Military Service Issue – Sixty Years Ago This Month

Timothy Kincaid

July 23rd, 2008

Today’s debates over “forced cohabitation” are not without historical comparisons.

On 26 July 1948, President Harry S Truman signed Executive Order 9981, establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. It was accompanied by Executive Order 9980, which created a Fair Employment Board to eliminate racial discrimination in federal employment.

The comparison was not lost on one witness today (CNN)

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Vance Coleman, a black man who joined the Army when it was segregated, testified that the current treatment of gays and lesbians is similar to how African-Americans were treated before President Truman integrated the military in 1948.

“I know what it is like to be thought of as a second-class citizen, and I know what it is like to have your hard work dismissed because of what you are or what you look like,” Coleman said.

Earlier this year the House of Representatives honored the order ending segregation

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress to honorably and respectfully recognize the historic significance and to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of President Truman’s Executive Order 9981 signed on July 26, 1948 that declared it to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin thereby beginning the process of ending segregation in the United States Armed Forces.

Today former Secretary of State Colin Powell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and others celebrated the 60th anniversary of the integration of U.S. Armed Forces in the Capitol Rotunda.

Regan DuCasse

July 23rd, 2008

Could it be called forced co habitation if the military service is ALL volunteer?

The draft was a service forced on all those eligible. The integration of the services was a military culture, finally NOT conceding to the prejudice that black men were not brave, willing or responsible enough to serve effectively at all.
With an all volunteer military, recruits need not sign up knowing there will be openly gay service people. DADT is less an option BECAUSE ordinary curiosity and distrust of who is what gets the better of some people.

Nope, openness and honesty serves the voluntary situation best and no military should allow conceding to prejudice in the first place.
Isn’t that what basic discipline is all about?

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