The Right Thing To Do


Last week history was made. President Obama signed the repeal of DADT into law. This was an especially meaningful moment for me as a former gay member of the military and as a vocal advocate for repeal for several years.

My military experience as a gay male became a cornerstone of my life and psyche. Forsaking two full four year scholarships to outstanding universities, I decided instead to join the military. Knowing at the time that I was gay, I made the difficult decision to lie on my enlistment application. I joined the Air Force in a time beset by the end of the Vietnam War and the beginning of social change within our country.

My military career as a Personnel Specialist started at the 615th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron in Neubruecke, Germany; a bit of a homecoming for me as I had spent my formulative years in Germany as a military brat, and had just returned to the States less than two years earlier. A small, tight-knight unit housed in an old Army hospital from the post-war period, we worked alongside NATO forces, Canadian Air Force, and the Army protecting and serving our country. It literally was a facility where everyone knew his fellow soldier.

During my years here I enjoyed great success in my military career, having been selected as the unit’s Airman of the Year and was one of four nominated for the command-wide USAFE (United States Armed Forces Europe) Airman of the Year. My personal life was also rewarding me with the completion of my college education through the University of Maryland and a formulative relationship with my best friend whom I care for deeply to this date.

Following my tour in Germany, I was assigned to Ellsworth AFB, in South Dakota. Continuing to be involved in the community and matters that involved my fellow soldiers, I was elected President of the base’s Air Force Sergeant’s Association, and (thanks to my language skills) was nominated for a special duty assignment with HUMINT, located at the Pentagon.

Later, I was transferred to Eglin AFB in sunny Florida, and spent the remaining four years of my military career there. It was during this period that I began to embrace the fact that I was gay, and without a stable relationship since I left Germany, I immersed myself in what I found to be a fairly large gay community in the Fort Walton Beach area. A community composed of civilians and an alarming (to a young me) number of active duty, former military, and retired Air Force members.

Of the one hundred or so Air Force personnel at the Consolidated Base Personnel Office (CBPO) where I worked, there were nearly ten of us who were gay, including the Chief of Personal Affairs and the Chief of the CBPO, a Major. 

For many years as a Personnel Technician in the Air Force my job was to process administrative discharges for cause. Some of these were otherwise outstanding men and women, discharged for being gay. Of them, a few just “wanted out”. Others accepted their fate and were willing to move on. Some were the targets of “witch hunts”, and were exposed to the full impact of homophobia in the military. Those I knew, I spoke with at length about my trepidation and the implied hypocrisy of my position in processing their discharge. We agreed that I was merely doing my “job”, and I had to be convinced several times to not speak out as it would affect my career.

I left the military and moved on with my life. Over the years, the fact that I was gay became less of a “chore”. That may be an unusual statement to make, but you must understand first that my entire life, up to this point, revolved around keeping my sexual orientation a secret from authorities: My family, led by a career military man; and the military, led by the institutionalized homophobia fueled by ignorance.

To say that being free from these constraints of society was challenging would be an understatement. On two occasions I was the victim of extreme hate in the form of gay-bashing, with the last incident leaving me seriously injured, physically and mentally, at the hands of a law enforcement officer attending training at the FLETC in Brunswick, Georgia.

As a result, I’ve become increasingly an advocate for gay rights and equality. More so after someone (a former Navy enlisted man) had the following statements to say (on an internet forum) about me a few years ago:

With those assumptions… and your own admission… I can safely say that you falsified government documents to gain employement in a government position under false pretenses.  That is a federal crime.

…a guy who admittedly broke the law and lied to his government for almost 2 full decades.

Howey is a guy that illegally served in the military.

The fact that you lied to your employer and broke the law for your entire career.

A man can not serve his country while breaking the laws of the land.  

…gay person that made a false statement to gain employment with the government commited a federal crime.

If someone lies about their eligibility to serve, it is fraud.

…you are a liar and should be in jail for defrauding the United States government of money you don’t rightfully deserve.

I’m glad to see current service members don’t agree with those statements, as well as our Service Chiefs, Congress, and a majority of Americans. What I see is the opportunity for gay men and women to continue serving for, and dying for, their country without fear of reprisal and shame merely because they happen to love someone of the same sex.

The President is correct.

It was THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

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23 responses »

  1. Why are you still pissed at Crowd for something he wrote years ago? Particularly since you agreed with him that you did in fact lie?

    “I made the difficult decision to lie on my enlistment application.”

    Sounds like you ought to tell him, “Hey you were right.”

    Now, on a semi related note, a rabbi is suing the army for the right to wear a beard.

    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/12/army-rabbi-sues-over-no-beard-policy-123110w/

    I thought with the end of DADT, there wouldn’t be a need for beards?

    Get it? As Dr Sheldon Cooper would say, Bah zinga!

    • Not funny at all…

      Don’t you have a question to answer (you’ll find it somewhere on here…)? Or are you too busy pushing the teabagger/libertarian agenda to worry about getting another innocent muche participant banned just because he/she disagrees with your twisted point of view?

      • Get it? Beard? You didn’t find that funny?

        Humorless. That’s what I say you are.

        1. Now, what question would I have to answer?

        2. What are you babbling about? I’m not trying to get anyone banned. I don’t have that kind of influence if there was anyone that I wanted to ban. And quite honestly, I can’t think of anyone I want to ban from there. I didn’t even want to ban you.

        However I am all in favor of pushing a “teabagger/libertarian agenda” though.

        Free Minds and Free Markets!

      • Free Minds and Free Markets!

        Yeah…ask Rep. Giffords about that…

        As far as Count P is concerned, I don’t know if he’s banned or not. Don’t know him. All I know is that there’s no posts from him since you called him out for proving you wrong…I guess I need to call my doctor to see if I was using his computer while I was under anasthesia.

      • As far as Count P, and all your other alias’s go, I had no role in getting “him” banned. Although I was contacted during their last “investigation.” I heard about the banning after the fact. And my understanding is that, yes Count P is banned. If you’re not sure just try logging on as him. Do I enjoy “outing” you when I catch you? Sure, but lately I have not even bothered. I’ve been content to let you trip yourself up. Even though I figured out Count P after the 2nd post, you had your normal archenemies fooled for quite a while. So congrats on that!

        Admit it. Wasn’t it satisfying to have MLG apologize to you for you being confused with a troll? How that must have pissed him off when he finally figured you out!

        I’ve no great love for MLG, and since I opposed your banning over at the muche, I have no obligation to help him catch you. I’ve not PM’d or tried to notify any of TPTB when I’ve figured you out. That’s their job.

        But as experience has shown, when they catch you, they will ban you. Those guys really hate you.

        On the other hand, I’ve always enjoyed sparring with you. You’re an easy win for me, and you are so sterotypically talking point that I get a kick out of your posts.

        Otherwise, why would I ever come to your site? I enjoy it!

        So keep trying to sneak on the muche. I won’t give you up, but on the other hand, I won’t help you either. But if I were you, I would work out a convincing backstory that makes sense. You are going to have to create a persona and stick with it.

        That’s the trick. TPTB won’t check every new poster using whatever technical means they have to out you unless they get suspicous. Count P tricked them for a while because you went to great effort to write in a very stilted, formal way. I saw right through it but it fooled those guys for a while.

        So don’t give up. It pisses off TPTB and amuses me!

      • You don’t seem to get it…I’m not Count P. Whatever TPTB use to “check” is a failure* as I said it’s impossible to post from an operating table. Unless you’re saying I didn’t have surgery?

        *This reminds me of the days when Crowd would accuse me of being Vanatru and Dave (and others) and using multiple ISP’s to log on within seconds of each other. Didn’t happen. Of course, those of you on the muche believed him because HE said it. Yeah, right…I hear gas is going to be 99 cents per gallon in six months. Fucking lemmings!

      • So curiously, where did you hear about Count P? Why were you worried he was banned? Why did you think he was banned, and why did you think I had something to do with his banning?

        As for your surgery, I didn’t know anything about it. You should have had Count P post that on the board so we could have known. Maybe Evil Eye would have prayed for you.

        I’m not sure why you think TPTB’s technical means are a failure? I’ve no idea what or how they do that. I know it must be more than simply checking IPs, but the exact means elude me.

        As for you being Vanatru, I don’t recall that rumor. That never occured to me and doesn’t strike me as realistic.

    • You said I was trying to get someone on the muche banned, I asked who, and you replied,

      “As far as Count P is concerned, I don’t know if he’s banned or not. Don’t know him. All I know is that there’s no posts from him since you called him out for proving you wrong…”

      Nobody mentioned Count P before you did. Nobody mentioned banning until you did.

      So…where did you hear about Count P?

      Why were you worried he was banned?

      Why did you think he was banned, and why did you think I had something to do with his banning?

      • Good God. You’re gettiing dense. You said:

        Anyway Count Howey, Theissen is not my source, so it’s kind of funny that you try to rebut a guy I’ve not referred to.

        So I asked someone on the muche what you meant. I never said he was banned, I assumed he was after reading his posts, and then his posts disappeared. Back when I had access to the muche, it was obvious that anytime anyone who disagreed with you with any level of intelligence soon disappeared. For someone who looks at everything in black and white, you sure are throwing a lot of gray into this discussion, aren’t you. Guilty conscience, muche?

      • That quote sounds kind of familiar, at least about Theissen, however your source should have informed you that I could never type “Count Howey” since the board doesn’t allow you to post that. So I have to question your “source.” Maybe your source could provide a link?

        “So I asked someone on the muche what you meant.” Really? Some one sent an incorrect quote to you, unbidden, so therefore you assumed he was banned?
        You realize how idiotic that sounds dont’ you? If you are going to sneak back on the board again, I would try to keep track of your stories.

        Now since you said he, “proved me wrong” maybe you could tell me what good old count P proved me wrong about? Inquiring minds and all that.

        That’s crazy, I mean really crazy, that you think anyone with any “level of intelligence soon disappeared.”

        That doesn’t say much about those who remained huh? But that’s some crazy conspiracy theory. Honestly, do you really think I have that much influence, or any influence, to get someone banned?

        Really, where do you get that?

      • It sounds familiar, dumbass, because you wrote it on here.

        btw – Tell Iceman I appreciate the site hits!

      • Ha! That’s why it sounds familiar!

        OK I didn’t put it on the board, so why are you worried about it? I didn’t out you on there. I will let you know that I know who you are though.

        I tried to get more than Iceman to come here, since I would like for everyone to see this comment thread. It rather speaks for itself. However I’m afraid TPTB would delete any posted link. You understand of course.

        Anyway, I can hardly wait for your next muche incarnation. Don’t let TPTB win!

      • Oh. Don’t worry…I had lots of hits from the Muche yesterday. Tell the guys, especially Iceman, I said thanks!

        lol…Icee visits here 20-30 times a week lurking around to see if I mention his name…Sam even more…yesterday the site count jumped 30 hits in less than ten minutes after the love fest on the muche…yet one guy, Iceman, the one person on the muche who’s wished death and bodily harm against me (as well as the President and just about every Democrat out there – not to mention his persistent mimicking of every extreme right wing talking point out there) has the nerve to say this about me:

        “yeah, he seems the type to goto a political rally and shoot someone. He does appear to be mental unstable.”

        Oh. The irony!

        I forgot. I’m not Count P. But keep convincing yourself. Hell, anyone that thinks Palin is a credible political figure can’t be too far away from the same scenario Icee’s speaking of. Have you locked and loaded yet?

      • Have I locked and loaded yet? Well, my home DOES have a 2nd amendment solution!

        You can deny that your Count P if you want, I don’t care. All I know is that Count P managed to convince TPTB that he was you! Cleverly too since they didn’t get it from the content, just from the technical end. Maybe there is a cyber genius out there pretending to not be you on the muche! Convuluted, yes, but if that’s your story, go ahead and stick with it.

        Actually I thought Darth was the guy who had wished harm on you? I don’t recall Ice doing it (although I don’t discount it) but I know Darth did it at least once a day. Is all forgiven now?

        Although I doubt Ice and Guardian snoop around here much, I figure if you are responding to Ice’s twitter you’ve been doing a fair bit of snooping yourself. You have not been kicked out of a community college lately have you?

      • It may seem that way, since although I know what I think you mean when I respond to your comments, I can’t say for sure that you mean what I think you mean. The grammar may be controlling you.

        Anyway, aren’t you the least bit curious on who has been pretending to not be you over and over again on the muche? Or do you already know the answer…

      • aren’t you the least bit curious on who has been pretending to not be you over and over again on the muche

        I could care less who’s posting on the muche. I rarely visit it anymore since it’s turned into Fluffmuche. I don’t think these people are pretending to be me, I think they’re actual people from over here who try to become a part of the muche only to be banned because they’re from over here as determined from an IP address and GOD FORBID could be moi.

        Unless TPTB are peering through my AOL fueled webcam, there’s no chance they could identify any of those visitors as me.

        And that’s what tickles the hell out of me!

  2. Pingback: The Dishonor of Capt Honors « Welcome to My World

  3. I think I know who it was who said that.. If I’m correct I am sorry he did. I do not think those were his true feelings and he was more or less pulling a ‘darth’ at the time because he was exasperated.. But it was still wrong,hurtful and uncalled for. I know another said similar things to you as well, I will not speak about his motives though as I come to find out recently he has changed into something that is unrecognizable..

    as to the minions who just ape those two? fuck them..

    I can’t understand why anyone would care about who a person loves when their job is to in essence kill others.. do we really need a sexuality check before we can let a man or a woman kill the enemy?

    well until recently yes we did..

    How sad that we will be looked on by our grandchildren the way we now look upon the old south and their culture and laws…but atleast we can say when change came, we grabbed it!

    🙂

    • You don’t need to apologize for the words of others, Kelly. (And your assumption is correct)

      Know what? I apologized to that same person time and time again…often when an apology from me wasn’t even appropriate. He has, to this date, never apologized to me for one of those words.

      As far as the other guy and the mindless minions who mimic him…society will hopefully weed them out long before the gays. I’ve pointed out the hateful comments of one of them threatening bodily harm towards me (including wishing my death through AIDS if you remember…) which are borderline psychotic; and the absolutely silly views of the other regarding gays which go beyond homophobic and into the realm of ignorance. Perhaps then can their words of hate, ignorance, and homophobia be stifled on a silly web forum.

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