Badpuppy Gay Today

Friday, 09 January 1998

NAVY VETERAN OF 17 YEARS WRONGED IN VILE WITCH HUNT

Senior Chief Petty Officer, T.R. McVeigh, Victim of Navy Snoopers
Secretary of Navy Dalton Denies Impropriety in Military's Investigations

Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday

 

The fact of witch hunts that weed out gay and lesbian military service personnel in violation of the Pentagon's "Don't ask, Don't tell' policy was denied in mid-December, 1996 by Navy Secretary John Dalton.

Stark evidence in the case of a 17-year Navy veteran, Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy R. McVeigh., however, flatly contradicts the Navy Secretary's denials.

McVeigh, Chief of the Boat, the USS Chicago, a Pearl Harbor submarine, became the subject of an investigation after he used a single word that was included in an America Online user-profile.

Navy Secretary Dalton refused last month to discuss the Navy's investigation of McVeigh with reporters, though he defended Clinton administration's policy which says persons attracted to their own sex may serve in the military as long as they do not disclose their sexuality.

Major gay rights groups have harshly criticized that policy. More military personnel, particularly women, have been discharged for homosexuality, they say, than before it went into effect. McVeigh's case, critics believe, illustrates that whatever the intention of 1993 policy, the military is now more aggressive than ever in going after gay and lesbian service members.

On January 5 the Chief of Naval Personnel approved a recommendation to discharge McVeigh, citing "Homosexual Conduct Admittance" as the reason for the discharge. The message says that McVeigh is to be discharged from the military on January 15.

McVeigh says investigators decided that he was gay because of an inquiry that began when a civilian employee alerted Navy brass to his profile. His user name "Tim," in the profile, had the word "gay" in the section for marital status.

Supporters of the embattled veteran, certain that the official investigation into his background failed to produce evidence supporting suspicions leveled against him, agree with McVeigh that under "Don't ask, Don't tell," there's an agreed upon concept--a zone of privacy-- in which members of the military may have "wiggle room." Private statements made on AOL, they insist, are not a proper focus of ONI investigations.

McVeigh says his use of the term "gay" did not mean he was claiming to be homosexual. He has declined to reveal his sexual orientation.

McVeigh believed that the Navy's Secretary "showed support for the policy, but the issue here is that the policy was not followed in my case. Testimony given at my administrative board supports this."

When McVeigh's military lawyer had asked his superior, "What actions did you take as Commanding Officer, pursuant to any of the rules that require CO's initiation of action investigation?" CDR John Mickey, replied "I took no actions. I don't know what is required. I didn't research it. I sent Senior Chief McVeigh to squadron."

Prior to the Chief of Naval Personnel's recommendation that McVeigh be discharged, the long-time Navy man reflected on his immediate superior's shows of procedural ignorance. And of Secretary Dalton, he said, : "I am hoping that he will demand to see the facts pertaining to my case and listen to the administrative board tapes. I want him to see for himself, how, contrary to his beliefs, his Navy, in fact, violated the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy."

The loyal military man also said "I feel Secretary Dalton's statement that he knows that the Navy has not been engaged in witch hunts is because he doesn't hear about them. I think that many people who are accused aren't fully aware of their rights and the Navy's regulations. They routinely become victims of a hard hearted military system and feel they have no recourse, even when unjustly accused."

Since the Navy's initial intrusion into McVeigh's private on-line life, the 35-year old Senior Chief Petty Officer has continued to draw national attention to the Navy's violations of " Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

"I was removed from my job and forced to take a $745 per month pay cut because of someone's exaggerated interpretation of the word gay," he said.

To start off his campaign for vindication, he has opened a world-wide Web site at http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/9241,

This site contains up-to-date information about his military record and the ongoing legal battle in which the Navy now plans to discharge him.

McVeigh told GayToday, "I have been trained to be a leader, fair and by the book, and if the Navy wants to throw the book and fairness out, I will still go by the book, and in human fairness, lead the fight against them for the benefit of all."

The Navy has thus far declined to comment on the McVeigh case, which questions the credibility of merely the word "gay" to be a statement of homosexuality. McVeigh's defense also rested on other questionable factors, including the way his profile was obtained and verified. This, he says, is in addition to the fact that the investigation was not authorized in accordance with current regulations and contained unfounded charges of sodomy and indecent acts.

"The investigating officer said she looked in my record and noticed that I had never been married and went from there," said McVeigh, referring to the way he later found out that the investigation had started.

"I'm sure she also did not find that I have a dependant mother either."

He added: " I think my commanding officer, Commander John Mickey, summed up the Navy's position during my administrative separation board when he said that he didn't know what the regulations were, hadn't looked at the regulations since, and didn't plan on looking at the regulations."

The discharge recommendation went to Captain John F. Dohse, Commander Submarine Squadron Three, and was thereafter forwarded to the Chief of Naval Personnel in Arlington, Va. for final action.

The Navy has not yet offered any explanation to answer McVeigh's contention that he admitted nothing and that the Navy has not followed the rules of the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy and is being wrongfully discharged.

"The Navy has continually failed to answer why they don't have to follow the policy," McVeigh insists. " During my November 7th administrative board, the government lawyer said that the policy violations were irrelevant."

When Captain Dohse, Commander of Submarine Squadron Three, sent his endorsement letter to the Chief of Naval Personnel, he failed to state why regulations were not followed and the Chief of Naval Personnel failed to address this issue as well.

Congressional letters inquiring about the case, including one that specifically stated "I concur that this investigation and removal proceeding should never have been initiated" and recommended that "the discharge proceedings be dropped immediately" have gone unanswered by the Navy.

McVeigh knows of over 1,800 letters of support that have been sent to President Clinton, members of Congress, and the Navy. He said there were also 2 letters expressing the view that he should be discharged.

"I find it incredible that such blatant disregard for regulations occurred and then were endorsed by the Navy at higher levels." McVeigh said, adding " Who is it that makes the Navy follow the laws passed by Congress for the people of the United States?"

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