Eric Prenger, the gay former naval petty officer who served on the USS Enterprise under Capt. Owen Honors, has not been shy about his support for his ex-boss. “Myself, nor the other gay crew members that I knew of at the time, were ever offended by those videos,” he said this week in an interview. But now he’s going directly to the source of Big Gay criticism over Honors’ “fag”-laced videos, attacking the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, where Aubrey Sarvis, the group’s executive director and a military veteran, called the ousted commander’s behavior like that of “a 19-year-old fraternity boy.” Apparently by criticizing Honors, SLDN is making things bad for Navy gays?
Writing to SLDN in a letter he forwarded to Joshua Green, Prenger says:
This letter is in reference to the SLDN’s recent comments against Capt. Honors previously of the USS ENTERPRISE.
By making statements against him your organization has become a participant in the action that so many gay men and women face every day in the service, harsh and uninformed judgment. In your hasty remarks against Capt. Honors, you forget those videos were for the eyes of USS ENTERPRISE sailors only. You are condemning a man on events that have happened over four years ago.
Every gay man or woman that has joined the military has done so knowing that they weren’t walking into an environment that would be appealing to their sense of delicacy. Sexual orientation aside, every man or woman joining the military does so with the knowledge that the only way to get through is with tough skin. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has done so much for the recent repeal of the much hated “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy it is truly a shame to see you take such a biased stance against Capt. Honors.
As a gay man that served onboard the USS ENTERPRISE during both the ’06 and ’07 deployments I was never once offended by Capt. Honors’ choice of humor.
I have begun to make contact with my fellow gay service members who were also on those deployments. We will band together to show our support for Capt. Honors. I ask that you, at this time, retract your statements against Capt. Honors until the full investigation has been completed or you have attempted to discuss this issue and hear the thoughts of those who served him on the ’06 and ’07 deployments.
Prenger continues in his note to Green:
I can’t help to think about the GEICO commercial during all this. The one with the retired drill sergeant acting as a therapist. In all honesty, do Americans really want a military full of men and women who’s first reaction to a harsh word or off-colored joke to go running to mama crying? Do we really want those people as our defense against the ever growing terrorism threat and foreign nationals with a vendetta against America? It seems thats what the media and the higher ups that be wish… Before you know it they’ll be administering sensitivity training on the polite and politically correct way of killing the enemy.
If you have anymore questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. And thank you for taking the time to hear this perspective on an issue that should have never made it this far. The moment this hit the media, the military should have stepped in and handled it, and not allowed the media to blow it out of proportion.
First off, the idea that the military can stop the media from “blow[ing] it out of proportion” is ridiculous. And while Prenger has a point — no, we don’t want a bunch of reactionary and easily offended men and women serving in the armed forces, because hey, that shit is rough — what he continues to ignore is that while he may not take offense, other gay and lesbian sailors certainly do. And they shouldn’t be put in an environment where they feel denigrated because of their sexuality. Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is one means to end that message. Prohibiting top officers from creating an environment where the use of slurs is accepted, and laughed at, is another.