After reading the Open Forum letter Monday January 9 2012 by James J Tenant of Centennial, Colorado regarding Gays in the Military “Serving when others wouldn’t” I felt I needed to speak out.
His article stated “Should Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Scientologists be banned from marrying too? “ He goes on to say he didn’t see any of these people serving in military units when he served in Vietnam. He asks if they or their kids “cut and run when America called them to serve?”
In 1951 I was drafted in the US Army, was trained to be an Army Medic, and spent a year in Korea, with 6 months of that time on the front lines in the 7th Division 32nd Regiment 2nd Battalion. My responsibilities included aid man in the infantry, litter bearer on the ground, as well as litter Jeep driver. We were positioned in one of the heaviest fighting positions of the war and suffered heavy casualties.
We didn’t know what religion other soldiers claimed, but I did get to know many soldiers; enough to meet at least 2 other soldiers who were Seventh Day Adventists. Unfortunately, both of my friends were killed as well as many non-Seventh Day Adventists. One night while we were eating our C rations, my friend told me he had just gotten a letter in the mail and showed me a picture of his newborn son. He was so thrilled and proud. A day and a half later, he was killed. In war, you have to work closely with all your fellow soldiers, and its terrible when you lose your buddy. It didn’t matter that one of my friends was newly married, the other black. It didn’t matter whether a person is white, black, newly married or gay.
Seventh Day Churches never discouraged its members from serving our country. One of the highest decorated soldiers was Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist.
Recently, we noticed that one of the Presidential candidates, Jon Huntsman, a Mormon, said his 2 sons are serving in the US Navy.
It seems to me that before one writes such a letter, or speaks derogatorily about another group of people, one should know what they are talking about. This article was hurtful to me, and I would guess, to others who have served our country.