A POLITICAL SUICIDE

AN OFFICER TOLD SEXIST JOKES. WHEN THE COAST GUARD INVESTIGATED, HE KILLED HIMSELF. IS ANYONE TO BLAME?

Peacetime deaths in the military always seem in some degree senseless. In the case of Captain Ernie Blanchard, the U.S. Coast Guard's top spokesman, that was even truer than usual. Blanchard, it appears, died from a few offensive jokes.

On Jan. 10 of last year, he strode to the podium of the Old Wardroom dining hall at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, to inspire the 118 cadets of Bravo Company and their guests with tales of Coast Guard glory. Aiming to start on a light note, Blanchard promised to "dispense with the political correctness" and opened with several...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!