Bring It On!

Darren Manzella is discharged…

June 27th, 2008 | by Dusty |

H/Tto Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report for this update.

If your not familiar with his name or the issue, let me give you the history of this wonderful man. In December Army Sgt. Darren Manzella was interviewed on 60 Minutes by Leslie Stahl. He is a gay man and he has been openly gay throughout his military service. He is a medic in Baghdad, or was…past tense is now in order. But I digress…

Sgt. Manzella  has earned combat medals for his work under fire people.. for his service to America. He started getting threatening emails about his ‘gay-ness’. He felt he had no choice but to inform his commanding officer. From the 60-Minutes transcript:

He went for help to his commanding officer, and in the process, told him - as in don’t ask don’t tell - that he was gay. The officer in turn told Manzella he’d have to report him.

“He did report me, yes,” Manzella says. “I had to go see my battalion commander, who read me my rights.”

“So, what you did, in effect, by telling him, was trigger the investigation you feared was underway?” Stahl asks.

Amazingly nothing happened. He submitted physical evidence which included him kissing his boyfriend to the commanding officer. From the 60-Minutes transcript again:

Manzella didn’t hold anything back in the investigation, submitting photos of himself and A.J., and a video of a road trip, including passionate kissing. But when the investigation ended, Manzella says he was told to go back to work. “There was no evidence of homosexuality and go back to work,” he says.(emphasis mine)

Darren is in a critical job, the Army couldn’t afford to lose him. So they did nothing about his openly gay status until the 60-Minutes story went global. They then saw no choice but to discharge him. This travesty makes me physically ill. It makes me sick to my stomach people. Steve Benen’s take on this is my pov as well:

John McCain recently said gay people in the military represent an “intolerable risk” to unit morale, cohesion, and discipline.

I’m curious. Which poses the great risk, Manzella being deployed and serving honorably, or Manzella not being deployed? Which is better for the troops? Which does more to help those in uniform? Which leaves the military stronger, and which leaves it weaker?

McCain’s sorry ass better not get to sit in that Oval Office chair..not on my watch damn it. Darren Manzella is a good man, an asset to our military both in and out of war. He is a wonderful human being my dear reader.

Yet the bigots and the bastards can’t get past his being a gay man. A label that means nothing in the big picture of life. A label that can ruin a life and/or a career when the bigots and the bastards find out about your sexual orientation.

They all make me sick and tired of the bullshittery. This has to stop. This has to stop..this has to fucking stop!

Crossposted at Sirens Chronicles.

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  1. 6 Responses to “Darren Manzella is discharged…”

  2. By Craig R. Harmon on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Darren is in a critical job, the Army couldn’t afford to lose him…This has to stop.

    I agree.

  3. By Dusty on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Its not just his job Craig. He is a good human being. He is an asset to our nation as well as to our military. In a time when we allow felons to enlist, how can discharging this man be seen as a plus?

  4. By Craig R. Harmon on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    In a time when we allow felons to enlist, how can discharging this man be seen as a plus?

    I don’t think it can be.

  5. By Dusty on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks Craig, I appreciate your pov on this.

  6. By Craig R. Harmon on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    You’re welcome, Dusty. :-)

  7. By Liberal Jarhead on Jun 28, 2008 | Reply

    Asinine, hypocritical, and ultimately disloyal to the interests of the country, the military as a whole, and the wounded people who won’t get treated as quickly or as well because a talented medic is not there. And yet they continue to look the other way and don’t discharge service members who are gang members and white supremacists.

    It’s always been a variable thing. When I was on active duty I knew several openly gay or lesbian Marines and soldiers - their sexual identities were tacitly known by just about everyone in those units, and very few people worried about it. It didn’t cause any problems in the morale or discipline in those units.

    First unit I was in was a rifle company, in the weapons platoon - I was a mortarman, and one of my friends was one of the machine gunners - everyone knew he was gay, but no one cared because he was a good guy and a good Marine and you could count on him. If anyone from outside the platoon tried to mess with him, they had to deal with the whole platoon. He was a brother.
    In the last job in my career as the officer in charge of a data/comm support unit, my senior staff NCO, a Marine master gunnery sergeant, the techie equivalent of a sergeant major, was flaming. But he was a good leader, ran a tight shop and took care of the troops, and they all appreciated and respected him the same as any other good leader.

    Similarly, a couple of female officers I served with who were openly pretty butch were a couple of the best comrades in arms I ever had, period, people I would have trusted at my back in any situation. Smart, tough, funny.

    And when I did see that stupid and evil policy applied, it led to my best sergeant getting kicked out. A major loss to the unit, as well as the impact on his life. The guy was a poster Marine - sharp looking, highly proficient, could run any other Marine in the section into the ground physically, a charismatic leader - and out he went. What was the result for the Marine Corps? Well, the quality of service for the computer network on that base went down somewhat; I saw no benefit. I refused an order to write him a bad eval on his separation; they knew it was an illegal order. I found out later that someone had gone in behind my back and altered the eval I wrote to make it negative. If I’d been able to find out who, I’d have done my best to get them court-martialed.

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