By all accounts, former Air Force Major Margaret Witt was both an excellent officer, and a highly competent flight nurse, who helped keep hundreds of wounded American soldiers alive as they were evacuated from combat zones in Afghanistan and the Middle East. During her career, Major Witt received highly complimentary efficiency reports and reviews for her dedication and abilities in her critical job.

But, less than a year before she would have been eligible to retire with her full pension, Major Witt was discharged from the Air Force in 2004, after a civilian wrote a letter to her superiors about her sexuality. Margaret Witt is a lesbian.

Nobody alleges that Major Witt’s sexual orientation had a negative impact on her abilities to do her job, or that it interfered with her unit’s mission in any way. Her former colleagues testified on her behalf at her court martial, to show their support for Major Witt, and for the excellent way she performed her duties. But none of it mattered. At a time when our country was at war, and when our wounded servicemen and women needed and deserved the best care they could get, the Air Force threw out an excellent officer and nurse, based upon some archaic and hypocritical rule that didn’t have a damn thing to do with the way she did her job.

The military’s position was that since Major Witt had a long term affair with a civilian woman, has had shorter relationships with two other women in the military, and that she is now in a long term relationship with a woman who was married when they began seeing each other and is now divorced, Major Witt showed poor judgment, and her actions reflected badly upon the Air Force. Not that her activities had in any way impacted her ability to do her job, or threatened national security. Basically, she was punished because she slept around a bit.

Give me a break! When I was in the Army, I served with gays, wife swappers, hound dogs who would hump anything in a skirt, and everything else you could have imagined. It was none of my business. All I cared about was that they did their job.

I spent the last couple of years of my military time stationed at West Point, the bastion of military propriety. It was a little Peyton Place! There were some officers, NCOs, and enlisted men and women who jumped from bed to bed faster than fleas in a flophouse. For part of that time, I lived in officers quarters on Stewart Air Force Base, which was being deactivated and had a surplus of housing. It was interesting to watch who snuck out of whose doors early on any given weekend morning.

And that wasn’t unique to that particular place or time. It’s a dirty little secret that on any military base, there is a lot of sexual hanky panky going on, just as it was in my time in uniform, and probably back as far as when the Romans conquered the world around them. And just as it does in every suburban neighborhood and in any big city.

I’ve said before that one of the bravest, most dependable men I ever served with was a sergeant who used to joke that he should have been born a WAC. He didn’t hide the fact that he was gay, and nobody cared. I can’t think of any man, alive or dead, whom I would have rather had covering my back when the bullets were flying.

Why is Margaret Witt’s sexual history anybody’s business if it doesn’t affect her work? We have had presidents, congressmen, and senators acting like horny college frat boys and girls throughout our history, and we don’t boot them out, even though most of them do a terrible job!

It’s way past time that we finally accept the fact that sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s ability to be a good soldier, a good neighbor, and a good citizen. People are people. Some like boys and some like girls. Some are uptight and homophobic, and some are tolerant. And, unfortunately, some have the power to ruin another person’s life and career, just because they don’t fit into the tiny little pigeonhole that they think they should.

Gay soldiers, just like all gay people, are not perverts, child molesters, or out to convert you to their lifestyle. They just want to be free to live their lives, love who they want to, and to serve their country.   

Who cares if Margaret Witt is gay or straight? I can tell you one thing – those kids laying on the stretchers that she helped keep alive didn’t give a damn about her sexual habits. To them she was an angel!

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26 Comments on Let Them Serve!

  1. Elaine says:

    Right on Nick. It is no ones business what a person sexual preference is as long as they do the job the way they are suppose to do. My last two supervisors at the hospital were Lesbians and they did a great job. We all knew but no one gave it a second thought,

  2. Ed Hackenbruch says:

    Amen!

  3. “It’s way past time that we finally accept the fact that sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s ability to be a good soldier, a good neighbor, and a good citizen.”

    This should be on billboards everywhere! Well said!

  4. MichaelG says:

    I completely agree, but the troublemaker in me is brought out by your pious tone:

    Do what you like to the guys, but as everyone who watches porn knows, lesbians are a national treasure… :-)

  5. Tom in Ohio says:

    You just keep earning those “ATTA BOY” my friend. Keep this up and someone is going to write in your name for public office. HEY! Miss Terry would make a great first lady don’tcha think?

  6. Joyce Space says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I get sick to my stomach when I see how gays and lesbians are often treated by others.

  7. Donna Huffer says:

    God created all of us they way he wanted to. Including gays.

  8. Linda says:

    Just another example of our country’s hypocracy & idiocy. And I’ll bet the civilian who wrote the letter was someone from a previous relationship who knew Margaret would be booted out of the military and lose her pension. Revenge and all that s**t you know. Can I write you in for the next presidential election?

  9. Dave B. says:

    The punishment should fit the crime. There was no crime so there shouldn’t have been any punishment. The narrow minded bosses gave her the harshest punishment. She lost her career. What a shame. Like they say, “common sense isn’t so common any more”. And, welcome back to the blog, Michael G. It’s fun to see your side of the issues.

  10. Deb says:

    Hi Nick,
    You know where I stand, having “Served in Silence.” Michael G., crawl back into your hole with your dehumanizing porn.

  11. Joe says:

    If she was discharged form the service there was something that effected her job, other wise she would still be there.
    A gay lifestyle is not natural.
    Why do we have men and women restrooms? Maybe we should have men, women, gay men and gay women restrooms?
    Some things should not change.

  12. Dale says:

    To Deb:

    You should show all people respect and Michael G. is entitled to his just as you are entitled to yours.

    To Joe:

    Such narrow mindedness is what led to the dismissal of Margaret Witt.

    It is not the role of our government to tell people how they may behave in the privacy of their homes.

  13. Earl Warne says:

    AMEN AMEN

  14. Kathe says:

    Wow…national treasure….never been called that before…Good sense will eventually prevail about this topic and then the ‘phobes will have to find a new cause celebre.

  15. Roger says:

    Over 13,000 men and women having been discriminated against and discharged due to homophobia on the part of some conservatives. The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy has been ruled un-Constitutional because there is no defense that can justify this policy.
    As a nation we have wasted over $500 Million in training and discharge costs because of this policy.
    Joe do you support this waste?

    One has to wonder how discharging people, many who have been decorated for their service, AFTER they have honorably served in combat is proof that they were somehow “unfit”.

    How do we justify discharging the people with skills most in need such as being fluent in Arabic, Pashto or Urdu and other languages of the Mid-East?

    There is some hope for a better outcome. I wonder what will happen when some of those who have been improperly and now we know illegally discharged, bring lawsuits for re-instatement of their civil rights and their military rank.

  16. Allan says:

    I disagree with you on this one Nick. I think we will be opening a can of worms. I can’t see how any good can come out of this. The military needs to set their own standards as they see best for a good functioning fighting force. When politicans are allowed to run the armed forces things usually go haywire.

  17. Kenneth says:

    Think about who you vote for.
    Far Right, Tea Party or stupid Left.
    They decide who is OK or an aberration.
    I depend on those who are dependable not those who spout the “normal” line of reason.
    Nick, you will kicked out of the right wing if you keep this up.

  18. Gary Baker says:

    Bad Nick wrote “I can tell you one thing – those kids laying on the stretchers that she helped keep alive didn’t give a damn about her sexual habits. To them she was an angel!”

    How can you sit safe and sound at your desk and know what a young wounded soldier thinks about having a homo nurse taking care of them? What gives you the right to speak for them? Personally, I’d rather bleed out than let some pervert touch me and I don’t care if it is a man or a woman pervert! Read your Bible. God HATES homosexuals!

  19. Ray Hodges says:

    Gary, Nick knows because he was a young soldier laying on a stretcher bleeding out once upon a time! How about you, big mouth? If you haven’t been there, shut up!

    Maybe your God hates, but my God is about love!

  20. concerned in texas says:

    Gary Baker:

    Me thinks thou dost protest too much

  21. Richard Treynor says:

    Gary I’m sure having you here on earth to speak for him makes God’s job much easier

  22. Deb says:

    Allan: the Commander-In-Chief IS a politician. Gary Baker: God does not hate, people hate. Be sure to ask if your caregiver is gay if you’re ever in a car wreck or have a life-threatening illness or are choking to death in some restaurant. Dale: Michael G will never get my respect.

  23. Gina Ellis says:

    Well, well, well. Once more the homophobes and their narrow minded religious beliefs have managed to enact law that reflects their views…as it has ever been. An acquaintance once advised me that she wished we had a “national religion”. I asked her “which religion”. She responded, “Why Christian, of course.” I asked, “Which Christian religion? Baptist? Catholic? Mormon? Methodist? Which?” Knowing which religion she was, I asked her if one of the others would be okay. I also reminded her of some of their beliefs that she (I knew) did not subscribe to. She really got upset. She had never considered that just perhaps her particular brand might not be “the one”. And that, my friends, is why we need to keep religion and all of it’s associated problems out of our government…including the military and their dark ages attitudes that are sooooo unfair. And BTW, Gary, when you’ve been bleeding on a stretcher and turned down treatment because the care giver is of a different mind-set or sexual orientation or religion than you…THEN you may voice your opinion. Until then you’re just another uneducated, ignorant fundamentalist parroting your particular brand of hate. To you, I say, God bless you, cause, kiddo, you’re gonna need it one of these days.

  24. Isn’t it great that we know God hates? Aren’t we lucky that God teaches his followers to hate?
    Gary Baker, I wish I did not have to share this earth with you. Best if you take your God and leave.

    I am a proud dyke, have always been and will always be.

  25. Oh, BTW, I don’t hate anybody, but am looking at that Gary fellow wondering why not.

  26. Kevin says:

    Come on folks. Haven’t you figured it out yet? Gary and MichaelG are really Nick pulling your collective chains.

    Laugh at them as they laugh at you when you fall for their BS.

    As for orientation – It’s a non-topic unless I am interested in someone or they are interested in me. Otherwise, who cares?

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