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Strippers, Dopers, and Wannabe Porno Queens
J. D. Pendry
I pulled out my old fart's retiree ID card to make sure I was old enough to read some of the conversations recently on my favorite NCO Internet Channel. The NCO Zone a NCO discussion list hosted by the NCO Website. After determining I was old enough I started reading and wondering about where the NCO corps (or a least a portion of it) is and how in the heck it got there.
In case you do not dabble in this forum I'll give you the highlights. In one episode, a single female soldier was given a birthday party in government family quarters. One of her party gifts was a male stripper. Since males made these acts famous I suppose a little EO is appropriate if that's what blows your skirt up. As the stripper did his Chip-n-Dale thing three of the female soldiers, including birthday girl, decided to perform an act of oral sex on him. They performed this act for the entertainment of about twenty other female soldiers (and for their own reasons too I'm sure) some of which were NCOs. One of the future porno queens was under age and intoxicated and another was married, but "separated". The males at this party, we're told, were kicked out of the house during the party main event. Anyway, back to the show. One of the females in the audience decided to bring out her camera and record the event for future posterity. The pictures ended up in the hands of the chain of command leading to UCMJ action for the wannabe porno queens and reprimands for the NCOs there - even the male NCOs that were outside.
Now that you are up to date, let me share with you the points that served as discussion starters. The first was, (and to steal a Dave Barry expression) and I swear I'm not making this up, should oral sex be punishable under the UCMJ, after all, doesn't everyone do it? The other, Dave's expression again, should the future porno stars and the NCOs in the audience get punished since they were off duty when the event occurred?
I've always been of the mind that what consenting adults do in private is their own business as long as a few requirements are met. First, they must be consenting adults and if married, married to each other, and it must not involve any form of superior subordinate relationship. I think all of these were blown (I know - poor choice of words) in this scenario. When NCOs party with enlisted soldiers outside of unit functions the superior subordinate relationship is broken and will cause a breakdown in discipline, whether there is a supervisory chain involved or not. Now I wasn't at this party, but I'd be willing to bet that an underage drunk and her partners in porno were egged on by the audience (which included NCOs) and the photographer.
The discussion wound around the oral sex and off duty question for sometime before some NCOs finally brought up that maybe the wrong things were being discussed. Points were made about NCOs being the example, moral values, etc. The interesting thing here is that the discussion starters came from younger NCOs (an assumption I made based on the ranks used to sign their messages). The questions about values and morals came from older NCOs or at least higher ranking NCOs. I saw a dangerous disconnect between the two. What causes you to stop and think here is that the junior NCOs (those who have the most direct contact with soldiers) were more about questioning the rules than following them and they never approached the thoughts about values and being the example until pinned down. When these points were brought up the discussion died a quick death.
The next scenario also interested me. Another photographer decided to record a crime in progress. Photos were taken of a group of soldiers who appeared to be smoking drugs from a large bong emblazoned with their unit crest. When the local Photo-mat, or whoever it was, began to develop the pictures they suspected illegal activity and turned the picture evidence over to the cops. Now, you would expect that a group of NCOs would give the Photo-mat a bunch of enthusiastic hooahs for doing the right thing. Not. The biggest point of discussion had little to do with the actual event of soldiers using illegal drugs (everyone in the photo it turns out was given a urinalysis and turned up positive). Instead, the biggest point of discussion was: (Dave Barry again) did the photo-mat invade the privacy of the dopers by turning their dope smoking party pictures over to the cops? This time, however, the division of supporters was not very clear. Senior and Junior NCOs were asking the same question. Again, the discussion died out once some NCOs pointed out that a doper is a doper and they have no place in the Army and we should thank the photo-mat for helping us identify them. After all, wouldn't they turn over the pictures if they suspected another crime - maybe murder?
Maybe I'm just old and out of touch. I remember back in the 70's (early 70's too) when a bunch of dopers in my AIT barracks at Fort Ord spent the entire weekend in the bay of our WWII barracks smoking pot. They even built themselves a little dope smoking cubicle by pulling bunks together and draping blankets around them and not once did a NCO drop by - we were one building away from the CQ. I remember NCOs in Korea busting dopers only to watch them get off scot-free because someone may have violated their rights. Once freed, they immediately returned to their habits of dealing and using drugs in the barracks. On the other hand, we had senior NCOs trying to preach virtue and morals to young soldiers while all of them (with wives in the states) were shacked up in the village. And most of them could peg a Breathalyzer when they came to work in the morning - and most certainly after lunch.
So what's my point? It's this, are we seeing attitudes now similar to what we had and most of us experienced back in the 70's when our Army was broken and flat on it's drug abusing, alcohol abusing, moral-less butt? If so, let's not go back there. Everyone rub your values card and repeat after me. The 70's were bad, real bad.
© 2000 J. D. Pendry