US Dept of Defense says – Shhh – Still don’t tell

WASHINGTON – The Defense Department on Friday warned gay troops that if they disclose their sexual orientation now, they could still get in trouble.
In a new memo, the Pentagon’s top personnel chief cited a “legally uncertain environment” facing service members during a court battle over the 1993 law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
“We note for service members that altering their personal conduct in this legally uncertain environment may have adverse consequences for themselves or others should the court’s decision be reversed,” wrote Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
The Defense Department will continue not to ask service members or recruits about their sexual orientation and to “treat all members with dignity and respect,” he wrote.
and to “treat all members with dignity and respect”
What a fucking joke. In 1999, a homophobic asswipe co-worker I was stationed with at Langley AFB VA went to our squadron commander and said he saw me coming out of a gay bar in Norfolk VA, arm-in-arm with another man, deep kissing as we walked to the parking lot (which I have NEVER done). Based on this unsubstantiated allegation from a co-worker I was known to have had run-ins with, I was relieved of my duties as a senior non-commissioned officer and was assigned to the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation section of the Services Squadron, where I “supervised” the “refuse control” detail – which typically consisted of me, walking around the base gym and track with a large trash bag picking up trash and cigarette butts. It was humiliating – and completely based on unsubstantiated allegations. This dragged on for over six weeks. Not once was I ever asked where I was on the evening of this unsubstantiated allegation.
Things only got better when I sought the assistance of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and gave them Power of Attorney. My new lawyer, working in MY advocacy, inquired at the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (OSI) regarding my status. In typical chickenshit mode, the OSI responded, “We can neither confirm nor deny your client is under investigation.” So, not only was I relieved of duty, but I had the OSI after me. The OSI – whose stated mission was counterintelligence. And they dedicated resources to investigate the possibility that an 18-year career senior NCO was gay. ONLY when my SLDN lawyer pushed the issue did the Air Force finally have to behave in accordance with the letter of the law of the policy of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. Conclusion? Unsubstantiated allegation. I was returned to duty. But, the damage was done. My co-workers were very cold and distant after that. I was continually harshly criticized for my work after that, despite having achieved the highest performance report marks until that time. And a short time later I received change of station orders and sent off to a remote detachment on a large base in Germany.
So, who’s behavior caused the disruption in “unit cohesion”? Mine, or my co-worker’s?
Only through the good graces of SLDN’s assistance was my career saved, and I was able to stumble to the finish line – stumbling from the beating my own service inflicted upon me. Discharge under “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” is an administrative proceeding. Because it is an administrative proceeding, the rules of evidence applied in criminal trials does not apply. So, illegally obtained evidence – such as that obtained in the course of an illegal investigation not supported by the President’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy, IS admissible in an administrative discharge proceeding.
So – if any service member reading this is concerned he/she is under investigation, don’t hide in fear and hope it all blows over. Get legal assistance, and get it fast. Your career may depend on it.
So, with all due respect to Mr. Undersecretary Clifford Stanley, who naively believes the DoD treats “all members with dignity and respect”, he can kiss my rainbow-colored, happy Gay ass. I have only concluded the good Mr. Stanley and all of the other senior brass at the Pentagon are completely ignorant of the witch hunts still going on in the real world. And while ignorance is not a crime in legal or moral terms, an unwillingness to mitigate that ignorance causes that ignorance to be transmogrified to negligence.
As you can probably see, I still hold a whole lot of bitterness towards the Air Force and the military in general over my treatment. I love my country, I still refer to my Air Force career as “my 20-year paid vacation”, but it still boils my blood at the ignorance of senior military and civilian leaders in the Department of Defense who seemingly have no knowledge of the damage that’s been done under their approach to gays in the military – while hateful, bigoted homophobes enjoy their “good ‘ole boys” country club.


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