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News for and about Out Military

OutMilitaryNews.com - News for and about Out Military

U.S. Navy Helicopter Crashes in Red Sea

By Shaun Knittel
Out Military News Editor

A U.S. Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crashed in the central Red Sea on Sunday with five military personnel on board, a statement from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said.

The helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6, crashed while operating with the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence.

“The status of the five personnel on board the helicopter is still being determined,” the statement said. “The crash was not due to any sort of hostile activity.”

The incident was under investigation, it added.

U.S. Soldiers In Afghanistan Using Craigslist To Find Sex Partners

By Shaun Knittel
Out Military News Editor

Craigslist, an Internet site which offers want ads, personal ads, rooms for rent and more, has a new customer: Soldiers deployed in Afghanistan who use the service to arrange casual sexual encounters on American military bases.

Affiliates of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) based out of Afghanistan are now monitoring the activity of soldiers on various bases and even employing undercover agents to apprehend those who may be violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

According to the MarineCorps Times, soldiers stationed throughout Afghanistan are using a Craigslist site “presumably left over from the U.S. war in Iraq” to find sexual partners on multiple major bases, including Kandahar Airfield, Bagram, Camp Leatherneck/Bastion, and Forward Operating Bases Ghazni and Salerno. Though some ads specifically state that the poster is looking for a female partner, the majority of users seem to be seeking sex with other men.

Those posting ads in the “Casual Encounters” section of the site are not only troops, but officers as well.

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, soliciting for sex “on community-oriented websites such as Craigslist” is not a punishable offense. However, “posting pornographic images on a public web or social media site is a chargeable offense,” according to Erin Stattel, a press officer for International Security Assistance Force headquarters.

According to The Army Times, The Marine Corps and NCIS have stated that they have taken the necessary steps to ensure military personal are aware of the consequences of utilizing sites such as Craigslist for sexual encounters. “Marines are given training on their behavior online and on social media sites,” said Chris Grey, Director of Public Affairs at Army Criminal Investigation Command. “The key takeaway is that behavior online is the same as behavior on base or off base.”

IN MEMORIAM WWII VETERAN & GAY RIGHTS PIONEER JOSE SARRIA

IN MEMORIAM WWII VETERAN & GAY RIGHTS PIONEER JOSE SARRIA. December 22, 1922 – August 19, 2013. Demonstrating yet again how veterans helped build our movement for equality, among multiple accomplishments, José was the first out gay person to run for public office—EIGHT YEARS before Stonewall. San Francisco’s legendary “Empress” & “Widow Norton,” in addition to founding the International Court System, he was a cofounder of early gay rights groups, the League for Civil Education (1961), the Tavern Guild (1962, the country’s first gay business group, and one of the first to hold political candidate forums and urge them to take positions on gay rights), and the Society for Individual Rights (1963). Going against the passive attitudes of the day, he encouraged anyone arrested to plead Not Guilty and demand a jury trial. “People were living double lives and I didn’t understand it. It was persecution. Why be ashamed of who you are?” At the end of his nightly opera-parody act at San Francisco’s legendary Black Cat bar, he would ask everyone to join hands and sing “God Save Us Nelly Queens” to the tune of “God Save the Queen.” Gay journalist George Mendenhall recalled: “It sounds silly, but if you lived at that time and had the oppression coming down from the police department and from society, there was nowhere to turn … and to be able to put your arms around other gay men and to be able to stand up and sing ‘God Save Us Nelly Queens’ … we were really not saying ‘God Save Us Nelly Queens.’ We were saying ‘We have our rights, too’.” Dona ei pacem. – Thanks to Michael Bedwell, Out Military and www.leonardmatlovich.com for this story.

The weird perk of being made a political football

By Shaun Knittel
Out Military News Editor

In a July 17 op-ed published at advocate.com, Rebecca Holliman claims the Department of Defense is exploiting gay couples — finally.

From the piece:

After the news was released that the Supreme Court officially put the Defense of Marriage Act to rest, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel practically sprinted toward the press to issue a statement of total support for the ruling. He grandly stated in a news release, “The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision” and assured thousands of same-sex military couples that, “The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court’s decision.”

… While we wait and wonder when we will get our benefits, we can only hope that Secretary Hagel will be true to his word and, “The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation — as soon as possible,” because as Secretary Hagel says, “That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.”

Read the full article HERE.

Happy 4th of July

By Shaun Knittel
Out Military News Editor

Out Military News would like to wish you all a very happy Independence Day; July 4th has long been a time of year when LGBQ troops have gone unrecognized. Due to DADT and other bigoted policies and practices before it, the holiday was never something we could claim. Well if you haven’t noticed, times are changing and with that change comes new waves of understanding. It is more important than ever to revisit history and teach our youth, straight allies, and more, all about the heroes who wore the uniform of a military service and just so-happened to be L, G, B, and in some cases T.

Quuerty.com published an impressive list of Independence Day LGBT Veteran Heroes:

Baron Frederick von Steuben

Though Prussian by birth, Von Steuben trained George Washington’s Colonial Army and was invaluable in helping them defeat the better equipped and trained British troops. The Baron arrived in the Colonies in September 1777, with his young aide de camp, Louis de Pontière, and his prized Italian greyhound, Azor. Soon after, he began teaching the essentials of military drills, tactics, disciplines, sanitation (previously soldiers just relieved themselves wherever they felt like) and use of the bayonet.

Continue reading

Gay Soldier and Marriage Equality Advocate Killed In Combat

By Shaun Knittel
Out Military New Editor

The Advocate reports that the parents of Minnesota’s first known openly gay soldier to die in combat (in Iraq or Afghanistan) said campaigning for marriage equality in their home state has helped them deal with the death of their son.

Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt

From Advocate.com:

The Wilfahrts spent Memorial Day reflecting on the death of their son Andrew, a 31-year-old Corporal who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in February 2011. This was the first Memorial Day since Minnesota established legal marriage equality, a right that their son will not be able to enjoy.

“We were talking about the other kids in the family getting married and he said, ‘I’ll never be able to get married,’” his mother Lori Wilfhart said to KARE News. “So that was 10 years ago. And today, he could.”

The Wilfharts campaigned on Andrew’s behalf to legalize marriage equality in Minnesota, which was approved earlier this month, and will go into effect August 1.

“If his taxes were good enough, if his blood was good enough, were his rights good enough and I think that’s a question that has now been answered,” Jeff Wilfahrt said.

Portraits of Service Members Before, During, and After War

By Shaun Knittel
Out Military News Editor

The U.S. led War on Terror is over a decade long. For more than 10 years now, the U.S. military and its allies have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the Iraq War is officially over, the War on Terror continues. Deploying with the troops since day one are journalists and photographers that have documented the triumphs and tragedies of war in the likes which the world has never seen. They have literally captured everything.

But what is often lost in the photographs and reports of this war, is the soldiers themselves. What happens to these young men and women over the course of their tour(s)? How do they change? Do they change at all?

In an effort to try to document the impact serving in Afghanistan has on a person, two photographers, Claire Felicie and Lalage Snow released portraits of British soldiers before, during, and after their deployment in Afghanistan. Each photo project is alike in some ways, but hauntingly different in others. Regardless of ones liking of B&W over color photography, both projects are stunning and evoke emotion. Take a look: Continue reading