August 16, 2006
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Now Available: Newly revised paperback General Lee:Father of the Airborne. General Lee Paperback
Recent Commentaries
· NeverEndingWar
· Military Grief
· DarkNightOfSoul
· RapeandMurderInIraq
· Casualty of War
· WhytheDraft?
· RevisionistHistory:Vietnam
· Has 9-11 changed us?
· ExtremistsInMilitary
· Tainted Experiences
· Change In Strategy
· AWol Book
· Prairie Home Companion
· Chain of Command
· Public on Iraq
· Kim Jong il and Missiles
· Public on Iraq
· InvestigationsOfSoldiers
· Loggerheads
· How Iraq Is Shaping Up
· MurthaAndRove
· Broken Trail
· Movie: Shop Girl
· Need More Medals
· The Good Fight
· Mad With Me
· InconvenientTruth
· From Here To Eternity
· Duke Scandal
· Lt. James Cathey
· Reading Obits
· Freedom Day
· Give GW A For Effort
· War Chronicles
· DenialOfAging
· Sopranos?
· King Mayor
· American Theocracy
· Art Buchwald
· Thank Vietnam
· Reader'sOpinionOnIraq
· Paul Eaton
· Too Many Cars
· Heroes
· Pat Tillman
· Review: Hustle and Flow
· NewspapersMagazines
· OnTheBus
· ThoughtGayMeantHappy
· Situation In Iraq
· More Special Forces
· PatTillmanInvestigations
· Thousand-Yard Stare
· Dick Cheney Shooting
· About 60 minutes
· McNamara 100,000
· King Funeral
· DeathortheArmy
· Abortion
· Rummy again
· More About Frey
· Create Buzzzzzzzz
· AboutLastWeek
· TheyLiedTheyLied
· TheyMadeIt
· Swift Boating Murtha
· ListeningToOurElders
· Million Little Pieces
· StateofIraqWar
· Melvin Connors
· Two Pows
In Memorium: Our Good Friend, Willie Horace Pope

horace as boy On the one month anniversary of his passing, the webzine and the Dunn High School Class of 1958 pay tribute to a devoted family man, friend, and classmate, Horace Pope.

God Bless his wife Becky, his children and grandchildren, and his extended family. We love you.
In Memory of Our Good Friend, Horace Pope

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A Dramatic and Heroic Rescue and Recovery Mission
-Deserters To The Rescue

http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/vtc/ngfl/history/gcse_usa_rev_elander/vietnam.jpg On January 14 1969, Lt. Dan Roach, XO(company executive officer) stationed at LZ Salley participated in a rescue and recovery mission of a downed UH-1, (Huey) helicopter along with two NCOs (noncommissioned officers) near the village of Huong Can, South Vietnam. Called into the Commander's office later that afternoon, Lt. Roach received no "pat on the back" for a job well done, but unexpected news.

Read Dan Roaches' dramatic account of his experience: Deserters to the Rescue

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(Map courtesy of http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk)
  DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL BY KELLY THOMAS
Bleu Copas, shown Wednesday, July 19, 2006 in Bristol, Tenn, was a decorated U.S. Sergeant and Arabic language specialist dismissed from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Copas says he never admitted being gay and his accuser was never identified. (AP Photo/Earl Neikirk)
(AP Photo/Earl Neikirk)
When I was a young officer, a 1st Sergeant told me, "Lt., don't ever forget that regulations are guidelines, they are not the 10 commandments."

Unfortunately, most follow the military regulations as if they are ironclad rules and sometimes they should be; and, other times, we ought to view them as guidelines and be smart.

I've always felt the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy is stupid. It is very hard for the military, at large, to thread the needle on such a divisive social issue.

The military is not a social experiment; however, the flip side of the coin is that most of us would not want to deny any American the opportunity to serve.

Are there places for gays to serve in the military? Absolutely! Not in combat units, in my opinion, because there are too many difficulties-the same sorts of reasons that females should not live alongside males in combat units. These groupings change the makeup of the organization in such circumstances.

In my unit in Germany in the early seventies, we had a public affairs NCO. Everybody knew he was "on the other team" as Seinfeld would say. He was a fine trooper. Nobody ever talked about it, relatively speaking. There was a little friendly jostling occasionally and he would often say, "If you ain't tried it, don't kick it." No zealots came running to the commander, "There's a gay in the house, there's a gay in the house." We just used common sense.

A U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter lands to pick up U.S. soldiers during an aerial traffic control point mission in Tal Afar, Iraq in this file photo taken June 12, 2006 and released June 13, 2006. U.S. soldiers charged with murdering three detainees in Iraq smiled before carrying out the shootings and threatened to kill another soldier if he informed on them, a military court heard on Wednesday. REUTERS/Staff Sgt. Jacob Bailey/Handout
(REUTERS/Staff Sgt. Jacob Bailey/Handout)
An example of religiously following the regulation comes from the Language School in Monterey, California. By all reports, a student, very good in Arabic-surely needed at this critical juncture-joined to serve. He was patriotic and everything wanted in a soldier. In language school, well over half of a class fails. This soldier was an exception.

The soldier was discovered to be gay through a casual remark to a friend. He violated a rule of having a boy in his room and notes were found. Had he been a straight soldier and had a girlfriend in his room, he would have been disciplined mildly and told not to do it again. But the gay guy is discharged. The military has spent big bucks on the soldier's education and now the soldier's career and money are "down the tube." The rule is followed; a youngster is denied the chance to serve.

Recently, former Sergeant Bleu Copas fate fell to similar circumstances except he was outed by an anonymous e-mail instead of a friend. Copas was a highly regarded Arabic translator, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division and performed in the division chorus. He joined after 9-11 because he wanted to serve his country. He knew about the Don't ask, Don't tell policy when he enlisted and knew serving was going to be difficult, but intended on keeping his sexual orientation under wraps. But, in August 2005, an anonymous e-mail was sent to his commanding officer claiming that a profile on the internet identified a member of the unit as gay. An investigation followed.

It is reported that the investigating officer asked Copas questions like, "Have you ever worked off duty at a community theater?" and Do you know of anyone or are you aware of anyone who thinks you are a homosexual?" Copas refused to answer 19 of the 47 questions asked and refused to answer directly whether or not he was an homosexual. Copas was discharged January 30, 2006. (Source:Seattlepi.com)

According to the General Accounting Office, 11,000 military personnel have been discharged since 1993 under the Don't ask, Don't tell policy. Of these, 800 were trained in highly needed skills such as medicine and languages. Thousands of dollars, intensive language skills, interrogation skills, and weapons training and no telling what else lost because of using the regulations not as guidelines, but as hard and fast rules.

I support the prohibition of gays in "combat" units; with the macho nature of grunts and special operations soldiers, doing otherwise is asking too much and taking too much of a chance.

However, there are places for gays to serve and serve well.

Common sense should always trump regulation. KT



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