DADT- My perspective…

Disclaimer- This is my PERSONAL perspective based on my career and my own knowledge…

Since this is obviously a hot topic both in and out of the military, and has been the subject of a number of blogs including THIS POST from Atomic Nerds, and today’s Stars and Stripes (EUR edition) featured a column by Kathleen Parker HERE on page 17. And watching two military lesbians at breakfast (one in uniform, one not; but not hiding their status) kinda kicked this off…

In part, Ms. Parker did allude to a couple of what I consider critical points…

The military is not now, and has never been a democracy; nor is not allowing gays and lesbians to be ‘open’ a violation of their civil rights…

She also alludes to the real motivations for the people pushing this- e.g. real military imperatives or civilian imperatives…

Her closing statement is correct- “Be all that you can be” was a nice recruiting slogan, but the military really is not about you. And the right to serve belongs to no one.

This also brings to mind the arguments raised by the whole WIN thing back in the 70-80’s about women serving in combat billets in the Navy. I served with women in one of the first deployed unit in 1976-77. The CO held an all hands meeting on the hangar deck and said point blank, he ONLY considered us Navy Blue, not by gender, ethnicity, religion or any thing else; he also stated he would NOT tolerate ANY deviations from this. We had no problems…

But women were raising hell about “women” being sent overseas/on ship with ‘their’ men…

A few points-

Make no mistake, gays and lesbians HAVE served with distinction in the military for years. I have served with people whom I’m pretty sure were gays and lesbians, but I didn’t ask and they didn’t tell me. The large majority NEVER came out during their careers, and many of those now “protesting in uniform” are in fact retirees or those who resigned for other reasons.

For those who have served, either on ship or in combat (or both), unit cohesion is a CRITICAL part of that unit’s success or failure. Anything that degrades that cohesion (and/or morale) WILL impact that unit negatively. Also, many cannot understand the rigors of deployment, nor the impact of combat operations.

Try living for 6-8 months in a 20X50 space with 50 other bodies, sharing limited showers, toilets and sinks; and working 12-18 hours a day for days on end. Stress brings out the best/worst in people, ANY personality flaws tend to be magnified (cleanliness, work ethic, morality, religion, drugs/drinking, mental stability, etc.), I’m not JUST talking about men here, women also suffer under the same stressors.

The same occurs in battle- your foxhole buddy is your best friend as long as s/he’s keeping the bad guy off your back…

Just for clarity sake, I also served with a pedophile (whom I helped send to prison when I found out), a murderer (who killed his wife a week after getting a medal for superior performance), and a drug dealer (who is still doing time in Leavenworth).
I have relatives who are both gay and lesbian, and have lived next door to and been friends with a gay couple in San Jose.

I have no problem with people living their own lifestyles, as long as it doesn’t DIRECTLY impact me, or they try to force that lifestyle on me; AND they do their jobs…

People WILL use anything they can get up on somebody else, be it rank, threat of ‘exposure’, or bad performance ratings to “trade” for sex from either side…

A couple of examples of the ‘negatives’ I’ve observed-

This male had hidden his orientation for almost 4 years, but on a detachment to Kodiak (where I was the OIC), he got drunk and literally put the make on another crew member in a bar. When he was refused, he begged that no one be told. I was notified that night by the mission commander, and brought the individual in to discuss the situation. He at that point acknowledged his position and requested removal from the crew and to be sent home since he was now “uncomfortable” with the situation…

I refused, and forced him to continue to fly for the remainder of the det, I also refused his request to be segregated. The crew he flew on did NOT handle the situation well, and crew cooperation degraded seriously over the remainder of the det, but operational requirements precluded replacing him…

Upon return, I turned over my report to his CO, he was subsequently transferred to another command pending separation. At that command, he used his rank to solicit sex from numerous very junior enlisted men, and was totally unrepentant when he was once again caught. He was separated from the service within about a year, and later sued (with the support of the California alternative lifestyle alliance) to return to active duty.

That single individual’s actions caused a number of problems over at least the next three years (I’m aware of), as he kept attempting to “out” individuals he ’suspected’ to be gay within the military community via the local papers and TV. His vindictiveness was amazing!

One of my “fellow” officers on a staff (an intelligence officer) was lesbian, and also used her position once she was on shore duty to solicit sex from junior enlisted females in both our command and others. She was courts martialed and received a BCD.

I also had a situation when I was an LPO where two females were caught in the barracks and brought up on charges. They lied to investigators, even when confronted with pictorial evidence, and tried to burn down the NCIS offices to destroy the evidence.

In the bigger picture, Gay/lesbian lifestyles ‘may’ work in some militaries, but even in those ‘accepting’ it; e.g. the Dutch, there is still a wariness and desire from most officers and enlisteds NOT to serve in close working environments with gay or lesbians.

One of the commenters on the Nerds brought up that assholes will be assholes- This is a true statement…

This is a LIST of the punitive articles of the UCMJ. You DO give up a lot of rights when you come into the military, and you CAN be tried for conduct unbecoming (Art 133) or the general (Art 134) depending on what you’ve done, in addition to other specific articles…

My bottom line- What ever decision gets made, it needs to made with an eye on what is BEST for the military, NOT what is best for a particular set of individuals…

If you take the money, you should do your best to give an honest days work; you should also ‘play’ by the rules… If you can’t, don’t join…
EDIT- Gay Cynic (who commented earliers) has put up a post discussing DADT HERE with an interesting set of options…


DADT- My perspective… — 16 Comments

  1. For a guy who was mustered out 55 years ago, this is almost beyond comprehension. I doubt if I’d ever get used to the “flowers in the hair” posture of any miltary unit. It is also possible that staying alive took priority over every thing else.

  2. You make a point a lot of people are overlooking/ignoring. Whatever is done needs to be in the interests of the US military best being able to perform it’s mission.

    The military is the wrong place for social experimentation.

    Unfortunately I have zero expectation that it will work out that way. But like always, the soldiers, sailors and Marines will take the shit sammich handed them by the politicians and continue to do the best they can.

  3. Should be in a post over at shortly – mainly ’cause I don’t think I can comment *briefly* enough to be legit comment..and folks who write entire blog posts in somebody elses comments…are just rude.

  4. I must agree with Alan. I doubt my experiences 44 years ago are relevant. My son who is on active duty shares information that makes my jaw drop. He sees fraternization. hetro or homo. as the big problem.

    I am always amazed by those who, themselves, are not going in harms way want to use the military to push forward their agenda.

  5. I get annoyed when people can’t identify themselves as people before identifying themselves as gay. Weren’t we human beings at one time? “Hi, I’m gay, and I’m John Doe. Oh, yeah, I’m a person, too.” Get over yourself!

    If they aren’t capable of looking at the world through the eyes of a human being how on earth can they be expected to defend anything at all except their own selfish motivations? The military should not have to be distracted by political correctness in any area, especially one so onerous.



  6. I agree with One of the Moons. When I was in once a gay admitted his sexual style he was gone. Sometimes a sock party hastened his exit.

    No gays in the military period. Just my 2 cents worth.

    See Ya

  7. One- Agreed, and I believe it IS age dependent

    Alan- Agree, that is why I posted from MY perspective.

    GC- Thanks, I’ll cross link to you!

    WSF- Yep, that is what is going on…

    Granny- Thanks!

    DiMw- Understood, but I ‘think’ we’re going to have to deal with it…

  8. The only question would be; is this policy going to make things worse for the military members or will things stay the same?

    I can’t see it making things better.
    I can see it making things worse.

  9. I left the military after 20 years in 1975. Like Did It My Way said, once your cat was out of the bag, you were out the door!! And that is the way it should still be in my estimation. I had run across a couple during my time and just did not want anything to do with them working or socially. It is a perverted and UNNATURAL act and they are as far as I am concerned still known to me as ‘queers”! Now that little comment ought to start a riot,but I am too old to care. I am sick to death of the PC crowd taking over the world one word at a time. Saw something yesterday that the word ‘yellow’ has now entered the lexicon of the PC’ers. TIFN

  10. I agree your position but as a point clarification, as a XO/CO how many case of overt hetrosexual behavior did you deal with?


  11. Good post and with many valid points.

    The military is a structured society, not a democratic one.

    You have age,weight,and ablitity restrictions, which allows the military branchs can do what it needs to do.

    Defend this country.

    What most people forget is, you don’t have to join. That is what makes us a free society.

  12. Ev- Copied all.

    Gerry- About 4-5 instances, including one officer/enlisted situation and one chief/officer situation (both results of alcohol). We handled them pretty quickly, and ICW UCMJ.

  13. Well though out and well presented!

    People just get the wrong idea of what the military is about and how it operates.

    It is not a democratic entity, nor is it intended to be a reflection of society. It has one Constitutional charge, do defend this country from those who would do us harm.

    When allowed to be all they can be, military personned in the American armed forces do that job better than any other military in the world…when allowed to be all they can be.

    The current administration seems determined to make of the military some kind of an extension of American society, perhaps because President BO has no idea what it is about, “leading” having never served.