Gen Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently attended an iftar meal ending Ramadan fasting in Baltimore. Generally speaking, such events should be non-events, though senior military leaders publicly attending religious events occasionally brings criticism (normally when they’re Christian events).
One notable statement from Gen Neller [emphasis added]:
Neller shared some stories about his travels as a Marine to places where he was the minority as a white, Catholic American. He spoke about using what he knows about Islam to find common ground with Iraqi leaders during a year spent in Anbar province.
“We’re all sons of Abraham – why are you fighting me?” Neller recalled telling them.
It’s a fascinating statement on several levels. It’s a valid Read more
Last week, US Marine Gen Joseph Dunford was confirmed for his second term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
By voice vote on Wednesday, the Senate backed the highly respected, combat-hardened commander who’s received high marks from Republicans and Democrats.
Notably, in testimony for his re-confirmation, Gen Dunford appeared to come out against his Commander-in-Chief’s plan for banning transgenders from serving in the US military: Read more
Retired Admiral James Stavridis — now dean of the Fletcher School of Law — took to the Boston Globe yesterday in an opinion piece excoriating President Trump for his handling of the Charlottesville, Va, riots. In so doing, however, the normally well-spoken retired flag officer demonstrated an outstanding (or selective) ignorance of the purpose of the US military: Adm Stavridis claimed the US military exists to “defend our values” [emphasis added]:
Our military exists to protect our nation and our allies from those forces who threaten our values: democracy, liberty, freedom of speech and religion, racial and gender equality…
The current [chiefs of staff] have all squarely and unequivocally shown us they know why we have a military — to defend our values, not tear them down…[They] publish[ed] clear, decisive statements disavowing racism and reaffirming the fundamental values they are sworn to defend.
These statements are unequivocally incorrect. As Read more
Transgender activists were caught off guard on Tuesday when the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the “delay” in transgenders being allowed to enter the US military wasn’t due to feelings, religion, or bigotry — but science and medicine.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his reappointment as Vice Chairman, US Air Force Gen Paul Selva said [emphasis added]
Our decision to delay the accessions of transgender individuals into the services was largely based on a disagreement on the science of how mental health care and hormone therapy for transgender individuals would help solve the medical issues that are associated with gender dysphoria.
Read that carefully. Gen Selva said the current treatment for the medical condition currently called “gender dysphoria” not only isn’t settled, there’s disagreement that it even works.
(That comes as no surprise to transgender activists, Read more
Almost exactly a year ago, US Army General Martin Dempsey was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — the top ranking uniformed member of the US military and primary military advisor to the President. Known for his humility and his penchant for singing, he was not as publicly known for his faith — something that appears to be showing now that he is retired.
Appearing at Duke University on September 8th, now-retired Gen Dempsey spoke of his experiences with morality, religion, and faith in the US military — including his agreement with the belief that “there are no atheists in foxholes” [emphasis added]:
“You know that thing about ‘there’s no atheist in a foxhole?’ It’s true,” Dempsey said.
“There was none of this, ‘oh my gosh you shouldn’t be praying in your uniform, let’s keep separation of church and state’ — you go into something like Baghdad, you’re going to say a prayer before, during and after.”
The timing was surely a coincidence, but General Dempsey’s Read more
For the past six months, US Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder has been fighting for his career after his commander, CAPT Jon Fahs, requested he be “detached for cause” (PDF) and then defend why he should be retained in the Navy. The primary charge was he “failed to show tolerance and respect” when he made certain statements about sexuality.
Last week, the US Navy Personnel Command informed Captain Fahs that his request for Chaplain Modder to be Detached for Cause was denied, as was his request for Modder to “show cause” to remain in the Navy. Rear Admiral David F. Steindl wrote (PDF):
Your request for detachment for cause in the case of LCDR Modder…has been reviewed and is disapproved. I have found the evidence of substandard performance in this case does not meet the standard of gross negligence or complete disregard of duty… LCDR Modder will not be detached for cause.
In other words, the Admiral said CAPT Fahs was wrong.
To be “detached for cause” (DFC) in Read more
US Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, currently facing a discharge board for statements about homosexuality made during private counseling sessions, has filed a complaint with the Navy with the goal of being able to continue ministering to his sailors:
Chaplain Wes Modder spends his days basically alone in the base chapel. He is no longer allowed into his office. By order of his commanding officer, he is not allowed even to speak to the sailors in his unit. If anyone from his unit comes into the chapel, he may not speak with them…
His commanding officer, Captain Jon Fahs…requested various actions against Modder, including taking him off the promotions list, separating him for cause, and initiating a board of inquiry. None of that has happened yet and, in the meantime, Modder sits alone unable to help his fellow sailors…
Modder and his lawyers at the Liberty Institute have Read more
Warning: This official US Navy photo may be considered offensive in some US Air Force units…
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate
An official DoD article notes the continuing tradition of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders taking part in USO tours:
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have partnered with the USO for the last 34 years…
Two cheerleaders…[are] currently on a USO overseas Read more