Recently, under President Biden, the U.S. Navy officially named a ship the USNS Harvey Milk (“Navy to christen ship in honor of assassinated S.F. politician and gay pioneer Harvey Milk,” Web, Nov. 5). Why? The rationale was that Milk was some sort of heroic gay civil rights leader who was unjustly kicked out of the military for being gay.
But that is untrue. Milk got an other than honorable (OTH) discharge in lieu of court martial — not because he was gay, but because he was having sex with enlisted personnel. That is foridden behavior for any officer; it is called illegal fraternization and is a crime for officers under Article 134, UCMJ. It does not matter whether the person with whom the officer had relations worked for the officer directly. All officers are told they can be court-martialed for this as part of their training. I guess Lt. j.g. Milk didn’t think the law applied to him.
Milk was the one who requested the OTH to escape a general court-martial conviction which would have likely gotten him a dismissal discharge (akin to a dishonorable discharge for an enlisted person) and probably some jail time. It does not matter whether the enlisted sailors were male or female and willingly consented to the sex. With today’s “woke” culture, a subordinate does not have free will to consent to anything involving a senior-management person. So I guess you could say the military’s century-old ban on fraternization was ahead of its time.
To get the OTH in lieu of a court-martial, Milk had to admit/confess to his crimes in writing. It is likely some of the sailors with whom he was having relations worked directly under him. If that was the case, Milk was extremely lucky the navy approved his OTH request.
If you look at Milk’s life story, his sole claim to fame is having been murdered by a disgruntled San Francisco city employee. The only thing worse than naming a ship after this man would be naming it for “former” Ensign Hunter Biden, who could not stop snorting cocaine. Well, ee still have three years to see if that happens. All in all, this shows the total lack of respect the Obama and Biden administrations and Democrats in general have for our military and veterans. I am disappointed the Trump administration did not try to stop the ship from being named for Milk.
Cmdr. WAYNE L. JOHNSON
Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy (retired)