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Ft. Bragg looks the other way when it comes to DADT

The homobigoted civilian leaders at the Pentagon obsess over keeping gays out of the military, but one place where actual opinions about “unit cohesion” are worthwhile is where the servicemembers are. And they don’t give a rat’s *ss about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (Fayetteville Online):

Fort Bragg soldiers don’t care about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“If you are doing your job, you fall into the same category as anyone else,” said a former drill sergeant now serving at Fort Bragg. He said a soldier’s sexual orientation has no bearing on job performance.

The Observer interviewed 20 Fort Bragg soldiers Friday about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy after The Associated Press on Thursday reported that a former 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper says he was unfairly kicked out for admitting he was gay.

All of the soldiers interviewed Friday declined to give their names because of the sensitive nature of the issue.

“It’s political. The Army has to have a public face,” said an 82nd paratrooper. “When you look at the commercials, you see soldiers doing their jobs. You don’t see his personal life.”

It may be the case that DADT might seem trivial or ignored by and large by soldiers, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to be gay on base there. One Fort Bragg story is that of former staff sergeant Leonard Peacock, which you can read at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network web site.

After basic training, advanced individual training as an avenger air defense weapons system technician and jump school, I arrived at my first duty station at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the 82nd Airborne Division, 3/4 Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Being in the 82nd Airborne Division, I often heard racial slurs and anti-gay comments. Even the leadership at Fort Bragg said these disparaging comments, but I decided to ignore them. I did not want any attention directed toward me.

Many people suspected that I was gay but no one really said anything. In 1999, I was reassigned to Bravo Company, 782nd Main Support Battalion. When I got there, we had to go to the field for a month. When I got out of the field and was released for the weekend, I walked to my truck and found a sign with “FAG” written on it sitting on my windshield. It concerned me, but I threw it away because I didn’t want to attract attention.

But the harassment didn’t stop there. I got to my truck one day to see black stickers spelling out, “FAG,” “RAINBOW WARRIOR,” “GAY” and other epithets on my windshield.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding