Santa Barbara, Calif. – The following statement can be attributed to Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center, concerning the January 28 release of a video featuring Marine Commandant General James Amos and Sergeant Major Carlton Kent. Please see transcript below:
“General Amos’ video statement to the Marines shows that he is keeping his promise to lead the implementation of openly gay and lesbian service personally. The General’s statement is unambiguous that he ‘value[s] the diversity’ of all Marines, whether they are straight or gay. The signal this video sends to all troops is profound: the Marines are now setting the pace to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ for all military branches.”
Transcript: U.S. Marine Corps Video, January 28, 2011
Caption: A message from Marine Corps Commandant, General James F. Amos
Caption: and Marine Corps Sergeant Major, Sergeant Major Carlton W. Kent
GENERAL AMOS: MARINES, SAILORS, FOR THE PAST DECADE WE HAVE ENGAGED IN CONSTANT COMBAT OPERATIONS. TODAY, WE SERVE OUR NATION AT A CRITICAL TIME IN ITS HISTORY. IT’S A CHALLENGING TIME, BUT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO EVERY TASK. OUR FIDELITY TO ONE ANOTHER IS OUR MORAL COMPASS THAT GUIDES US. IT IS THE FOUNDATION OF WHAT BEING A MARINE IS ALL ABOUT. ABOVE ALL ELSE, WE ARE LOYAL TO THE CONSTITUTION, OUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF, CONGRESS, OUR CHAIN OF COMMAND, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
SERGEANT MAJOR KENT: THE REPEAL OF ‘DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL’ WILL TAKE EFFECT AFTER OUR NATION’S SENIOR LEADERSHIP HAS DETERMINED AN APPROPRIATE TIMELINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION. CURRENTLY, WE HAVE AN OPERATIONAL PLANNING TEAM WORKING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO DETERMINE THE BEST WAY FORWARD.
GENERAL AMOS: THE MARINE CORPS EXISTS TO DEFEND OUR NATION. WE ARE A NATION OF LAWS. WE ARE COMMITTED BY OUR OATH AND CORE VALUES TO OBEY THESE LAWS. OUR SUCCESS AS MARINES HAS ALWAYS BEEN GROUNDED IN THE QUALITY OF OUR LEADERSHIP, FROM GENERAL OFFICERS TO SMALL UNIT LEADERS.
SERGEANT MAJOR KENT: THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF OUR CORPS, MARINES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PROFESSIONAL, CARRYING ON OUR WARRIOR ETHOS AND MAINTAINING OUR CORE VALUES. THE MARINE CORPS IS A DIVERSE FORCE AND ALL HAVE EARNED THE PRIVILEGE TO WEAR THE EAGLE, GLOBE, AND ANCHOR. AS MARINES, WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE TO TREAT EACH OTHER WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT. THE COMMANDANT AND I HAVE TRUST IN THE GREAT LEADERSHIP OF OUR CORPS, FROM JUNIOR MARINES TO THE MOST SENIOR. AS ALWAYS, ENGAGED LEADERSHIP WILL BE THE KEY TO IMPLEMENTATION.
GENERAL AMOS: I WANT TO BE CLEAR TO ALL MARINES, WE WILL STEP OUT SMARTLY TO FAITHFULLY IMPLEMENT THIS NEW LAW. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE VALUE THE DIVERSITY OF BACKGROUND, CULTURE, AND SKILLS THAT ALL MARINES BRING TO THE SERVICE OF OUR NATION. AS WE IMPLEMENT REPEAL, I WANT LEADERS AT ALL LEVELS TO REEMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING DIGNITY AND RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER THROUGHOUT OUR FORCE. WE ARE MARINES. WE CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER AND RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF ALL WHO WEAR THIS UNIFORM. WE WILL CONTINUE TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT DISCIPLINE AND FIDELITY, WHICH HAVE BEEN THE HALLMARKS OF THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS FOR MORE THAN 235 YEARS, WILL CONTINUE WELL INTO THE FUTURE.