamour Magazine, June 1993.

21) Ibid, pp. 213-216.

22) Ibid, pp. 215.

23) Corbin, Beth, “Good/Bad News in Military (Dis)Service for Women,” NOW Home Page,

24) Webb, James, “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America,” Broadway Books, cover page, 2004.

25) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 4-5.

26) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 9-11.

27) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 133.

28) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 149.

29) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 223.

30) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 253.

31) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 261.

32) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 289-290.

33) Ibid, pp. 83.

34) Ibid, Webb, James, pp. 328-329.

35) Durant, Will, “The Story of Civilization, Volume II, The Life of Greece,” pp. 470, Simon & Schuster, 1939 and 1966.

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