Military prepares to accept gays

July 5, 2011 at 11:29 PM
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RIVERSIDE, Calif., July 5 (UPI) -- U.S. military officers say preparations for the era of openly homosexual service members are going quietly and smoothly.

One officer in California told the Riverside Press-Enterprise the training sessions are "anti-climactic." Major Dale Riedel, a member of the Judge Advocate's Group, has been leading training sessions at March Air Force Base.

"We execute what we're told to execute," he said. "The political impact, that's for the politicians."

Sgt. Maj. James Walsh, who has been leading sessions at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., said there is a generational split. But he said almost two-thirds of Marines are 25 or younger and are "much more accepting" of conduct that was once controversial.

"I have known Marines that have served years ago, and I found out long afterward that they were gay or lesbian," he said. "They were honorable Marines. It didn't matter then and it won't matter in the future. I don't believe it's really even a relevant question."

The end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which has been the rule since 1993, will come 60 days after the Joint Chiefs of Staff certifies the military is ready. That is expected within the next few weeks, the newspaper said.

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