There have been several responses lately to the challenge from one letter writer for the Marines to “man up” and drop their resistance to the don’t ask, don’t tell repeal. These responses challenge the right of anyone not a Marine now or then to state their views.
I don’t qualify either. I was merely an Army draftee, serving during the Vietnam era. But the Army then didn’t seem to have a problem with homosexuality.
I was morning report clerk for a headquarters infantry company in Germany in 1970-71. I typed up Article 32 charges for sodomy, pressed by German nationals against American GIs.
My two commanding officers, one a helicopter pilot from upstate New York, the other ROTC from Kansas, had one criterion: Is he a good soldier? In the cases I dealt with, they were, and charges were either dropped or prosecuted minimally.
We lived in an old Wehrmacht barracks, and trained in the field under primitive sanitation conditions. Privacy was non-existent. Homosexuality was never a problem, and we obviously had homosexuals – the word “gay” wasn’t used yet. And we were a combat arms battalion.
If the Marines need some help with their fears, maybe they should call on the Army. Or on any male in town who belongs to a health club. We can calm them down. And we promise not to hold their hand.