Reduce costs, bolster morale and improve combat readiness

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I for one strongly applaud President Trump’s decision to ban transgenders from serving in the military. This decision will reduce costs, enhance military readiness and improve force morale and esprit de corps.

The primary reason transgenders seek to enlist in the military is for the free medical care to include sex change (reassignment) surgery and the attendant mental counseling and monthly hormonal therapy. According to the Pentagon’s and other independent studies, a sex change (reassignment) surgery for one individual will cost about $50,000. That does not include the monthly cost of $1,200 for hormonal therapy and the costs for needed mental counseling. In addition the patient will need about 280 days to fully recover from surgery and will be unavailable for duty to include combat deployment and someone will be required to replace that individual. It certainly can be assumed that transgenders will want other surgeries so they can enhance their transition to a new sexual orientation. The Pentagon has estimated it will require about $1.5 billion over a 10-year span to provide sex change surgeries for transgender military members.

The number of transgenders seeking to enlist in the military has increased dramatically as a result of the Bradley (Chelsea) Manning case. The press seemed to minimize the fact that Manning passed to Wikileaks hundreds of classified documents and highly publicized that he wished to become a woman. The pressure was applied to the Army to accept this transgender and to also approve and pay for sex-change surgery. Even though Manning was convicted of a major crime and given a long prison sentence (which was commuted by President Obama) he will still be entitled to medical care to include sex-change surgery while awaiting appellate review of his case.

Why should we the taxpayers pay for sex change surgeries and other therapies for transgenders? Why are they so special? The military certainly would not pay for elective cosmetic surgery for heterosexual service members. I can safely predict that we will never see the day when we entice more women into the military by offering free “boob jobs.”

Put yourself in the place of a young “straight” male or female military member and they assign you a transgender or openly gay roommate. Not only would this be personally embarrassing to you, but you would have to be subjected to the crude comments and jokes from other members of your unit. Again suppose that you as a straight had a transgender come on to you in front of your buddies. I would assume you would respond with not a very nice verbal comment and hopefully not with a physical confrontation.

No one has ever asked the individual military member if he or she has any reservations about serving with transgenders or openly “gay” personnel. The politicians forced these policies on the military whose leadership forced it on their subordinates without so much as a strong objection.

When deployed to combat areas, military members are together 24 hours a day for weeks on end. They are under constant mental and physical stress. The last thing they need is to have to deal with the problems caused by openly “gay” or transgenders. No straight would want to spend the night in a foxhole with an openly “gay” or transgender because they would have to endure the comments and ribbing by other members of their unit. This social engineering has had a devastating impact on the combat readiness of the military. It goes beyond transgenders and openly gay and also includes women being assigned to Infantry or armor units. This is lunacy of the highest order. The inclusion of women, openly gay and transgenders in combat units is not only a distraction but also an impediment to mission accomplishment. I speak from having had the majority of my 30 years of service in infantry units to include tours in Korea and Vietnam. In addition I have served in positions from buck private to bird colonel and am well versed in infantry unit functions and operations.

What they are trying to do is to fulfill the aggrandizement of a few to the detriment of the many. We should never permit special privileges, concessions or double standards to be used in the military. Every service member should be subjected to the same standards and criteria and should not be given privileges based on gender or sexual orientation. Violations of this policy cause severe force morale problems. A recent double standard violation occurred when in order to get female “Rangers,” women were allowed to be retested following a failure while men were not. The physical training standard for women going to airborne jump school is different than that for men. They recently commissioned women as infantry leaders as it is fairly easy to get by under simulated combat conditions but under the real thing it’s a lot different. A good infantry leader would never ask a subordinate to do anything he would not do. There are some things physically a woman cannot do. A military unit is a team and it’s only as strong as its weakest link. In combat the individual’s very life is dependent on his actions and those of his buddies. They must be able to fully trust and rely on each other. Combat soldiers fight for each other’s preservation, pride in their unit and love of country, in that order. We should not complicate their mission or life as they have enough to deal with.

I urge all of you to contact your congressmen and tell them you support the ban on transgenders in the military. I also would ask you to tell them we should return to the policy of “ don’t ask-don’t tell” for gay personnel, as openly gay and gay-pride policies and activities detract from force morale and esprit de corps.

Heller, of Lakeside, is a retired U.S. Army colonel, who served in the infantry.

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