Monday, January 03, 2011

Justin Elzie's book explains how the military indeed "pursued" in the old days

I am reading Justin Elzie’s autobiography “Playing by the Rules” and expect to review it soon on my books blog.

Elzie had joined the Marine Corps in the early 1980s, and would advance to becoming an American Embassy Guard. He was visible during the early years of Clinton’s “don’t ask don’t tell, don't pursue” and actually served four years while openly gay while legal and administrative battles went on.

One thing that stands out: in the days before DADT, as well as, probably, afterwards, the military actively pursued some servicemembers (it did not when I was in the Army from 1968-1970, when everyone looked the other way). It used the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), staffed by civilian employees, to pursue Marines going to “off limits” gay bars near military bases in the South (particularly North Carolina), often tracking down license plate numbers in parking lots.  It's odd to expect civilian employees, supposedly protected themselves by a 1973 Civil Service ruling, pursuing gay sailors and Marines, a real ethical "conflict of interest".

David Mixner, author of "Stranger Among Friends" and provider of a Foreword for Elzie's book, had written (in his own earlier book) that the FBI had tried to set him up in 1969.

Picture: NCIS, Washington Navy Yard.

(Update: Jan. 9:  My review appears today on the Book Reviews blog.)

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