I would like to make a statement about Cecille Lucero’s article regarding the military and how they recruit on college campuses. First I must state that I am speaking for myself, and not the United States Marine Corps or any other branch of the military. I will be commissioned as a lieutenant in the Marines in May. I am also pictured in the paper.

Lucero’s tone in the article is very negative towards the military, and her discussion of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy makes it sound like all members of the services discriminate against gays. People can easily draw a line between her article and my picture [which appeared with the article] and assume that because I wish to serve my country I must be against gays serving in the military.

I do not appreciate this line being drawn. It could also [be taken to suggest] that Captain Fernandez, whom I know very well, also discriminates against gays. It needs to be understood that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is just that. It does not mean that everyone who is in the military agrees or disagrees with that policy.

Furthermore, [Lucero] does not look into why the military instituted this policy. Before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” military recruiters could sit down with any recruit and ask “Are you homosexual?” If the recruit answered yes, they were automatically disqualified from service. This policy gives them the option to serve their country without creating an environment that could be dangerous to that person.

The simple fact of the matter is, military life is very different from civlian life, and different measures need to be taken to ensure a fluid operating environment. I am glad to hear that members of OUTspoken have decided not to protest our recruiting. In fact, I welcome anyone to come by and request information about serving. What bothers me, though, is when people decide to make an issue and protest when they themselves have never thought of joining. If military recruiters are no longer allowed on campus, the federal government will cut funding to the university, forcing university officials to raise tuition to cover the lost funds.

If the Solomon Amendment is overturned in the Supreme Court, what will happen to all the ROTC programs across the country when they are kicked off campuses because they “discriminate?” To become an officer in any branch of the military one must possess a college degree. If all the ROTC programs and other military recruiting were banned from campuses, our military leadership structure would fall apart and the defense of our nation would be left in ruins.

Brad Tatum