Needless to say we hear some ignorant ass stuff coming from social conserva
tardstives, but it all comes down to the same hollow arguments & falsehoods.
Not only are the reasons most-often stated intellectually lazy, but they are steeped in irony. Nicholas Ferroni puts it perfectly with:
As an American, I have the utmost respect for all men and women who have dedicated their lives to military service, regardless of their sexuality, race, religion and even political affiliation.
As a historian (who has dedicated his life, passion and curiosities to history, especially American history), I think it is quite comical and downright ironic that Americans, politicians and military personnel are so adamantly against allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military, considering the powerful, well-trained and feared military that America has developed would not have existed if it was not for the brilliance of a homosexual soldier from Prussia (modern-day Germany).
In fact, not only would we not have a worldwide military dominance as we do, but we might not even have an America if not for the gay soldier who aided Washington during the country’s most crucial time.
He was, of course, referring to Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, better known as “the Baron”.
The French minister of war recommended von Steuben, who couldn’t land a gig in a European army because he was said to “have affections with those of the same sex”, to Benjamin Franklin as a resource to the Continental Army in 1777.
Franklin in turn passed on word of Steuben’s availability to George Washington, and by February 23, 1778, he was among the desperate Continentals camped at Valley Forge.
Von Steuben, who did not speak English, drafted a drill manual in French, which Alexander Hamilton and Nathanael Greene then translated into English. The Prussian drill techniques he shared were far more advanced than those of other European armies, let alone those of the ragtag Patriots.
The ego-crushing methods of modern boot camp were practiced among the shoeless soldiers of Valley Forge with remarkable efficacy. Most important for 18th-century battle was an efficient method of firing and reloading weapons, which von Steuben forced the Patriots to practice until it became second nature.
Before von Steuben’s arrival, colonial American soldiers were notorious for their slovenly camp conditions. Von Steuben insisted on reorganization to establish basic hygiene. He demanded that kitchens and latrines be put on opposite sides of the camp, with latrines facing a downhill slope. (Just having latrines was novelty to the Continental troops who were accustomed to living among their own filth.)
On the merit of his efforts at Valley Forge, Washington recommended that von Steuben be named inspector general of the Continental Army; Congress complied. In this capacity, von Steuben propagated his methods throughout the Patriot forces by circulating his Blue Book, entitled Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States.
So there you have it.
A man who showed up at Valley Forge in a grandiose sleigh (sporting 24 jingling bells) pulled by black Percheron draft horses, wearing a robe of silk trimmed with fur, 17-year-old lover/secretary Pierre-Étienne du Ponceau in tow, all the while petting his miniature greyhound who was curled up on his lap is largely responsible for the defeat of the British & the creation of our great nation.
And anyone who tries to tell you “things would have turned out just as well without him” is either a liar or a fool (or both).