In preparation for the formal end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Defense Department is conducting training sessions for servicemen and women, explaining the new policy. How’s that process going? Extremely well.
The Marines listening to Bartos — most in their 20s — sat quietly, upright and stone-faced in blue plastic chairs, sipping occasionally from water bottles or cans of Red Bull. There were no smirks or eye-rolls as he discussed issues such as “consensual sodomy” or potential religious opposition to homosexuality.
Members of OutServe, a network of anonymous active-duty gay service members, said they have heard of very few occasions of instructors or troops joking about the instructional information.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said, “It’s remarkable how so far, the training and education is really a nonevent.” SLDN is representing troops discharged under the current policy.
The Washington Post‘s Ed O’Keefe sat in on one session at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, led by Marine Maj. Daniel Bartos. The major asked a corporal what he would do if he heard two junior Marines joking in the locker room about showering in front of a gay colleague.
“It’s inappropriate in any situation, whether that Marine is homosexual, heterosexual, black, white, we’re all Marines, we’re all professionals,” the corporal said.
Those Republicans who assured us servicemen and women, especially the Marines, would never accept a change in policy apparently had no idea what they were talking about.
GOP members of Congress are still talking about repealing the repeal, and several Republican presidential candidates have vowed to bring the old policy back if elected, but it appears the country is moving forward without them.