In Marine recruit training, each day is numbered according to the different phases of recruit training. We have three training battalions, each with four training companies, for a total of twelve companies. Each company consists of two series, which themselves consist of three or four platoons. A different company picks up every week. Recruits begin arriving on Monday (P-1, P is for ‘Pick-Up’) each week. They continue arriving through Thursday (P-4) and are “picked up” by their training company on Friday (F-1, F is for ‘Forming’). They have four days of Forming, where they are taught the basic rules of how to speak, how to make their racks (beds), customs and courtesies, have their records reviewed, conduct medical and dental screening, and basically everything they need to know about living in their squad bays (large rooms with bunk beds which house platoons of 30 to 90 recruits).
I’m afraid I don’t even know where to begin tonight, so I’ll just dig in. I just finished watching a video of Senator John McCain after the vote today where he insisted over and over again that it is not the military’s policy to seek out the sexual orientation of military members. All I can say is that he’s right: it isn’t the policy. But the policy isn’t enforced.
The good senator says he has sons in the military and that he’s seen it in action. I don’t know what he has seen. But he certainly hasn’t seen what I have, or else he wouldn’t make these statements. The policy is typically referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but there’s a third part: “Don’t Pursue”. Officially, commands don’t pursue. They don’t conduct random searches of people to determine their sexuality. But they do act on suspicion.
I went to the online inbox site that the DoD set up to take responses and feedback from servicemembers and their families on DADT repeal. What follows is my submission.