Veterans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills
“Policies Concerning Homosexuals” have changed since I was an Army defense lawyer in the closing years of the Vietnam War. “Being boarded out” was a large part of my defense work.
I’d be interested to know how attitudes stand up to today versus how it was during that war. In 2010 homosexuality became totally legal in the US military, but I wonder if anything has changed.
For one, it never seemed to matter except in combat units and in barracks situations, such as basic training, where troops slept and showered together. I knew a few military who had strong moral opinions, wives more than their husbands, and a few Army Reg’s-sticklers, you know, like Maj O’Houlihan of MASH, but even she had to endure Corporal Klinger all those years….which reminds me, we could still poke fun in those days. We can’t now.
Except in those two areas, it was de facto “don’t ask don’t tell” twenty years before Bill Clinton ever made it official policy. If people took it off post, no one bothered.
Still, we had two gay-dragnets in my three years in Japan. No one could ever tell me whose idea it was. I had friends in the CG’s office, and it didn’t come from him. Most believe it came through CID channels, perhaps through Pacific Command in Hawaii.
I learned it was a standard cop-tactic to roust gays for a couple of months, then street-corner dime-bag dealers another few months, then start the rotation all over again.
I think they got idea from the old Dragnet TV series in the 50s. According to one CW3, the theory was, it kept the cops from falling into a rut, since in most military commands, US or overseas, there wasn’t a lot of real crime going on, at least not like Brooklyn.
Anyway, the order comes down to our CID. They had an LTC in command, and he later came to hate me because I busted up their attempt to bust up the Class 6 (Liquor) Store racket, where soldiers would buy top brand scotch, bourbon and brandy at bargain basement prices, then re-sell to bar owners off-post at ten times the pice, who wou;ld then resell to customers at $20 a shot. I represented two-three of those kids, and called them in gave a little seminar. “Look, this is illegal. All the bars want are the bottles and labels, so they can fill with Japanese rot gut. Their customers would never know. Instead of taking risks, just go around and start collecting empties, and then sell them. Then you’re not breaking the law.”
That shut that CID business line down and their boss hated me for it, for turning little bootleggers into choir boys.
Those were the types of crime waves we had. One attempted murder, Sgt Dan, who beat the rap because he stole a Silver Star, a stolen bicycle, not a lot there for our CID office. The Mayberry Sheriff’s Office was busier. At least the MP detachment, made up of ex-college football players, were off playing football half the year.
So in 1973 CID sent me the first wave of ;lesbians, seven WAC’s they’d nabbed for being gay with about 30 other WAC’s.
But wait, aren’t they all equally gay, and equally guilty? Well apparently not, and you’ll understand why when I tell you.
In our command we didn’t have any lower ranking female clerk-typists personnel working HQ offices. All that was taken by Japanese nationals (you’ve met Mrs Ogawa) or DAC employees, such as Mrs Minami. There were no female Spec4 clerk-typist MOS slots. There were several E4-E5 specialists filling other MOS slots handled my males in those days, and, if unmarried, they lived in an apartment complex on the other side of the post.
For all anyone knows, they were in there doing carnal push-ups every night, only no one every got wind of it, so no one cared.
The object of these dragnets were aimed at all the young (and pretty) “dyke bait” as the CID called them, about 150, who were found in one spot, the top-secret STRATCOM (Strategic Communications Command) on the first floor of our Headquarters[…]