Thursday, July 27, 2006

More Military Cluelessness 
Nearly five years into a war, and the Associate Press can't tell an officer from an NCO.

Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader.

P.S. He's a member of the division chorus, he's involved in community theater, and his name is "Bleu." "Bleu." And they needed an email to out him?

Seriously, if it's me, personally, I don't see myself taking negative personnel action of any kind based on anonymous emails. If you're going to accuse my soldier of something that will effectively end his career, then you're going to say it to my face.

And why does this soldier have sour grapes against the Army? He knew the policy going in. And the allegations against him - at least the one that says he's gay - are truthful by his own admission. And he's whining to the press about the Army? He should be confronting the weasel who outed him to the Army.

One more thing: Why do newspaper accounts always seem to insist on using the word "decorated" when describing soldiers with whom they sympathize? What does that mean? He could have gotten a marksman badge in basic and a Defense Service Ribbon. Almost the entire Army is "decorated" with something or other.

If he's been decorated for valor (medals should have a bronze V device which is easy enough for reporters to check out in their records) or has a purple heart higher, that's one thing.

Even bronze stars are frequently awarded for reasons other than valor.

Splash, out


The bigger question is why a unit's letting a guy with a critical skill like Arabic join the frickin' division chorus. When I was in the 82nd, the guys who joined the chorus were just plain lost while they were there: we had to carry them in positions on our battle roster, but they were just plain gone: not present for training, and unavailable for assignment or tasking. Good thing they sent him to DLI for a year so he could, y'know, entertain the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. Good grief.
Does this mean the 82nd is no longer the most gay friendly division in the Army?
The article has been fixed now and says "soldier." It did say "officer" before.
The bigger question here is not the error in the initial report, or the diversion of critical capabilities into the 82nd's choir, but why the US military continues to prevent admitted homosexuals from serving their country like everyone else.

Not only is the policy stupid, discriminatory, and just plain morally wrong, it is also a security breach waiting to happen--gay personnel are forced to hide their sexual orientation to keep their jobs, thus rendering them far more vulnerable to blackmail, intimidation, etc. than would otherwise be the case.
They also fail to mention he clearly lied on his application for enlistment because he was gay when he joined. Even if you're willing to overlook the lie on the application as grounds for fire him, you can't overlook that little lie with regard to his security clearance. This little fib demands his clearance be revoked. An interpreter without a clearance is probably best used in the chorus, because he can't be used for his real job.
The policy, if I'm not mistaken, is "don't ask, don't tell." He shouldn't have been asked upon enlistment.
You are no longer asked this question upon entry. So At least gays can serve their country even when they are hated or no go reason. I lied on my enlistment because I 'had' to. Served 20 years and did a damn good job too.
The choice to send a soldier to the chorus is made at BN level for all those who are quick to talk. The chorus is a different kind of job than most in the Army but it is still a job. This group is not all about singing. There is not any other organization that is in the spotlight like the chorus. These soldiers go around and represent the 82nd proudly and do a great job at it. It is a high profile job and should be respected just like any other job. That soldier was in fact kicked out of the chorus for other problems. They do have standards and if you don't meet them, you are gone no questions asked. I was a member of the chorus and I am now a BCT Drill Sergeant.
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