The U.S. Navy is sailing into politically correct waters, sometimes at a speed too fast for the Obama Administration to keep up.
Whether it is policies on gays and women, or naming ships after social activists, the Navy is charting a course that has some “old salts” worried.
“It’s pretty dire,” said John Howland, a 1964 U.S. Naval Academy graduate who manages a web site on naval issues called USNA-At-Large.
“We’re back to ‘H.M.S. Pinafore,'” he added, a reference to the comic opera about English shipboard life. “The leadership of the military is pretty much politically correct kind of stuff. You like to think that we’re approaching hitting bottom, but these people are not through with us yet.”
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a Democrat and former Mississippi governor, has embraced assigning women to the cramp underwater quarters of submarines, including enlisted females on attack subs. The first female officers are due to report aboard larger ballistic missile submarines this fall.
In addition, Mr. Mabus has left open the possibility of putting women in the decidedly all-male and physically challenging world of Navy SEALs, like the ones who killed Osama bin laden.
Earlier this month, Mr. Mabus riled some conservatives by reaching out to Hispanics and naming a supply ship after union activist Cesar Chavez, who served in the Navy.
Mr. Chavez was a champion of better working conditions for farm laborers. He enlisted in the Navy in 1946 at age 17. He later called it “the worst two years of my life,” according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas.
In 2009, Mr. Mabus announced a ship would be named after Medgar Evers, the Mississippi civil rights activist who was shot and killed in the drive way of his home in 1963. Mr. Evers had no professional connection to the Navy. He served two years of combat in Europe in World War II and was honorably discharged an Army sergeant.
In January, the Navy fired the popular commander of a U.S. aircraft carrier for producing a raunchy shipboard video. Some sailors came to Capt. Owen Honors’ defense, saying he was the victim of a “PC Navy” for an internally produced morale builder.
The four branches have launched an extensive indoctrination campaign, both in the states and in war zones, to prepare troops for open gays by the end of the year. Homosexuals now serve under a policy called “don’t ask, don’t tell” that requires them to keep their sexuality private.