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The Gay man who created the Continental Army.

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posted on Feb, 23 2010 @ 11:13 PM
I am retired military and the debate raging and the discussion emerging on allowing gay people to serve openly in the military has kept my attention for a time.

I would like to say this much.During my career there were hundreds of gay men and women serving honorably in the service.

They did not flaunt it but they did not hide it either.They are there already and for the most part they are normal Americans wanting to do their part.

I had no issues with them and some of them the troops sought them out because they were the best in their field.

I had researched the history of this issue and by accident ran into this fine fellow.

Baron von Steuben.

Ever here of him? A quick synopsis.The beginning of the Revolt the colonists were dependent on local militia to bring the fight to the British.

These men were all out of the local area and sometimes funded by local business men.Not mercenaries but a general ragtag organization.

General Washington knew he would need one unified force and went to
great lengths to find the funds to pay arm,clothe,feed and house a unified Continental army.

And to turn them into a fighting force.

He found the perfect man when Baron von Steuben showed up in America and offered his services.

Just a short list of what this gay man did to the army.

He is credited with teaching the Continental Army the essentials of military drill and discipline, helping to guide it to victory. He wrote the Revolutionary War Drill Manual, the book that became the standard United States drill manual until the War of 1812.

He also first implemented this too.

Steuben introduced a system of progressive training, beginning with the school of the soldier, with and without arms, and going through the school of the regiment. This corrected the previous policy of simply assigning personnel to regiments. Each company commander was made responsible for the training of new men, but actual instruction was done by selected sergeants, the best obtainable.

Was he concerned for the welfare of the men?

Another program developed by Steuben was camp sanitation. He established standards of sanitation and camp layouts that would still be standard a century and a half later. There had previously been no set arrangement of tents and huts. Men relieved themselves where they wished and when an animal died, it was stripped of its meat and the rest was left to rot where it lay. Steuben laid out a plan to have rows for command, officers and enlisted men. Kitchens and latrines were on opposite sides of the camp, with latrines on the downhill side. There was the familiar arrangement of company and regimental streets.

But was he a warrior,or a "dandy"?

Perhaps Steuben's biggest contribution to the American Revolution was training in the use of the bayonet. Since the Battle of Bunker Hill, Americans had been mainly dependent upon using their ammunition to win battles. Throughout the early course of the war, Americans used the bayonet mostly as a cooking skewer or tool rather than as a fighting instrument. Steuben's introduction of effective bayonet charges became crucial. In the Battle of Stony Point, American soldiers attacked with unloaded rifles and won the battle solely on Steuben's bayonet training.

But how does one know he was gay,you ask?

In 1776, Steuben's career at Hohenzollern-Hechigen ended in scandal: he was alleged to be a homosexual and was accused of improper sexual behavior with young boys.

I didn't mention the pedophile,did I?

He also kept the company of these two fellows.

His young aide de camp Louis de Pontiere and his military secretary Pierre Etienne Duponceau

And then he met these two "gentle"men.

He never married and had no children. He left his estate to General Benjamin Walker and Captain William North, who had served as his aides-de-camp during the war, and with whom he had had an "extraordinarily intense emotional relationship ... treating them as surrogate sons".

There you have it.If not for one determined and qualified Gay man the finest fighting force today wouldn't exist today.

Did I mention he also was a foreign immigrant that could speak little English?

Steuben spoke little English and he often yelled to his translator, "Here! Come swear for me!"

The issue should not even be an issue.If we as a country can live with people with this sexual orientation with no qualms or issues.Then they should serve freely and proudly.

Because they already have been.

posted on Feb, 23 2010 @ 11:20 PM
reply to post by Oneolddude

S & F to you, and to that man.

It is ridiculous to stigmatise anyone because of their gender, their race, their political beliefs, their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation... in short, it is unacceptable to stigmatise anyone at all.

So I wonder why this is so prevalent.

And, on the other side of the coin, how many so-called heroes could bear close examination?

posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 07:51 AM
From oneolddude to another thanks for the history lesson. I knew of Steuben and his crucial role beginning at valley forge but as for his sexual proclivities I was unaware.
I've never been against gays serving in the military per se, I didn't want to see the traditions change and resulting loss of esprit de corps that might entail. Guess you can call me old fashioned but not old fashioned enough

Thanks and keep the hidden history coming.

posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 08:09 AM
The most legendary and perhaps feared warriors of all times the Spartans were notoriously homosexual.

Spartan boys would be taken on by an older mentor when they were five or six years old and taught the arts of foraging and living off the land, stealth, combat etc., etc. their entire childhoods, living amongst the grown men in the barracks often as their lovers.

It is said that when most Spartans reached marrying age that their brides often had to seduce them into consummating the marriage by dressing up in men’s clothing and sleeping in their barracks with them and the other men coaxing them night on end to avail themselves of their womanly charms.

Now of course by today’s standards most of us would find that shocking and scandalous as well as criminal yet in the ancient world few were anxious to tangle with the Spartan Warriors and fewer still lived to tell about it.

History remembers them for their bravery and prowess on the battlefield.

Truth be known isn’t that the essence of what a soldier/warrior really is meant to espouse?

It just doesn’t seem to me a heterosexual man that being Gay is any reason not to be a soldier.

It appears to me History agrees based on the original piece.

If the only real objection is some strange sense of Christian morality I recall reading somewhere “Thou Shall Not Kill”, so no one should be a soldier by Christian standards.

posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 08:48 AM
Very interesting OP. I was unaware of his existence. However I admit I'm not much of an historian.

Alexander the Great was also gay (not bad lookng either). However, there have been many men historically that were gay leaders.

Todays culture is a bit strange though. We have the closeted gay leaders in politics and religion that work against their own kind. Anyone can list off recent polticians that are soo far right, yet under the radar they engage in gay behavior. There are more out there. They disturb me greatly.

When I lived in D.C. I always ran into prominent and closeted gay officials in the gay bars.

I see no reason to bar gay people from the military. I made it and had many gay friends in the military without issue.

posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 09:05 AM

I didn't mention the pedophile,did I?

Hm... pedophilia used to be, and sometimes still is, automatically linked to homosexuality, and wrongly so.

D'you know if there's any backing to the statement?

posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 09:12 AM
reply to post by RuneSpider

Uhggg! Lets definitely separate pedophilia (gross) from gay. My bad. It's early and my reading comprehension skills are not up to par.

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