Naval IG: Ensign was ‘improperly punished’ after reporting anti-gay harassment

The Naval Inspector General has issued a finding in support of claims by Ensign Steve Crowston that he was improperly punished in reprisal for his reporting harassment based on his perceived sexual orientation. Via Navy Times:

A junior officer who accused his command of giving him anti-gay call signs was improperly punished with a bad fitness report when he complained about the environment in his squadron, Pentagon and Navy inspectors general have found.

The naval inspector general’s finding, cited in a Feb. 2 letter to the officer, Ensign Steve Crowston, substantiates Crowston’s claim of reprisal by Cmdr. Liam Bruen, former commander of Strike Fighter Squadron 136, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. Two weeks earlier, the Defense Department’s inspector general determined that the naval IG had come to the proper conclusion.

This case is another example of why we need to continue to push for inclusion in Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) protections. More from Navy Times:

However, Bruen, who transferred last summer to the Bremerton, Wash.-based carrier John C. Stennis as its the operations officer, has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Naval Air Force Pacific “pending the outcome of the investigation,” Navy spokesman Lt. Myers Vasquez told Navy Times. A copy of the reprisal investigation has been forwarded to his chain of command aboard Stennis “for corrective action as they deem appropriate,” Vasquez said.

Crowston told the IG that Bruen and the unit’s then-executive officer, Cmdr. Damien Christopher, were in the unit’s ready room during an August 2009 all-officer review of squadron call signs, when Crowston was presented with suggestions such as “Fagmeister,” “Gay Boy” and the group’s final choice, “Romo’s Bitch” — a reference to the quarterback of Crowston’s favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys. Crowston was the squadron’s administration/legal officer.

We need a standard process afforded other minorities in order to ensure we are treated equally in the armed forces.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Soldiers Punished After Refusing To Attend Army-Sponsored Christian Rock Concert

About 80 U.S. soldiers have been disciplined at Fort Eustis, Virginia after refusing to attend a “spiritual fitness” Christian-rock concert put on by the Army. The unit was first marched in formation to the concert, only after which were the soldiers given to option of attending or not. Those who chose to leave were punished.

The Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concert that Smith and others were told to attend was headlined by BarlowGirl, a “band of tender-hearted, beautiful young women who aren’t afraid to take an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God,” according to the group’s web site. The group Smith marched with included at least two Muslim soldiers who fell out of rank and stopped marching on their own, according to a first-hand account published by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Once outside the concert, Smith and the other trainees were finally given an option and told to split into two groups: those who wanted to attend, and those who did not. Smith and about 80 others decided not to attend, even though they were obviously being “pressured” to do so. Smith and the others were sent back to their barracks on “lockdown,” a punishment that Smith said withholds even basic freedoms like using their own electronics. Barlow Girl band member Lauren Barlow said if she and the other members of the group knew soldiers were being forced to attend the concert and were then punished for refusing to attend “we would have said something.” “That’s horrible,” Barlow tweeted in response to the revelations first published Thursday by MRFF’s head researcher, Chris Rodda. “We never knew that. We thought they had a choice. If we would have known we would have said something.”

Two of the soldiers have filed a formal complaint against their superior officers. The Army claims to be investigating.

(Tipped by JMG reader Kevin)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright