Rules of Engagement: Marines Must Kiss Properly

March 23rd, 2011

By Dan Miller

Gays in the MilitaryTraining materials to be used in preparation for the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell have been made available to the Washington Times and more should soon be posted by the Department of Defense on its websites.

Here are some questions and answers from the training materials:

Situation — You are the Executive Officer of your unit. While shopping at the local mall over the weekend, you observe two junior male Marines in appropriate civilian attire assigned to your unit kissing and hugging in the food court.

Issue: Standards of Conduct. Is this within standards of personal and professional conduct? If the observed behavior crosses acceptable boundaries as defined in the standards of conduct for your unit and the Marine Corps, then an appropriate correction should be made. Your assessment should be made without regard to sexual orientation.

Er, that’s clear. What if the two male Marines are in uniform and are holding hands? What if one of them is wearing a dress? Can the executive officer, without fear of official repercussions, deal in the same fashion with two homosexual Marines exactly as he would with two heterosexual Marines or must he anticipate being second-guessed?

[A] lesbian Marine approaches her platoon sergeant and states “she can no longer tolerate her heterosexual roommate.”

The Platoon Sergeant must take a very active and positive leadership approach with a focus on conflict resolution and professional obligations to uphold the policy.

Does this mean that the Platoon Sergeant must counsel that her apparent notion that heterosexuals are intolerable is inconsistent with Marine policy and to put it into her closet footlocker? Interestingly, “Commanders may honor a request not to shower with known gay service members” and apparently need not rebuke the request as non-Marine-like.

Marines may not request discharge on grounds that they don’t want to live or serve with homosexuals, but “same-sex partners of service members do not qualify for medical, housing or travel benefits” and the situations with respect to transgender and transsexual folks are not affected by the change in policy since they remain ineligible for military service.

We also learn that

Marines are expected to obey lawful orders and could be subject to discipline or adverse administrative action if they refuse orders, even if such refusal is based on strong, sincerely held, moral or religious beliefs.

The training will take place in the course of combat operations, apparently because it is of even greater really great importance. Will it be merged with training on rules of engagement?

It’s comforting to learn that, with combat operations in progress in three theaters,  these well considered policies are being implemented so seamlessly. Perhaps a musical production is in order.

(This article was also posted at The PJ Tatler.)


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3 Responses to “Rules of Engagement: Marines Must Kiss Properly”



  1. Tom Carter |

    Well, I guess this was inevitable. There are new standards, and everyone has to be taught what they are and what to do about them. Some of them will seem silly, and they probably are. But as time goes on, I think things will run smoothly. The troops are probably the least confused and uncertain, definitely moreso than their leaders.

    We went through this to an extent as women became more integrated into the force, and that got silly at points, too. I’m sure the same thing happened when the military was fully integrated. In terms of equal opportunity and fair treatment of everyone, the military has long been far ahead of the rest of American society, and I’m sure it will stay that way.


  2. Dan Miller |

    I agree fully that in terms of equal opportunity and fair treatment of everyone, the military has long been far ahead of the rest of American society. . . . Milena ago, when I was stationed (twice) in Korea, I often heard the expression “The Army does not have any black, red, brown, yellow or white members; all are the same color, green.” It wasn’t completely true but was more reflective of the military than of contemporary civilian society in the United States.

    Still, I have concerns that now is not the best time to deal exhaustively with the end of DADT. We are fighting two wars and one “ kinetic military action;” more seem possible or even probable and I doubt that President Obama knows where or when. In these circumstances, it seems that the focus should be on the principal objectives of the military, killing people and breaking things, rather than on other objectives with the hope that they will not unduly impair military effectiveness.


  3. Tom Carter |

    I really like the term “kinetic military action.” The opposite, I suppose, would be “potential military action.” That form of military action isn’t very effective at “killing people and breaking things,” at least not in my experience. But I suppose it must mean something to the folks who run the White House these days because without one you couldn’t have the other.

    And who knows — without DADT, we might find that the Army goes about killing people and breaking things with greater style and better fashion sense.


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