Gay service members who have been unceremoniously – and unwillingly – removed from careers that they loved now hope to go back into service, after President Barack Obama signed into law the repeal of the DADT policy that cost them their military service.
A feature on the Navy Times shared the desire of these service members to return to the military. Joseph Rocha, 24, was watching in Washington as President Obama ended the 17-year-policy that banned gays from openly serving in the military. He had been hazed while serving in Bahrain in 2005, where he was reportedly tied to a chair, left in a dog kennel, and hosed down while in uniform, among other things. He left the Navy in 2007, by telling his commander that he was gay.
Rocha shared the following in a phone interview with The Associated Press after the ceremony that repealed the law: “I had a rough childhood, and the only father figure I had was a godfather who was a Marine… To me the Marine Corps exemplified honor, integrity, a sense of family — things that were drastically the opposite of what I experienced as a child.”
Rocha now plans to enroll in the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia. Despite his experience in Bahrain, he is still very much eager to serve in the military.
The Marine Corps, however, is the service branch that had the most number of members who thought that repealing the policy might become an issue, based on the results of the survey conducted by the Pentagon. Rocha, however, is still determined to embark on a career in the Marine Corps: “Marines are very loyal to their leadership, and unfortunately they have leaders who’ve been insubordinate to the president… but I know the Marines appreciate to a great degree how a person’s qualifications — if they’re willing to die for their country — is far more important than a person’s sexuality.”