“I don’t want any fruitcakes near me.” Those were the exact words that came from the mouth of Damien, one my co-workers, when I asked for his opinion on gays in the military. According to the latest polls from the National Post, 50% of military households feel the same way as him (Man para 7). Even with the majority of America in favor for letting gays serve openly in the military, this controversial topic is getting many Americans riled up. I stand on the side of the fence that supports the repeal on the ban that’s prohibiting homosexuals from joining the armed forces. There can be many benefits if we let gays in our ranks.
It was Damien’s response that reminded me how ignorant people can be. I immediately insisted for a good explanation for his remark, but he wasn’t able to produce one. “If I’m in a war zone, I want somebody watching my back for my protection. I don’t want them watching me out of sheer bliss.” That was the explanation he gave me as he walked away with the look of annoyance on his face. I wondered, was he annoyed because he realized he sounded like a buffoon, or maybe my facial expressions revealed my disgust towards him. Homosexuals are human beings, and I am a strong believer that they should have the right to defend our country as long as they meet physical and ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) requirements. There aren’t many people who are willing to put on our nation’s uniform especially when America is at war; it takes a special person to accept that responsibility. One of the biggest problems the military face is getting people to re-enlist for certain career fields. Since the DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) policy went into effect in 1993, more than 13,000 service members have been discharged to date (Zavis para 10). That average out to be around 794 members each year. The people who are discharged are potential re-enlistees. Those 794 people can be used to fill deployment slots.
There’s nothing that better than a long deployment. Unfortunately that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Many of our deployed troops wouldn’t want anything else but to be home with loved ones. Since there is a personnel shortage in several branches and in several career fields, the people that the military do have are forced to do longer deployments as well as frequent deployments. Of course letting gays serve openly will boost enlistment numbers and help generate more personnel for the armed services. A personnel expansion can give home-sick troops a break on frequent and long deployments.
A lot of people are unaware on how the gay ban really affects people who are either in the military or who wants to join. Let’s review former Air Force officer Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach for example. After giving 18 years of his life to the Air Force he was discharge for being gay. A highly decorated fighter pilot must forfeit all possible retirement perks, some which includes medical benefits and retirement pay of $46,000 per year. This same man who was identified for heroism during his missions in Baghdad, kept his sexual preference to himself day after day, but all of that doesn’t mean anything to the military because of DADT. I can’t imagine how I might feel if I was told I couldn’t retire after giving the military the best years of my life. (Rolfsen-Gay Officer)
The biggest issue about the gay ban is the lies. Anyone who wants to join the military and people who are currently serving in the military must lie if they are gay. I find it completely unfair that a person must lie about their way of life solely for employment reasons. My younger sister just recently told our family that she was a lesbian. Her future plans involved her joining either the Air Force or Navy. If she still decides to go through with her plans then she must lie for the duration of her career. My sister is a wonderful person and she shouldn’t have to hide the real her. It would be devastating if she makes a great