Everybody who has served has probably served with homosexuals. If they weren’t “openly” homosexual and running off at the mouth about it and making a nuisance of themselves, and they did their job, the heterosexuals could wonder in mild curiosity and not care much one way or the other. There is no great advantage to unit cohesion and esprit d’corps to be had in removing all doubt.
They talked almost desperately about the girls they would have. Their hands would curl with pleasure and their bearded lips roll back. Girls were much more important to a crew’s health than beer or onions. Girls helped to keep in its cage a certain Beast that was always trying to get loose in a ship.
The Beast was trying to get loose in the San Pablo. There were many little signs. The customary skylarking and horseplay began going a bit too far for comfort. Harris began talking openly about the cruiser U.S.S. Pittsburgh. The Beast was notoriously loose in Pittsburgh.
“I’d sooner have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother on the Pittsburgh,” Farren said one day at dinner. That was the saying in the Fleet, about that ship.
“I wish you had a sister on the San Pablo,” Harris said. “But I’d settle for your brother.”
Holman tensed himself to help Farren, if it came to a fight. But Farren let it go.
The next morning when the lights came on there was a small square of canvas, with a handful of damp sand heaped upon it, in Harris’ place at the mess table. Harris had the watch in the engine room. Everyone saw the sand and canvas and no one spoke about it. It was an old, old seagoing warning.
When Harris came off watch he stood and looked down at the sand and canvas. Everyone else looked at Harris. His beard was spiky gray, like his hair. Hair thrust out of his nostrils and ears. It was like quills. He grinned his wolf-trap grin around the compartment and he was wearing the very face of the Beast.
He did not see what he was looking for in any of the other faces. Without a word, he picked up the sand and canvas and carried it outside and dropped it into the river. After that there was no more talk about the Pittsburgh.
UPDATE 2010/05/13 DADT Statement From Other Milbloggers