In the final days of the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama trumpeted that his election would mark the beginning of the “fundamental transformation” of America. Hardly anyone would dispute that, as president, Obama has certainly made a concerted effort to change the country, and he has used his constitutional role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces to meet this goal.
Now, the Navy and the Marines are to undergo training to better deal with the recruitment and service of individuals who are in transition — transgender personnel.
“This training will emphasize policies and expectations of personal behavior,” said Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Robert Burke, in a message published this week. On November 1, mobile training teams will deliver face-to-face briefs to senior leaders, including commanding officers, executive officers, command master chiefs, and chiefs of boat, on upcoming training to “educate” all troops on policies to pave the way for transgender uniformed personnel to serve openly in the Navy and the Marine Corps.
Lt. Jessica Anderson, speaking for the Naval Personnel Command, said that a commander’s tool kit is being developed to guide the training.
“Service members are expected to maintain standards of conduct and treat each other with dignity and respect,” Anderson explained. “Training for sailors will be conducted by command triads via mobile training teams or DVD with a facilitation guide if the unit is in a remote area and unable to receive face-to-face training. There will be webinars for COs [commanding officers] to ask questions prior to delivering training to their commands.”
All sailors are to have completed a “training” session on the new Navy policies by July 1, 2017. “Discussion” guides will be mailed to each unit, along with copies of the commander’s tool kit and a Defense Department guide being created to explain policy.
One can guess that very little “discussion” will be tolerated which offers any disagreement with the wisdom of this new policy. The military has never been noted for seeking the opinion of the average sailor and soldier when announcing a new policy, especially when it is a policy change sought by the commander-in-chief in the White House.
It is quite clear that the discussion will be limited to ways to follow these particular orders.
And what are these orders?
The military is developing rules under which sailors and soldiers can alter their “gender marker,” and laying out the ways that sailors or soldiers can undergo medical gender transitions while in uniform. In other words, if a man were to decide that he is now a woman, or a woman claim that she is now a man, the Navy and the Marines need a system in place for how and when those medical procedures to make that happen can be carried out.
In the meantime, officers are to be aware of any sailor or soldier being singled out for mistreatment because that person is a transgender individual. “We do not tolerate harassment of any kind,” Anderson warned. “Treating all service members with dignity and respect is something we take extremely seriously, and when there are any indications that those values are not being followed, we will conduct appropriate investigations and take action as necessary.”
One question that might be asked is how are military chaplains supposed to react to this policy change? Is a chaplain supposed to suspend his own interpretations of Scripture and church doctrine and openly endorse this change, or will he even be allowed to enunciate his sincerely held religious beliefs from the pulpit or in counseling sessions?
Certainly no military officer is going to dare offer a contrary view of the policy desired by the commander-in-chief in his rush to “fundamentally transform America" before his term ends on January 20 of next year.
Ray Mabus, Obama's secretary of the Navy, declared, “The gender identity of an otherwise qualified individual will not bar them from joining the Navy or Marine Corps, from admission to the United States Naval Academy, or from participating in Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps or any other accession program."
Medical personnel in the armed forces will be required to provide sailors and Marines with “medically necessary” care related to gender transition, and those in transition will be treated like any other service member in need of medical treatment.
“A sailor or Marine whose ability to serve is adversely affected by a medical condition or medical treatment related to their gender identity should be treated in a manner consistent with a member whose ability to serve is similarly affected for reasons unrelated to gender identity or gender transition,” Mabus added in his signed message.
This use of the United States Navy to advance the goal of President Obama to "fundamentally transform America" is not stopping at the admission of transgender individuals in the military. In yet another challenge to traditional values, Mabus has informed Congress that he is now naming a ship after former San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.
Milk served in the Navy during the Korean War as a diving officer, but obviously the Navy is not going to name a ship after some obscure officer from a war that ended more than 60 years ago. Milk’s claim to fame, at least in the eyes of Secretary Mabus, is that he was the first openly homosexual person to be elected to public office in California. Then, in 1978, Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by a fired city worker. While the assassination had nothing to do with Milk’s sexual orientation, he has been viewed as a martyr in the “gay community” since that time.
The Milk ship is to be one of a new class of oil tankers, all of which Mabus intends to name after those he considers civil rights leaders. One tanker has already been named for John Lewis, a member of Congress form Georgia, who first came to national attention for his involvement in the civil rights movement. Others for whom tanker ships will be named include abolitionist Sojourner Truth, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and women’s rights activist Lucy Stone.
Since 1994, the status of homosexuals in the military has changed dramatically. Before Bill Clinton was president, it was illegal for practicing homosexuals to even serve in the U.S. military. Then, Clinton modified that policy with his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Under that policy, military recruiters and personnel were not allowed to ask a sailor or soldier his sexual orientation, but the sailor or soldier was also expected to keep such information to himself. Now, under President Obama, a person can openly announce such an orientation, and can even declare that he or she is transitioning to the opposite sex.
In his famed address to Congress in April, 1951, General Douglas MacArthur declared, “In war, there is no substitute for victory.” One wonders how all these policy changes and “training sessions” will move us to a military force more likely to achieve that result.
Photo shows USS Theodore Roosevelt commanding officer Capt. Craig Clapperton speaking about importance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) celebration: U.S. Navy photo