Navy Enlistee Defends Gay ‘Comrades’ In Heartfelt Letter

Flagsalute With all the political drama surrounding Don't Ask, Don't Tell, like debate over why John McCain's being such a stick in the mud, or whether Scott Brown will actually vote for repeal, it's easy to forget about the soldiers' various takes, some of which can be quite touching.

For instance, today's edition of The Navy Times includes a letter from a soldier who supports repeal and objects to a colleague's insistence that DADT remain in place.

Writes MA2 Clinton Miller, based in Guam, in his patriotic and earnest missive:

[Gay service members] are people, people who choose like all other members of our military to put their country before themselves. You say they knew what they were asking for when they enlisted or got commissioned: How would you feel if the military said that you could not date, get married or have children because your decision to perform your military service outweighs having any kind of a personal life? That’s what the military is telling our homosexual comrades right now.

I call them “comrades” because that is what they are — whether gay, straight or bisexual. They have chosen to better themselves through their service, and we are denying them their basic rights because of whom they choose to love. Who cares, and what does it matter?

Sure, Miller's use of "choose to love" may not be the most up-to-date, but, as we've heard so many times, it's the thought that counts. With the soldiers being broken down into statistics and poll numbers, it's refreshing to hear what the men and the women on the ground have to say on the matter. And, in this case, Miller's speaking from the heart, something often lost in the brutish realities of both war and politics.


  1. Andrew Belonsky says

    I was under the impression that MA2 stood for master-at-arms petty officer. just shortened in headline, sorry if misleading, but don’t think it’s an “embellishment.”

  2. Bucky says

    Great letter. The “chose to love” comment didn’t bother me at all, as I think loving someone else is a choice. He didn’t say that being gay was a choice — in fact he seemed to treat it as just a given.

    All those idiots like McCain seriously underestimate the maturity of our troops.

  3. HadenoughBS says

    I appreciate all the positive support we can garner for repealing this heinous homophobic law. Thanks MA2 Clinton Miller for your willingness to state your view and sign your name in a military publication.

  4. Ben says

    Hi Andrew,

    Perhaps I can answer this without being a complete douche like Tank. (Par for the course).

    MA2 is indeed a Master at Arms 2nd Class Petty Officer, but a petty officer is enlisted, not an officer. He’d probably be fairly insulted if you referred to him as an officer, really.

  5. says

    “Choose” is actually a very appropriate word in this context, because gay people in the military literally must choose between keeping their job and loving openly. And his thoughts couldn’t be clearer. Bravo to MA2 Clinton Miller (regardless of where he is in the chain of command).

  6. Tim says

    Seems sad to me that governments tell us all that we go to war to fight for the rights of people that are being persecuted in so many forms, yet, the people that are there doing the fighting on behalf of this government are subject to persecution (and prosecution)themselves for being who they are.

  7. nic says

    “choose” is apt. we do not choose our sexuality, but we certainly choose whom to love.

    as an afterthought: gawd, how i hate mccain. funny that he finds a lack of leadership in secy of def Gates and chief of the joint chiefs of staff admiral mullen. mccain quit being any sort of leader when he let the rove/bush machine gang rape him and his family in the 2000 primary campaign. then, later, the sniveling craven came back hat in hand asking, “please, sir, can i have some more?”

    does anyone still respect his dessicated carcass? it takes a profoundly stupid, opportunistic, and perhaps senile, old man to piss and shit all over his legacy.

  8. Matt S. says

    Not to start a whole thing, but I don’t think we choose to love or whom to love. I just see someone and get to know him and, bam, I fall in love. That’s an important point to me because I don’t choose if that person is a man or woman, if the person is blond or brunette, a great guy or a jerk, frankly. Love chooses you.

    That said, I had no problem with the MA2’s words either. I know he meant well, and frankly, even if people DID choose, it shouldn’t matter in the military as long as you don’t harass your unit-mates.

  9. Randy says

    If your rank has the word “officer” in it, you’re an officer, just like a police officer is an officer. That’s obvious.

    The US Navy considers Petty Officers (E-4, E-5, E-6) to be Junior Non-Commissioned Officers. Chief Petty Officers and higher enlisted ranks (E-7, E-8, E-9) are Senior Non-Commissioned Officers. It’s hardly our fault if the Navy itself uses the term “officer”. But they do.

    Usually “officer” refers to commissioned officers, but it is valid for non-commissioned officer ranks as well, at the very least on a civilian blog.

    Bottom line: name something “officer” and you lose the right to complain when people call it “officer”.

  10. Tank says

    @Randy, you are a moron. A petty officer is not an officer, sorry. That is like saying a corporal is an “officer.” Both are NCOs, which are distinct from officers.

    Nearly all officers have college degrees, most have gone through four years of officer training, and all hold a commission from the president of the united states. A petty officer is an enlisted man or woman who does not hold a commission and generally holds much less responsibility (at least until they become Chiefs or so).

    In my years in the military, I have never heard of Petty Officers referred to as “officers.” That is simply wrong, whether you are a civilian or otherwise.

    In conclusion, please STFU unless you know what you are talking about.

  11. nic says

    so are you saying that ‘petty officer’ is a contradiction in terms? for someone who purports to be uber-masculine, uber-smasrt, uber-attractive…. you reveal yourself to be much less than a ‘mensch.’ go away little jew boy until you become a man. as of now, you are an unmensch.

    go ahead, accuse me of being anti-semitic. the truth is that i love jewish people. i just disdain you.

  12. TANK says

    You have your tanks mixed–he’s the less awesomer one. You suck, antisemite. Now go gross out more posters with your poo fetish and sloppy old man on younger pawing.

  13. nic says


    thanks. you reassured me that i have the right one. gawd, you are pathetic.

    your user name ‘tank’ presupposes that there is a there there. but really, there is nothing substantive about you. there is something quite perverse about your need to attack others for ailments, illnesses, disabilities, age, ad infinitum, as if the bell will never toll for thee. the bell has already rung for you, child. you were just too busy blustering and casting aspersions to hear it.

    you make me sick. why should i dirty my hands with you?