Stephen C. Jones, a 21-year-old Navy petty officer, insists he and another sailor friend merely fell asleep, wearing only their boxers, in the same bed while watching The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, featuring that dreamy (and often shirtless) Ian Somerhalder. “That is the honest, entire story,” insists Jones. But Navy brass thinks otherwise. And now they’re trying to discharge him — not under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which is all but dead and not enforced much these days, but by claiming Jones committed the crime of “willful failure to exhibit professional conduct” in his bachelor-specified quarters. Ugh.
Jones, who’s stationed at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command outside Charleston, can’t tell the Washington Post whether or not he’s gay, since DADT is still technically in effect. (He could, of course, state he is heterosexual without risk of discharge.) But his sexuality is irrelevant. So, too, would it be irrelevant if he GAVE A HAND JOB TO ANOTHER MAN IN HIS QUARTERS. (Unless there are rules that sailors, male or female, enlisted as “single” cannot have sexual relations in their own pads? If so, let me know and I’ll update this, but I couldn’t find any such rules. And screwing around with dudes on its own does not, in fact, violate DADT.)
The point is that not only does the Navy have zero evidence Jones violated DADT, it has no evidence he violated any less discriminatory rule, let alone “willful failure to exhibit professional conduct.” And yet he’s being pushed out.
The fateful night was discovered, or whatever, by Jones’ roommate Tyler Berube, who returned home from a trip to find Jones and the other male sailor, Brian McGee, asleep in their drawers. When he woke them, the men put their clothes on and the other sailor left.
The investigative summary and charging documents do not specify how Jones’s actions constituted unprofessional conduct. Jones said his friend often stopped by his room to watch videos, and noted that visiting hours lasted until 2 a.m. that Saturday night. He and his attorney said they have repeatedly asked the Navy for clarification.
Dougan, the Navy spokesman, acknowledged that no regulation specifically prohibits sailors from falling asleep in the same bed. But he said rules do require them to “behave professionally in the barracks” and that Bailey, the commanding officer, concluded that Jones and McGee had not done so. “The determination was that two sailors sharing the same rack was unprofessional.”
So what happened to McGee? He was also charged, but copped a plea for a lesser infraction, which means he was subjected to docked pay but can keep his job. Jones, meanwhile, is challenging the charges against him.
And in a huge red flag, Jones says Capt. Thomas W. Bailey asked McGee “if being a homosexual was going to be an issue” if he stayed in the Navy. UM, HELLO? Doesn’t DADT specifically state soldiers will not be quizzed on their sexual orientation? Yep. Which means if Bailey’s statement is accurate, that’s a violation right there. By a captain.
Says Jones’ civilian (not military) lawyer Gary Myers: “The subterfuge is, they believe this kid is a homosexual, but they have no proof of it. So what they’ve done here is to trump this thing up as a crime. This is not a crime.”
Meanwhile, let’s not forget how Navy brass found out about Jones’ accidental sleepover: his roommate tattled on him. DUDE. What the hell happened to the bro code among shipmates?
If the Navy is seriously going to pursue these charges, they’ll have to come up with a better explanation for the charges. Because there are untold thousands of undoubtedly straight servicemembers out there, in all five military branches, who should be kicked out of the armed forces right this second for accidentally dozing off with a buddy. This entire investigation sounds like a crock of anti-gay shit.
[Note: That is not Jones pictured in the photo.]