People with My Life
following was written by an active duty Air
Force officer who has recently returned to
the States after successive tours of duty
I am a
senior Air Force Medical Corps officer on
active duty. I am also a man who is
attracted to men. For both these reasons, I
have strong feelings about the militaryís
"Donít Ask, Donít Tell" policy
is supposed to protect morale, promote unit
cohesion, and enhance combat readiness.
These are important values, especially in
think DADT protects these core values. In
fact, it undermines them.
three military services currently have at
least 65,000 gay and lesbian service
members, according to a recent Urban
Institute analysis. It doesnít seem to me
that morale, unit cohesion, or mission
readiness are crumbling as a result.
personally know many gay and lesbian service
members and have treated many in my
professional military career. If the core
argument of DADT were true, our military
would currently be straining to maintain
morale, unit cohesion and combat readiness,
due to the many gays and lesbians now
serving. Thatís not the case.
before Self, Excellence in All We Do, and
Integrity First" is the motto of the
United States Air Force. My attraction to
men doesnít nullify or eclipse this credo,
nor does it adversely affect my ability to
support morale, unit cohesion, or combat
competence should be the bottom line.
Competence, commitment, and reliability are
a few of the attributes I assess when
looking at morale, cohesion, and combat
readiness in a specific situation. When I
ask the question "Do I want to go down
range with him or her?" the question of
sexual orientation is never on my list.
the bullets start flying, I want to know
"Does this person have my back?"
Can I trust this person to do their job so I
can focus on mine and the safety issues at
hand? Are they a good team player? Do they
step up when asked? Are they motivated? Can
I put my life in their hands?
I put my life in their hands?" That is
the bottom line. Down range, in combat,
everything else is stripped away, and the
sexual orientation of my team members has no
bearing on trusting them with my life.
to remain in the military. I and others like
me want to continue to serve our country. To
make that possible, please repeal DADT.