Fort Drum’s farewell post for Army sergeant generates controversy

A post regarding a former non-commissioned officer of Fort Drum’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate has been generating some controversy of late— due in no small part to a 2016 DoD directive.

The controversy surrounds Sergeant Gwendoline Waits, a biological male who identifies as female.

Waits was lauded as a good example of support personnel within the organization.

“Today we farewell-ed SGT Waits! She is a quiet professional that is always willing to do whatever is necessary for the team,” read the post, which came out on Monday. “Her can-do attitude has made an impression on all that interact with her. She has been an interim NCOIC for a brigade, a litigation paralegal NCO, and she worked on Division-level actions during her tour here at Fort Drum! We are so proud of her, and grateful to be on the same team with her!”

“SGT Waits, Good luck on your next journey!” the post continued “You will do amazing things no matter where you are! Climb to Glory!

Comments were disabled almost immediately, and while the reaction count meter was disabled, a cursory scroll revealed that hundreds [if not thousands] of people were more apt to ridicule the post, compared to approximately 25 or so likes.

The Terminal CWO Instagram page was one of many that covered the matter.

“Cool Wig,” the account captioned the screencap.

“What in the fresh Hell has happened to my beloved 10th Mountain!” reellifedad commented.

“Once again I am absolutely amazed at how senior leadership isn’t able to figure out why there is a
recruiting/retention crisis,” another user added.

On November 29, 2016, the United States Department of Defense Directive 1350.2, the United States Department of Defense Military Equal Opportunity Program, was updated to include gender identity.

The decision has been seen as controversial, in no small part due to the high probability of transgender personnel being undeployable due to treatments.

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