Appeal of U.S. Coast Guard Cadet Disenrollment Action: Appeal Partially Granted to Allow Enlisted Military Service In Lieu of Repayment of $223,819.00 to the Government.

Military Cases

A United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) Cadet was recommended for disenrollment following substantiated allegations that he used racial slurs or epithets among fellow cadets to refer to another group of cadets. The Commandant of the USCGA recommended disenrollment of the Cadet and also that he be precluded from enlisted service instead of financially repaying the government for the cost of his college education. This bill amounted to $223, 819.00. Once the Commandant made his findings and recommendations, the Cadet exercised his due process right to appeal to superior authorities within the Coast Guard leadership. To aid him with drafting the appeal, the Cadet and his family hired Civilian Military Defense Attorney John L. Calcagni III. Attorney Calcagni developed a strategy before authoring the Cadet’s appeal that involved outlining the Cadet’s liberal and culturally diverse upbringing, along with his similarly open-minded and accepting family members. The strategy also sought to underscore that the Cadet’s comment was intended to be kept in private opposed to being made public. The comment was also made in gest opposed to being motivated by closely held beliefs of racism, inequality or prejudice. This theme unfolded in the written appeal memorandum, which sought the Cadet’s retention at the USCGA and his ability to commission as a Coast Guard Officer. As a secondary request for relief, the appeal asked for the Cadet to be given the option to serve the Coast Guard in an enlisted capacity opposed to becoming saddled with a student loan debt that eclipses the size and amount of an average middle class mortgage. Upon consideration of the Cadet’s appellate submission, the Coast Guard upheld the disenrollment decision, but was persuaded by Attorney Calcagni’s arguments sufficiently to invite the Cadet into enlisted service in lieu of financial repayment to the government for the cost of his academy education. While this result did not provide the Cadet with his primary request for relief, his secondary request was granted, which the parties considered to be a successful outcome.