The USMC and DADT Repeal

Via the Marine Corps' PAO:

Please recall that on December 19, 2010, General Amos stated:

"Fidelity is the essence of the United States Marine Corps. Above all else, we are loyal to the Constitution, our Commander in Chief, Congress, our chain of command, and the American people. The House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to repeal Title 10, US Code 654 "Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the United States Armed Forces." As stated during my testimony before Congress in September and again during hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy. I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines. On this matter, we look forward to further demonstrating to the American people the discipline and loyalty that have been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps for over 235 years."

Today, he and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps released this video message to their Marines describing the way ahead:

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Sorry, that should have said the majority going off post for church. Doesn't even address how empty deployed chapel services typically are.

Bottom line for me, chaplains are relatively cheap to maintain since we don't pay for their education and serve a need for some percentage of the troops.

Anon- I think you're vastly overstating the impact of religious activities within the military. In my experience the base chapels serve a small minority, at least in CONUS, with most people, particularly evangelicals, going on post for services. I'm a strong believer myself, but would be the first to say that a chaplain has no more right to refuse services to a gay soldier than they do to any other soldier who isn't of their religious persuasion. If they can't handle that they should work outside of the military. Personally I've never met a chaplain who would throw someone out of the chapel unless they were being disruptive, and I've never heard a sermon on post that touched on the passages of the Bible that deal with this.

There's a lot of adjustment that will be required for this, but having served in units with guys that everyone knew were gay, I'd estimate it's probably something like 10% these days that would have a problem with it, especially given that the days of the communal showers and open bay barracks are practically gone in garrison and most of the largers FOBs. Can't speak to all the various COPs out there, but I see this as primarily a generational issue, and if the field grades and senior NCOs can be responsible about it then the company commanders and 1SGs can manage the individuals who can't deal with it.

Chaplains are attached so the wounded and dying have access to last rites or pre-battle baptism. Praying for good battle weather is a side benny.

We probably have more lawyers than other countries, and plenty of pressure groups that bully the military into sensitivity training. It would help if leadership had a little more spine about keeping the focus on warfighting vice socio-cultural things. It's becoming an expense we cannot afford. The ethnicity-worship only encourages factionalization. Instead, the unifying military culture for all subgroups should be emphasized.

Also, what's happening in Cairo should focus our minds on the approach to budget cuts. Are we retaining critical capabilities and only cutting the "tail?" The world can flip on a dime, and people still look to the U.S. for answers and action. We don't want to go back to the hollow military of the 1970's, which took years and great expense to build back up.

I think our allies' experiences and differences might be valuable to note:

1) all of the Brit and Aussie soldiers I've talked to say that most of their gays- especially in combat arms- continue to serve in the closet due to the continued stigma in their society of being gay and the challenge that serving openly presents to bonding at the small unit level and combat arms units.
2) the biggest problem they uniformly admit to having is with predatory lesbians. Lesbians who hold the rank of E-4 mainly- but also just the rank-and-file- will gang up or put enormous pressure on newly-assigned "fresh meat" privates. Their biggest success against this problem is to bring in female officers and female senior NCOs to address the issue because they are protected by the PC crowd- unlike heterosexual males- who are immediately suspected of being anti-gay.
3) they do not live on huge bases with many/most soldiers living in on-base housing and worshiping in on-base churches.
4) they do not have huge political fights in their nations on gay issues to include gay marriage (their populations have pretty much agreed to treating gays in a certain legal manner).
5) they do not have a litigious society like ours and an EO/Diversity climate that requires training/time/sensitivity to the lowest common denominator on what is offensive.
6) they do not have a large number- if not a majority- of their soldiers identifying themselves as evangelical christians or conservative christians. For the most part many of our allies have agnostic or athiest-leaning majorities or sufficient numbers of non-religious folk for whom sexual practices in general are not a big issue (thus you'll still see many of our allies' still glorify the sexual "hunt" and sexual innuendo as opposed to our overly-offended culture and paladin-type existence while deployed (no alcohol, porn, or sex).
7) the German soldiers I've talked to say that serving with transexuals is... interesting. But, again, they don't have to associate with them- or with gays- after hours unless they want to. Military life for most of our allies is very different than ours.

So, taking all of this into account I'd conclude a few things:

1- most of our gays will stay in the closet or at least won't be flamers, and thus for the majority of our units things will be fine
2- a few units will have major headaches and there will be horror stories for good officers and NCOs who get caught up in a Twilight Zone incident wherein nothing they could have done would have kept them from not getting screwed over by the PC system
3- we will have to get proactive and set-up informal systems with female leaders to address "predatory lesbian" incidents
4- this WILL- contrary to popular opinion and our own military leaders' statements- have a detrimental effect that will take time away from training. The best we can do is to attempt to minimize the damage it does to our units by being proactive and taking initiative.
5- we need to get ready for on-base housing and counseling of chaplains to let homosexuals into their on-base churches. I personally think DoD should just go ahead and house everyone off-base like our allies do for the most part. I don't know how we'll handle the barracks situation, though.
6- I have no idea how to be proactive on the transexual thing- but I think that is coming too. Maybe have a policy that you can only dress and act based on what organs you have- and if you have a problem with that then you're out...?? Luckily our health care system still classifies it as a mental disorder- but I have heard that VA will give them hormone pills and counseling currently...
7- we need to go back to being warriors somehow and not sexually-frustrated, tee-totalling, hyper-sensitive wimps. My only idea on this is to cut our tooth to tail ratio so that there is more tooth- but we are so full of "tail" right now that it might be politically unfeasible.
8- we need to figure out a way to get away from having on-base worship and/or chaplains altogether. Would like opinions on this from others- but it seems to me that this is going to run into a legal fight soon- especially if baptist chaplains and the like refuse to serve openly gay soldiers in their churches on-base. Do we really want chaplains to play the role they do today in the future? I don't know. But the days of having a corps or army chaplain pray for good weather before a battle are gone IMO (a culture of the majority being strong believers).

It will be interesting if, 5 years from now, there are very few openly gay soldiers serving and Congress decides that it is the military's fault and demands the military change that (or a lawsuit forces it). Again, our allies don't seem to have the political pressure of FORCING equality- they just try to establish equal opportunity. We, on the other hand, have a penchant for trying to make equality happen- and if there isn't equality we blame the system and try to change it with affirmative action and other "feel-good" programs that usually have unintended negative consequences.

Wow. Brought a tear to my eye. Certainly an unfair burden to put this on a force finishing a decade at war.