Just Walt's Mental Meanderings

Walter Blevins

Walter Blevins
Vista, California, USA
August 22
I'm a 60 year old guy who lives in Vista California with my wife. I spent the 30 years before moving to Cali in Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota. And I have 2 grown children, a son and a daughter who live in Virginia and Iowa and a 22 year old step-daughter lives with us here in Vista. I'm a proud grandpa with 2 grandaughters living in Virginia. I like to write about a whole variety of things from my kids to cooking to politics to the car industry to my status as a "Cheap Bastid" and "Old Fart" and just random thoughts. And I really love writing about cooking really good, homecooked comfort food cheap. That's why they call me the Cheap Bastid. By the way--all the stuff I write is my stuff and you can't use it without my official OkeyDokey

FEBRUARY 3, 2010 9:45AM

Don't Ask; Don't Tell...What Would Gunny Highway Do?

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“Improvise, adapt, overcome.”  That was Gunny Highway’s raspy mantra in one of my all time favorite Clint Eastwood and war movies, “Heartbreak Ridge”.  It seems to me that President Obama, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense could benefit from some of that wisdom as they review “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.



I was flipping through the news channels yesterday morning and came across a couple of reports about a review of this now infamous policy.  One of the news stories said that the Department of Defense will now spend a year studying the repeal of this policy.


They’ll study it to death.  They’ll ask questions about “good order and discipline”, “unit cohesion”, etc.  Senator McCain and others will continue his cantankerous ways in opposition.  Why can’t Pres. Obama just do what Harry Truman did on February 2, 1948 and send a message to Congress.  Truman’s message said that he had “instructed the Secretary of Defense to take steps to have the remaining instances of discrimination in the armed forces eliminated as rapidly as possible.”


That would be a good start.  Except, like in Truman’s case, it would take several years to fully implement the change.  But it would be a good start.  Then Fox News, neo-cons and all the arch conservative pundits could have a hey-day criticizing it and we could see just how much mettle the president has in taking the right course of action and “sticking to his guns”.


I thought the comments from Lt. Dan Choi were interesting this morning.  He said that shortly after he came out, he was cleaning his weapon after a firing range training session.  A young trooper from his platoon asked him if he were the officer he had seen on the Rachel Maddow show talking about his homosexuality.  Choi said that he was.  After a couple of minutes, the young trooper said, “Cool, when can we meet your boyfriend?”  And according to Choi the young trooper was OK with it.



Maybe that’s the crux of this whole matter.  Today’s 18-25 year olds have grown up in an intensely politically correct educational and social environment.  They tend to be pretty blasé about sexuality.  If someone is gay, so what?  They are far more accepting than those of us who grew up 20, 30 or 40 years ago—or should I say than society was 20, 30 or 40 years ago.


What that might suggest is that now is the time to make this change.  If the “command structure” (the senior officers and senior NCOs) don’t like it, well maybe they should either change their own attitude or retire.


I don’t think that Gunny Highway would have much of a problem, just as long as the guy next to him can be trusted to “have his back”.  Like Gunny Highway said a couple of times in the movie, “just because you saved my ass doesn’t mean we’re going to take warm showers together.”


Until this policy is changed—hopefully by order of the Commander in Chief-- the military will continue to be, in the words of Gunny Highway, a “clusterflub” (actual word changed like the movie censors did). 

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An executive order does seem in order.
One of the best men in a fire-fight I had ever known was gay. We all knew it and no one gave a damn one way or the other. In the real world of combat, if a man did his job, then what he did on R and R was his business. I hope they repeal the damn rule and do it soon.
My personal experience with this left me permanently confused by the attitude of the upper levels of the military. The proportions of gays in the Navy were not dissimilar to those of the rest of the world. Outside of a few idiots no one gave a damn about it. Most people knew it and they were only bothered when they faced someone who wouldn't take no for an answer. No one ratted them out, no one acted as though they were a problem and for the most part, just like the rest of the world there were simply good people and bad people and when it came down to it they were more concerned with whether or not someone was careless and put someones life in danger or if they did their job competently. I knew of no one who was put out of the Navy for being gay no matter how open they were with it.
I really think it's time for all of us, including Fox News and the neo-con, to let the whole issue go and let people get on with being people.
Good post, Walter.
Pilgrim--thanks, I agree

Torman--I'm glad you commented. Your perspective as a man who's "been there/done that" speaks volumes. Like integrating the services, the sexual preference issue seems to have become more political within the upper command structure than practical as far as impacts on "line troops".

Bob--Thanks, I kind of got the impression from your current series on life in the Navy that this is your point of view.

John--Thanks, and I totally agree

Owl--thanks for reading and commenting
Like I said in my own post, "in this day and age, why does anybody give a damn?".

From reading the comments in todays New York Times, evidently a lot of bigots still do!
Obama could make his point with a little drama - issue the order, then publicly fire the first S.O.B officer who defies him. (r)
Right now it's all about enforcement, Walt. Until the law is repealed, treat it like jaywalking, that is not at all.
A fine piece of jarhead wisdom.
Kenny--you're right. Who gives a damn. How about a policy of "Don't ask"? As for the bigots, they're always going to be there.

Clark--starting at the top!

OE--I'm guessing that this is much of what goes on now. Lt. Choi is a public example of some of the fine young men and women whose opportunity is officially limited by the policy but I'm also guessing that there are thousands who are even now serving, discretely, but serving nonetheless.

Jeff--leave it to Gunny Highway! My wife's late father was a retired Master Gunny (E-9) who, she says, would have agreed with Gunny Highway and Torman.
and Gunny does read Cosmo ...
1I Mom--that just shows how "enlightened" he is.
Lt Choi is an absolutely AMAZING person. I actively encourage anyone who is in favor of repealing DADT to join KnightsOut, which he is on the board of directors of. He's also part of Courage Campaign and probably one of the most active advocates for repealing DADT that I have ever seen.
Love "Heartbreak Ridge". I'm just as confused as you on why Obama doesn't just put it out there. It's so ridiculous. They are already there. They are already gay. Who cares? It's about time they don't have to hide who they actually are with the possibility of their actual death in a war hanging over them.

He's Cute too! Lets not forget that! :-D
When Clinton did the Don't Ask, Don't Tell, it was part of a compromise that he reached with the Brass in the military. At that time it was the best he could get. Now however, even the top brass want this done. When they have to oust Arabic language experts, who are few and far between, because of them being gay, they lose valuable information and resources.
Walter- You mean it's what a person does with the other 23 hours a day that truly matters? What a concept!
Members of our armed forces have fought side-by-side with soldiers from countries that allow gay people to join their forces. Isn't that proof enough? What I truly love is McCain's pathetic flip-flop on the issue.
Great piece, Walter. R
excellent piece, walter.
Mrs Raptor--yes he is.

Julie--I think this is all because Democrats as well as Obama are hyper-sensitive to issues which cause controversy (although it seems as though all issues cause controversy with knee-jerk conservatives, as opposed to run of the mill conservatives). I find myself wishing more and more that Obama would become more Trumanesque. I wish he would recognize the need for assertive, affirmative leadership in the social and economic times in which we live and exercise it. Sometimes I wish he had more balls to take on the tough stuff rather than trying to keep the precarious equilibrium which is nothing but a myth anyway. Take a "the buck stops here" approach and go for what is right.

Placebo--so is Gunny Highway in his own hairy knuckled way.


Scanner--I totally agree. That policy hurt us when it comes to translators but, more fundamentally, it's just wrong.

Mothership--I think what you're suggesting is that this should be a total "no-brainer".

John--that's kind of proof that the U.S. policy is goofy.

Well said.
If they really knew how many of their soldiers were gay and acted on the law as it stands, they would lose an incredible amount of valuable men and women....but we will never convince them of this fact. They believe homosexuality in the service is limited to a select few.
Had to come back and re-visit this bit of wonderfulness . . .