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News ::
Don't Ask - Don't Tell and The War Against Terrorism... By J. David Galland (english)
25 Nov 2002

J. David Galland debunks the mythical acceptance of homosexuals in today’s military. He illustrates how the homosexual lobby seeks to legitimize the illegal activities of homosexual soldiers in the name of “The War on Terrorism” in light of the recent revelation of homosexual soldiers at the Army’s Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.
‘Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell’ and the War against Terrorism

By J. David Galland

Sergeant Jack O’Shea knew it was coming down to the wire. After studying the German language for over 30 weeks at the U.S. Army’s Defense Language Institute at Monterey, Cal., O’Shea realized that his future as a linguist, and a soldier, all came down to two critical issues other than his grade-point average. They were his body weight and ability to do enough push-ups when he took his graduation physical fitness test.

The date was February 1987, the Berlin Wall had not yet fallen, and the demand for German linguists in the Army intelligence field was great. O’Shea had just re-enlisted in the Army for six more years. In so doing, he chose to make career change from supply sergeant to a voice intercept electronic warfare specialist.

O’Shea maintained a 98 percent grade-point average for close to a year while attending the basic German language course. This was no small accomplishment for Irish kid from South Boston who dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to be a dishwasher at a high-tone Boston restaurant that overlooked the fish piers. As well, O’Shea was a husband and a father to a pair of four-year old twin boys.

The two issues that plagued Sergeant O’Shea were that he constantly struggled to keep his body weight and his percentage of body fat content within the allowable standard of Army regulation 600-9.

O’Shea had been on the Army’s weight-control program for most of his time at language school. By losing a pound here and there he was eventually released from the list of overweight soldiers, since he complied with the established weight standards.

The date of the graduation physical fitness test arrived. First came the weigh-in, then the agility test. Unfortunately, O’Shea had gained weight to the tune of four pounds, and he now exceeded his allowable body fat content by .02 percent. This would have resulted in being put back on the weight control program, but for our young noncommissioned officer with the remarkable GPA, it was the foreboding undoing of his Army career.

After the bad news of being weighed and taped for percentage of body fat, O’Shea failed to pass his physical fitness test by falling 5 push-ups short, and his spirit was broken. The promising linguist was now a double failure and he was ultimately discharged from military service a few weeks later. Nobody came to Sgt. O’Shea’s defense: no special-interest groups, no civil rights organizations, and not one socially oriented watchdog institute.

So, last week when the news broke from the West Coast that the Army had discharged nine soldiers who were studying foreign languages because they were homosexuals, I publicly applauded the news. The Army held fast and obeyed the law.

The prohibition of homosexuals and homosexuality within the armed services is a long-standing element of military law that is necessary in the unique circumstances of military service. Both houses of Congress voiced this position in 1993 by declaring and determining that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service.” Today this is commonly known as Public Law 103-160, Section 654, and Title 10, which cite the flawed principle of “don’t ask – don’t tell.”

So back to the idyllic Monterey Bay and The Defense Language Institute where the homosexual soldiers were trying to learn foreign languages, just as Sergeant O’Shea had done years before.

Seven of the homosexual soldiers were discharged after announcing to their superiors that they were homosexuals. Two others, Pfc. Alastair Gamble and Corp. Robert Hicks, were discovered in Gamble’s room engaging in homosexual activities incompatible with military service, during an unannounced barracks inspection.

Predictably enough, homosexual rights groups jumped all over the Army for its decision to discharge these soldiers.

Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemen’s Legal Defense Network, which specializes in defending homosexuals in the military, said that two of the soldiers were studying Korean, one was learning Mandarin Chinese, and six were studying Arabic.

During an interview with the Associated Press, Gamble sought to legitimize his homosexual conduct as acceptable, saying, “It’s not a gay-rights issue, I’m arguing military proficiency issues – they are throwing out good, quality people.”

This is debatable.

As a linguist and graduate of the Defense Language Institute, a former platoon sergeant later First Sergeant at the school, I can reassure everyone that despite Gamble’s allusion, the discharge of six soldiers enrolled in the initial study phases of Arabic language, is not going to impact the war on terrorism or national readiness.

Army Training and Doctrine Command spokesman Harvey Perritt told the AP that there were 516 neophyte linguists enrolled in the Arabic language course during 2002, and that 365 had actually graduated from the very difficult course of study in Monterey so far.

When I attended the language school, my class numbered 35 soldiers at the beginning of the course. A year later, 17 of us walked across the stage to receive our diplomas. So from my corner of the foxhole, having 365 graduates from the Arabic course in 2002, translates into an Army training success story.

I wish to commend the military leaders at the language school, and throughout the chain of command, for taking a legal and uncompromising stand. The fair and evenhanded enforcement of the law, particularly within the military ranks, must never be subject to the vociferous, and often emotional, protests of homosexual advocacy groups.

A few less linguists – who exhibited a proclivity for unacceptable and prohibited conduct – will most assuredly not impact on the war against terrorism.

J. David Galland is the Deputy Editor of DefenseWatch Magazine at: as well The Founder and President of Bound & Overwatch-The Military Observer at: He can be reached at: JDavidGalland (at)
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