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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't....giggle

J. D. Pendry

Sam, a friend of mine, just sent me a quote attributed to anonymous. This may not be exactly right, but I think it went "When I came in the military it was illegal to be homosexual, then it became optional. I'm getting out before it becomes mandatory." I guess it's just another sign of where we've come from to get where we are today. Sam's e-mail caused me to think about some things.

I was sitting in one of the little auditoriums at the Sergeant's Major Academy a few years ago while attending the CSM course. We were being lectured on the then new Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy by a lawyer LTC. He had a tough crowd of senior NCOs willing to debate the merits of this program with him. After fending off many of our negative comments and staunchly defending the policy he told us we might as well accept the fact that gays will be allowed to serve in the military. He followed that up with another remark. He told us that there were plenty of gays in the military now and he was certain that someone in the very room we were in was gay. A lot of sideways glances shot around the room and as the mumbling began to pick up one of the CSM designees looked at the LTC and said, "Colonel, there's only one way I know of that you could make that statement with such certainty." There was a lot of snickering after that and the conversation sort of went south.

Pondering this whole situation (from the outside this time) my mind wandered back to some other times. I remember being at Fort Eustis, Virginia in 1973, assigned to the 7th Transportation Group. During that time, the Women's Army Corps (WAC) was alive and well. They also had their very own WAC companies and barracks. Now I don't want to get attacked by any female soldiers here because what I'm about to report is a piece of factual history. Boys and girls (but mostly boys) commonly referred to the WAC barracks as the Sugar Shack. Also, during that time the powers decided that we no longer needed a Women's Army Corps, and that women were to be fully integrated into the regular Army with the rest of us. You guessed it. No more Sugar Shack because the girls were going to live in the same barracks with the boys. You have to imagine how hard that was to take for a Korean War and Vietnam veteran 1SG who knew ever cuss word in several languages and used most of them whenever he talked to his company in a formation. Now his formation was going to have girl soldiers in it too. Adding to Top's dilemma they also moved into his barracks. Top had to have a boy and girl CQ roster now, because the girls were sealed off on their own floor of the barracks. Not only that, but now he had to inspect a girl's latrine and rooms that had teddy bears in them. That was hard on Top, but he eventually worked it out.

My mind then fast-forwarded to 1988. There I was a 1SG in Germany, in a brand spanking new renovated barracks. On each floor of the barracks I had male and female latrines. They were color coded too just in case one became disoriented during a hard drinking German beer and schnapps night. The girl's had pink tile and the boy's had blue. No kidding. Occasionally a drunken boy would wander into the pink one. Occasionally boys and girls would share. Yep, I caught a couple. The giggling always seemed to give them away. If they'd practiced a little noise discipline I'd probably never had any extra training toilet scrubbers. They used to get upset when I'd tell them that since they liked to spend so much time together in the toilet I was happy to make it possible and legal for them to do so.

I used to wonder how much money would have been saved to use for other things if we had not integrated soldier living quarters. I had a four story barracks with eight full sized latrines, which was much more shower and latrine capacity than I ever needed for the number of soldiers living there. Now, fast forward a few more years and you find the Navy retooling combat ships so that they can accommodate girl and boy crews.

But, how do we resolve the other issue? The way I see it, there are now at least four sexes to accommodate - boys who prefer girls, girls who prefer boys, girls who prefer girls and boys who prefer boys. Of course, you could argue for five when you consider those who are adventuresome. However, I don't think four separate latrines will meet the need. It's kind of like this, girls can shower together and boys can shower together. What I can't figure out is how to accommodate those new sexes. I mean, would it be right to allow boys who like boys to shower with other boys unless of course it was ok for boys who like girls and girls who prefer boys to shower together? It only gets more complicated when you factor in the girls who prefer girls and downright confusing if you consider the AC DC possibility. And, I just don't know what the hell the Navy is going to do. This just may be the justification we need for every soldier, sailor, airmen, and marine to get their own private bathroom.

Shhhhhhhh, if you are very quiet you can hear the giggling. Noise discipline troops, noise discipline.

© 2000 J. D. Pendry