Gays in the Military

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Postby Charlie Jack » 19 Jul 2008, 00:46

Jack Burton wrote:I was under the impression that quite a few on this board served in their armed forces, so it would be illuminating they might share their own knowledge/experience as former soldiers (and by that, I don't mean outing themselves, etc. but what they saw and heard from actual soldiers in the field)

Frankly, I'd rather have real soldiers tell me, not consultants, politicians, arm-chair generals.


I was in the Marine Corps (1971-75) and the Navy (1981-85). I was never in combat.

I don't recall it being a real issue at any time in any unit I was in, or in the Marine Corps in general. In the Marines, someone once told me a rumor that someone in our unit was gay, but it was just a rumor.

As to cohesiveness: Unlike TC, I've never been in combat, so maybe I'm not as qualified as he is to speak of cohesiveness, since it's arguably not as important outside a combat zone. Also, my understanding is that TC was a good soldier (no sarcasm) whereas I was not a very good Marine, was mildly rebellious, and never advanced beyond corporal. My MOS in the Marines was 0331, which is infantry, but I also spent a couple of years in a guard unit. My impression of the Marines at that time, both in two infantry units and in the guard unit, was that cohesion was not very relevant. I'm not making light of the idea of cohesiveness, and I expect that the Marine Corps has changed in the 33 years since I got out, but except in boot camp, unit cohesiveness just didn't seem to be a big issue in our lives. I should add that my first infantry unit had a lot of Vietnam veterans in it, and they didn't seem to care much for cohesiveness either. They did seem to cohere to some extent by virtue of having combat experience in common, but that was mostly at the personal level.

As to morale, each of us seemed to have his own flavor of that, according to personal tastes.

My experience in the Navy was similar in some regards. Again, I was not a very good sailor; once in a while I got into minor trouble, and I never even attained petty officer (NCO) rank. I spent two years as a deck seaman on a guided missile destroyer, and the issue of this thread was not a real issue there, and I don't recall it being a real issue in the Navy in general.

As to how the Marines and sailors that I was with would have responded to openly gay persons in the unit: I don't know. I suspect that some would have been hostile, but that most would have accepted it and that things would eventually have wound up pretty much the same as before. But again, I don't really know.
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Postby Buttercup » 19 Jul 2008, 02:20

the chief wrote:GudDAMN HO-moes.
I say we gather them all up, put them in one place together, cut their hair off, make 'em dress all the same, force them to be doing something every minute of the day, not let them have any free time, feed 'em crappy food, take away their privacy, keep them under lock and key except for real special occasions, refuse to let them think or act as individuals, and maybe, just maybe, force them to go into really dangerous situations where they might even get killed!!
THAT oughta teach 'em...


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Postby TainanCowboy » 19 Jul 2008, 10:52

Charlie Jack -
Also, my understanding is that TC was a good soldier (no sarcasm)

Well with 4 Article 15's and 3 refusals of a commission, I would have had to change units if I did not stay on EM status (E-6, although I made E-7 once) on my DD214, I will humbly accept your compliment... :uhhuh:

Yeah, I think we're saying the same thing - It depends on the individuals involved. Personally, IMO the military is not designed to be a 'gay' friendly place but people understand they have to get along and they deal with it.
During my time in, alcohol abuse was a much larger problem. Times were shifting from a culture of acceptance to a culture of realizing that alcoholism was a disease that required recognition and treatment.
A lot of posters about it - "If you drink a lot of beer YOU drink a lot!" was a favorite I still remember seeing.

Funny thing, we had cold beer available in the pop machines in the CQ office and the day rooms.
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Postby Jack Burton » 19 Jul 2008, 11:02

Yea, among the soldiers I know, boredom and substance abuse seemed to them the biggest issue. They served in Persian Gulf in the Navy (Iraq 1), but guessing there was no direct/close combat as they served on a aircraft carrier.
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Postby Dragonbones » 19 Jul 2008, 11:19

TainanCowboy wrote:we had cold beer available in the pop machines


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Postby Charlie Jack » 19 Jul 2008, 20:35

TainanCowboy wrote:Charlie Jack -
Also, my understanding is that TC was a good soldier (no sarcasm)

Well with 4 Article 15's and 3 refusals of a commission, I would have had to change units if I did not stay on EM status (E-6, although I made E-7 once) on my DD214, I will humbly accept your compliment... :uhhuh:

Yeah, I think we're saying the same thing - It depends on the individuals involved. Personally, IMO the military is not designed to be a 'gay' friendly place but people understand they have to get along and they deal with it.
During my time in, alcohol abuse was a much larger problem. Times were shifting from a culture of acceptance to a culture of realizing that alcoholism was a disease that required recognition and treatment.
A lot of posters about it - "If you drink a lot of beer YOU drink a lot!" was a favorite I still remember seeing.

Funny thing, we had cold beer available in the pop machines in the CQ office and the day rooms.


Good post! And my compliment still stands.
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--Sammy the good-hearted drummer, to singer Harriet, true-blue sweetheart of two-timing-but-contrite Biff, clarinetist and cat in the panic groove, in Tommy Dorsey and George D. Lottman's Love in Swingtime (1938) http://goo.gl/9uJkIZ
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Postby bismarck » 21 Jul 2008, 01:36

My experience was that a gay soldier can give covering or suppression fire just as effectively as a straight one. Courage, pulling a trigger and listening to commands has less to do with where you put your dick than having a good index finger and discipline. It's much ado about nothing and is as ignorant as when they said blacks couldn't be fighter pilots because they had "poor night vision" or some such codswallop.

For me it's more ridiculous that as an 18 year old you can get your ass shot off for king and country, but you're not legally allowed to have a pint. Now that's just f***ed up!
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hmmmm

Postby Battery9 » 21 Jul 2008, 08:34

If I was a guy I would have issues showering with gays. Maybe it's just a personal thing. I was in an all girls school and always went to dress in a toilet cubicle. I felt that I shouldn't see other girls naked because I was basically a guy. It's not fair towards them.

but then again..you guys pee next to each other. Off topic a bit..but how do you guys feel about that? I would have hated to be a guy and have to do that in front of strangers....
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Postby Screaming Jesus » 21 Jul 2008, 09:01

Well, some of us feel "pee-shyness," others experience a sort of cameraderie thereby, while still others feel both at once.

Camille Paglia once described the "arc of transcendence" which she said characterizes the act of male urination. In other words, by standing up to piss, we are expressing our domination over women. (Paglia's not complaining--that actually turns her on.) This explains that new style of urinal for bars, that comes in the shape of a woman's lips.

But gays in the military? I think that's great. Then if we lost, we could just say "Well that's nothing, you just beat a bunch of poofs!"

On the other hand there are moments when it would be awkward. Like on those cold nights in the field, when you have to huddle close for warmth...

"Hey soldier! How'd you like to spend some time in the HOLE?!!"
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Re: hmmmm

Postby Chris » 21 Jul 2008, 09:12

Battery9 wrote:but then again..you guys pee next to each other. Off topic a bit..but how do you guys feel about that? I would have hated to be a guy and have to do that in front of strangers....


There's an unwritten code of etiquette to that. Look straight ahead, don't speak, don't occupy the urinal next to someone else unless there's absolutely no other choice, and never ever "sneak a peek"!
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