Don Sorchych My View

DECEMBER 29, 2010

Don’t ask, don’t tell


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We have received a number of letters and e-mails opposing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military rule. Now that Obama has kept his promise to the LBGT (lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered) political action groups he has threatened our precious military establishment for political and personal reasons.

The old axiom  “If it isn’t broke, why try to fix it?” applies here. Most of the histrionics I have heard are from LGBT political activists, not military personnel.

bil canfield editorial cartoon
Our military serves under the Universal Code of Military Justice, which is fundamentally servitude. When you enter the military, you give away a substantial amount of your constitutional freedom, which is why I served four years and no more. However, I can understand why the military needs instant obedience and a strong chain of command.

I joined the Navy in 1951 to avoid the army, in which I had been drafted. Coming from a small town with no worldly experience, my eyes were opened in a number of ways. Boot camp was populated with Texans whose conversations were rife with reference to stump broke calves. It took a while to realize they weren’t kidding. It was a badge of honor in their culture. That isn’t gay, but it is an eye opener to one raised as a Christian.

While on liberty, especially in California, uniformed servicemen where hit on by gay men regularly. It was a topic of conversation and we were surprised that a lot of old salts saw nothing against it. Some compared their experiences while they were on ships or submarines to jailed prisoners and justified gay or bisexual encounters.

While stationed in Japan, we had a first class career sailor come into our barracks and climb in bed with an effeminate, but not gay (as far as we knew) shipmate, horrifying all the men there.

A few weeks later the same sailor confronted me in a club with a request for sex. I told him to go away, he tried to fondle me and, in navy parlance, I decked him.

He filed a complaint. In the hearing a Japanese woman who was a witness confirmed my actions. I was found not guilty. However, no action was taken against the perpetrator.

Other stories I heard confirmed that the brass overlooked gay sailors. There was a rating which knowingly collected gay sailors and it was a clerical function with a quill trademark and called Yeomen. Yeomen perform secretarial and clerical work. They deal with visitors, telephone calls and incoming mail. They organize files and operate copy machines and order and distribute supplies. They write and type business and social letters, notices, directives, forms and reports. The group I hung around with had a friend who transferred to be a Yeoman and later told us he was uncomfortable when we kidded about gays and was much happier with men like himself.

Growing up, there were two flaming gay males in our little town of 2,500. One of them would sit on a blanket and play with dolls in the company of a neighbor girl. This prompted me and my buddy to heave rotten tomatoes at them and hit the little girl’s dad square in the face. But that is another story.

What it does say though is kids of that era were intolerant and were not taught in schools that it was OK to be “different.” We couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t play war, basketball or baseball with us.

I talked to a WWII veteran Marine and asked him what it was like then. He said he was taught in Marine boot camp, anyone in training to be a marine had better not be seen exhibiting gay behavior and if they did, all their fingers would be broken.

While onboard ship the Marine said he knew of gay sailors but never a Marine, not one.

It is no surprise that Marine Commandant General Jim Amos has been outspoken against repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

He has been quoted as saying, “I don’t want to lose any Marines to distraction. I don’t want to have any Marines that I am visiting at Bethesda Naval Medical Center with no legs be the result of any kind of distraction.”

A New York Times story noted, ‘The repeal will not take effect for at least 60 days while some other procedural steps are taken. In addition, the bill requires the defense secretary to see that policies are in place to carry out the repeal “consistent with military standards for readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention.”

Some authorities are concerned that the retention rates will drop meaning the end of an all-volunteer force and return of the draft.

According to the Center for Military Readiness, a Pentagon survey showed a devastating effect on retention. The Pentagon survey said if open homosexuals were admitted, 32 percent of Marines said they would leave the corps sooner than planned. 16 percent would consider leaving early. That is 48 percent, which would be a huge and unbearable impact.
Marines are the center piece of our combat forces and no other branch of service can do what Marines do and have done historically.

The Pentagon survey of army combat troops recorded 21 percent saying they would leave early while 14 percent would think about leaving for a total of 35 percent who obviously didn’t like the repeal.

Can you image 48 percent of our heralded Marines leaving service and 35 percent of army combat troops bailing out?

That is insane. And why? To retain a voting block for Barack Hussein Obama. Although the LBGT community boasts they represent 10 percent of the population, others maintain it is as low as three percent. And we are to open ourselves for domination by foreign powers for political reasons for a tiny minority?

The plight of LBGTs is not amusing. In my limited small town experience, I knew three gays and there seems no other way except to say they were born that way. It wasn’t a choice. But jeopardizing our country because they want to be in the military for whatever reason is madness.