The United States Army is set to repeal its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring homosexuals from openly serving sometime this year and the sensitivity training will soon begin.
On the battlefield.
Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, the nation’s top-ranked enlisted soldier, told the press in a teleconference that the Army will “take our directions from the Department of Defense, from the secretary of defense, the chairman, as well as the chiefs-of-staff.”
“We’re going to begin executing this training [in Afghanistan] on the battlefield,” said Hill.
A bill to repeal the Clinton-era Defense directive passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate on December 18, 2010. It was signed into law by President Obama three days later.
Private 1st Class Josh Hufford of St. Augustine says he’ll have zero problems when it comes to serving alongside openly gay soldiers.
“Anyone who is willing to serve, to go over there with me and watch my back, is ok by me. Regardless of thier sexual orientation,” said Hufford.
The repeal isn’t set to take place until it is approved by President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as not harmful to the operations of the military, followed by a 60-day waiting period.
But Hufford says the sooner the law gets passed, the better.
“I feel it will relieve a lot of tension in my mostly-female unit,” says Hufford, who is stationed at Scofield Army base in Honolulu. “Many of the women I work with are closeted homosexuals who are forced to keep quiet to keep thier jobs. I feel it would make everyone’s life easier if they could be open.”
As for the fear that repeal opposition often cites, that allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces will lead to sexual assault and harrassment from a new angle, Hufford claims that’s ridiculous.
“The code of conduct applies to everyone, male or female, gay or straight,” said Hufford. “Any misconduct will lead to immediate discipline and probably being discharged.”