"DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from dotguy02125. Show dotguy02125's posts

    "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Countless gay and lesbian Americans have and will continue to serve in the U.S. military with distinction. The only question is whether they will have to lie about their sexual orientation to do so. Since enactment of the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, numerous gay and lesbian troops have served openly while pending discharge with no effect on unit performance, readiness, cohesion or morale. Moreover, U.S. military personnel are already serving side-by-side with openly gay service members – with no identifiable negative effects – in and from countries throughout the world.

    A personal account from:  Ed Urbaniak 
    Captain, United States Army (1983-1992)

    I grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY. When I was a Junior in High School, I decided to join then Army. I made this decision for many of the same reasons that young people decide to join the Armed Services. I wanted a secure way to get away from home and do something different before I pursued a college education. I also needed the financial assistance that I would be eligible for as a Veteran.

    Growing up, I always knew that I was somehow different than my neighborhood friends, but I couldn't put a label on that difference. Living in suburbia, I had no knowledge of what it meant to be gay and I couldn't identify with the sensational images of gay people that I saw in the national media.

    Three days after I graduated from High School in June of 1983, I departed for Basic Training at Ft. Sill Oklahoma. While there, my drill sergeants saw the potential leader within me. They recommended me for a program at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School that could lead to an appointment to West Point. I graduated from my specialty training as honor graduate with the highest academic average in my class and departed to my first duty assignment at Ft. Lewis, Washington. I was accepted to the West Point Prep School and ultimately received my appointment to West Point. While at the Prep School, I made two great friends-Leo and Ron. We were inseparable.

    During the summer of 1985, I was admitted to West Point where, for the first time in my life, I was "average". It was an unusual experience being lumped with the nation's finest young men and women. While at West Point, I also came to terms with my homosexuality. It was during my first three years at West Point that I made a few gay friends-one other cadet and a friend from high school. They introduced me to gay people that I could identify with. I learned that gay people could be masculine, hard-working, honorable, Christian and have many other traits with which I identified. I still remember the day that I "came out to myself". It was the night before the first day of class my senior year. My exact thought was, "OK, I'm gay. Now what?" That was the summer of 1988-before the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was ever thought about. I knew that I was asked about my sexual orientation when I joined the Army in 1982, but I didn't know what to do having self-identified after enlisting. I did know that I'd be kicked out, but I wasn't sure if I'd go to jail, have to pay back for my education or what would happen to me. I decided to keep my personal life to myself and continue on with my education and military service.

    After I graduated from West Point, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Armor (tanks). I attended my officer basic course at Ft. Knox Kentucky. While at a local nightclub in Louisville, KY, I met another gay soldier from Ft. Knox. This opened the door to a hidden world of gays in the military. Within a year, I had met dozens of gay soldiers, sailors and airmen. It seemed that every member of this hidden world knew several people that you hadn't met and were able to help you connect with gays at your next assignment.

    It was also during my basic course that I started to come out to friends and family. The first West Point classmate that I came out to was my friend-Ron. Ron turned out to be the true friend that I had known for 5 years. He was accepting of me from the first minute. I found that coming out to friends in the military was not as risky as one may believe. I found that my military co-workers were rational and therefore able to accept my sexuality. I have the honor of being Godfather to Leo's daughter and Ron's son.

    My first duty assignment was in Korea. I loved my times leading soldiers. I remember the times when they would come to me with their problems. Once, in the middle of the night, several of my soldiers came to my quarters. They were concerned about another soldier from our platoon. I got up and talked with him all night about his problem. I don't know if my soldiers suspected my sexuality, but I am pretty sure that they trusted me as a leader.

    After Korea, I was stationed at Ft. Polk, LA, where I was selected above several senior first lieutenants to be a company executive officer. While at Ft. Polk, I met many more gay and lesbian soldiers. It was during this time that I learned that keeping this large secret was more taxing on my psyche than I had thought. During the summer of 1991, my West Point class was given the opportunity to leave the service without completing our current term of service.

    While I had enjoyed the military for nine years of my life, having the threat of loosing my career constantly in my mind was not the way to live. I left the Army in February of 1992 to find opportunities where my work ethic, intelligence and honesty would be valued rather than having an employer who was only concerned that I wouldn't fall in love with another man.

    After leaving active duty, I attended the 1993 March on Washington. It was there where I met a group of Gay and Lesbian alumni of the five Service Academies. I became active in their group-the Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Alumni. In April of 2001, I took over as Chair of that group. To learn more about gay alumni of the service academies, go to our web site
    http://www.sagala.net/.

    I have many fond memories of the Army. My partner and I still socialize with many of my West Point classmates. The military made me the man that I am today. It gave me an education and self-confidence. I learned how to manage assets and lead people. My only regret is that staying in the military was never an option for me because the organization that took so much time making me who I am today would have dropped me if they even suspected that I was gay.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from ChadScott. Show ChadScott's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Yes, all of our troops deserve our support.  It's the least we could do for their sacrifice.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from cousteau. Show cousteau's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Straight soldiers can show pictures and talk about their partners (husbands/wives/girlfriends/boyfriends) openly but gay soldiers cannot. That is fair??
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ModRepub4Change. Show ModRepub4Change's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    It's true.  In 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton declared his opposition to the military's exclusion of homosexual soldiers. During Clinton's first year in office, a very public congressional and national debate ensued regarding the question of whether the military's practices were acceptable.

    Advocates for the homosexual community proposed a policy of equal treatment, reasoning that sexual orientation has no bearing on a person's ability to serve. However, after hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee and much debate, a compromise now known as the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't Harass" policy was reached in 1993.

    It think that it is worth mentioning, Pfc. Barry Winchell was brutally beaten with a baseball bat in his barracks at Fort Campbell, Ky. He died as a result of the attack.  Fellow soldiers testified that the death came months after vile anti-gay name-calling and harassment, rumor-mongering and inquiries into his private life. 

    Winchell was asked, didn't tell and paid the ultimate price for wanting to serve his country.  Sadly, that price was murder.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from realmass-patriot. Show realmass-patriot's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Great discussion & I agree completely.  DA, DT was a decent compromise in the early 1990's but it's a new century and every service member must be treated fairly, with dignity and respect by our government.

    Scott Brown supports the status quo and has pledged to maintain DA, DT as a policy.  Mr. Brown is a roadblock for change and not a catalyst for change as he claims.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from BerkshireLegal. Show BerkshireLegal's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    For Pfc. Winchell's sake this policy should revised.  I'm sure that in '92 it was a viable compromise; today I think that we all can agree that the US Government has an obligation to ensure equal treatment and protection for all of its soldiers and service members.  No one should be left behind, no one! 

    If it comes down to it, Scott Brown, I'm sure, will vote to ensure that this policy is reversed.  I will be watching and I hope that many others will be too.  It would simply be the right thing to do to protect our nation and her defenders.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ChadScott. Show ChadScott's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    GreginMeffa, since you brought it up... on the issue of same-sex civil marriage, I am glad to see that Cindy McCain is speaking out against CA Proposition 8.  Our country needs more courageous people like her to take a stand against discrimination. 

    As well, I am also glad to see that we have Charlie Baker running for Governor!  A small government, fiscal conservative, get the job done kind of guy that supports same-sex families.  He's got my vote!  Smile

    Cindy McCain

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from meghan-kelly. Show meghan-kelly's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    In an ideal world, gay marriage would be won at the ballot box. Voters would recognize that they have absolutely nothing to lose by allowing their fellow citizens the same rights to marry that heterosexual men and women now enjoy. Even many prominent conservatives (say, Sarah Palin) have come to recognize that it is wrong, heartless even, to deny gay couples the right to sign up for health benefits or to make critical medical decisions for their partners.  

    But calling it a "domestic partnership" rather than a "marriage" is a slap in the face, either a distinction without a real difference (and thus unjustified) or a sign of inferior status, of lesser rights and second-class citizenship that cannot be justified by any interest of the states. Religions are free to marry whomever they want; what the Bible does or doesn't say, however, is not the province of the State. No one is telling the Catholic Church or the Mormon Church what it can do with respect to gay marriage.  They should not be telling us. 
     

    The courts are going to be key decision makers in this battle for equal rights for the foreseeable future. But hopefully, at least within the next decade, the public will come to see that there is nothing to fear from allowing our fellow citizens the right to marry, and the courts will be able to pull back to a less visible, and less vulnerable, place.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from BUGuardsman. Show BUGuardsman's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    to ModRepub4change: THANKS for sharing that detail which is often overlooked and for caring enough to shed needed light on it.

    to All:  THANKS for your support and for caring enough to read and contribute. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from alpha1six. Show alpha1six's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    First thing that I want to say is that I have no doubt that homosexual men or women are as patriotic as any other American and can do the job as well as anyone.

    However as a small unit leader the last thing I want to be worried about is if my 1st fireteam leader has the hots for the automatic rifleman in the 3rd fireteam. Issues like that can destroy the cohesian of a small unit and result in casualties.  In the same way that woman in small combat units would cause a sexual tension within the unit, having openly homosexual members in the unit would result in the same tension. It is not necesary and very dangerous in combat environments.

    The miiitary is not a college campus where social experiments may be acceptable. The military is a place where mistakes like this could cause some one to die or be injured.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from BUGuardsman. Show BUGuardsman's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    to alpha1six:  You make very valid points, thank you for contributing your opinion and for serving our country.  The fact that I would use to counter is that the United States is not being innovative (or experimental) when it comes to allowing homosexuals to serve openly.  There are numerous powerful nations that already allow homosexuals to serve with no impact to cohesian and readiness.  England, Germany and Israel come to mind for the sake of discussion.

    Your sexual tension fear is understandable.  Would the code of conduct not manage such instances and could it not be revised to cover such?
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Weiss101. Show Weiss101's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    If a 1st fireteam leader has the hots for the automatic rifleman in the 3rd fireteam they will conduct themselves appropriately.  Above all else they are soldiers and they understand the stakes at hand; like every serviceman/woman.  That is a fact.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from BUGuardsman. Show BUGuardsman's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Thats exactly my point weiss101.

     
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  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from ModRepub4Change. Show ModRepub4Change's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    I attended a rally for candidate Scott Brown and asked him to clarify his position on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and he rightfully confirmed that he would wait to make a decision after hearing from military leadership. 

    It is my understanding that senior military leadership believes that the policy should be reversed and I have no doubt that Senator Scott Brown will make an informed and independent decision to repeal the policy if it comes to a vote during his tenure. 

    I believe that he is a man of his word.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from ModRepub4Change. Show ModRepub4Change's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    "Mr. Chairman, speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. "No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens." 

    "For me, personally, it comes down to integrity -- theirs as individuals and ours as an institution," he said. 
     

    "I also believe that the great young men and women of our military can and would accommodate such a change," continued Mullen. "I never underestimate their ability to adapt."

    Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, right, accompanied by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010, before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing onthe "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ILoveBostonMA. Show ILoveBostonMA's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Yes - Just Do It!  Laughing
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from StockbridgeHockeyPlayer. Show StockbridgeHockeyPlayer's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    In Response to Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!:
    Great discussion & I agree completely.  DA, DT was a decent compromise in the early 1990's but it's a new century and every service member must be treated fairly, with dignity and respect by our government. Scott Brown supports the status quo and has pledged to maintain DA, DT as a policy.  Mr. Brown is a roadblock for change and not a catalyst for change as he claims.
    Posted by realmass-patriot


    I'm going to give Brown a chance.  If he condones this discriminatory policy after the top brass' recent comments, and those of Vice President Cheney this morning on This Week, I'd be surprised and disappointed.  My brother is gay and serves in the Marines because he believes in the quintessential American values of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  He deserves someone to be fighting for him for a change. 
     
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  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from wake-upMA. Show wake-upMA's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Greg, If Congress does not like what the executive branch is doing, it has two main options with regards to Executive Orders. First, it may rewrite or amend a previous law, or spell it out in greater detail how the Executive Branch must act. Of course, the President has the right to veto the bill if he disagrees with it, so, in practice, a 2/3 majority if often required to override an Executive Order. 

    Republicans are clearly setting the stage for an override of any EO that pertains to Don't Ask Don't Tell... .  Influential Republicans are increasingly voicing their support of DA, DT and I believe that Scott Brown will ultimately join the chorus.  It's simply a matter of time, but the writing is on the wall.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from NotDrinkinTheKoolAid. Show NotDrinkinTheKoolAid's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Scott Brown said that he's not going to be a "social crusader"; breaking with a tradition that Massachusetts should be proud of. 

    It was courageous Bay Staters like Susan B. Anthony who began rallied the women's suffrage movement when the rest of the nation preferred women not to have the right to vote.  It was courageous Bay Staters like William Lloyd Garrison that worked diligently to abolish slavery when large parts of the rest of the country preferred the status quo.  It was courageous Bay Staters like Eunice Kennedy Shriver who gave much of her life to the advancement of people with intellectual disabilities, when such people were simply dismissed as damaged or not worth the effort.

    I sincerely hope that Senator Brown follows in the tradition of Governor John A. Andrew (R) who authorized the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry which was one of the first official black units in the United States armed forces; and lend his support to overturn Dont ask, Dont tell.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from wake-upMA. Show wake-upMA's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Courageous Republicans???  Don't hold your breathe!  That trait went out in the late 1800's.  Now they hide behind big government when its convenient and let the religious right control their hearts and minds!
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from BUGuardsman. Show BUGuardsman's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    Thanks, Derrick Jackson for your opinion piece in Sunday, 27th February's Globe entitled "The military's evolution on gays". 

    Thank you!

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhatIsItNow. Show WhatIsItNow's posts

    Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!

    In Response to Re: "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" Our Brave and Honorable Service Members Deserve Better Treatment!:
    Courageous Republicans???  Don't hold your breathe!  That trait went out in the late 1800's.  Now they hide behind big government when its convenient and let the religious right control their hearts and minds!
    Posted by wake-upMA


    Almost out.  See: President Theodore Roosevelt. 

    But that's nitpicking.
     
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