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10th Mountain Soldiers Don’t Care If Their Comrades Are Gay

On Saturday, the commander of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, Maj. Gen. James Terry, put up an open forum on his Website for his soldiers, officers and noncommissioned officers to tell him what they thought about the prospective repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In stark contrast to the homophobia expressed by this retired Marine colonel, the men and women of the 10th Mountain — one of the Army’s most combat-deployed divisions since 2002 — mostly think DADT is either a non-issue or ought to be repealed as a matter of basic fairness. Few of the thread’s 77 comments express any hesitation about the repeal’s impact unit cohesion or combat readiness or any other arguments typically used to justify keeping openly gay servicemembers out of the military.

For instance:

All of the Soldiers who have posted negative comments about gays just need to grow up!

Personally I would rather go to war with a gay Soldier rather than one who gets high!!!

And:

There are gay Soldiers in the 10th Moutain as the key strokes are being written. They have been on multiple deployments and their bunkmates know. We need to come out of the dark ages and update to 2010 and see a Soldier is a Soldier. What they do behind closed doors are their business.

When a soldier asks how the rest of the world would view gay servicemembers in the U.S. military, a colleague replies:

Have you considered the fact that most countries within NATO, as well as Israel, already allow gays within their ranks?

And:

When I am outside the wire [on a mission], the main thing I want to know about the Soldiers I am with is that they qualified with and can accurately fire the weapon they are carrying. I don’t care about their sexual orientation (or, for that matter, how many pushups or situps they can do). Over the years, we have added too many unnecessary caveats and “requirements” to service, this ridiculous policy being just one of (too) many.

There isn’t any unanimity on the thread, and a frank exchange is both a good thing and to be expected. But what’s significant is how many soldiers on the thread simply don’t have patience for the typical political debate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” For more on how the military-in-combat values competence and professionalism far more than sexual orientation, see this Washington Post story. And thanks to Starbuck at Wings Over Iraq for calling attention to this thread.

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