Archive for the ‘Gay Liberation’ Category

The way it was: Telling on the Army

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

Out about the military

[A few years ago, when Bill Clinton was president and don’t-ask-don’t-tell was first being debated, I wrote an article for a proposed book of writings by lesbian and gay veterans on our experiences in the military. The book was never finished. But now the 50th anniversary of the April, 1965, uprising in the Dominican Republic and the subsequent U.S. invasion is approaching and since my own participation in that invasion was central to my experience of the army and to the article I wrote, I am posting the article here. It is, of course, dated by now but I believe it is still relevant.]

by David Holmes Morris

Life was really pretty easy by the time I got settled at Ft. Devens in the spring of 1964. I hadn’t expected it to be. Basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, (Fort Lost-in-the-Woods to us) was as miserable as basic training is cracked up to be, especially for those like me who weren’t physically fit enough to run miles in combat boots or competent enough with rifles to hit targets. We were the weaklings (the others had a different word for us) and the objects of abuse for the lifers who ran the place.

Some miracle got most of us through, though, or, in my case at least, some quota and the recognition that electronic spying called for different abilities than physical combat did. Once through basic, those of us destined for the Army Security Agency were sent to Ft. Devens, a few miles west of Boston, for specialized training.

At Devens we were schooled in the arts of intercepting radio communications and tapping telephones. There were other lessons for me, though. Even before I made my first trip to Boston I happened on a certain men’s room at a certain PX not far from my barracks that other GIs had long since found uses for besides those the Army intended. (more…)