Keep it outside the squadron, kids
Donald Sensing posted something a few weeks back, about some military force (not the US, likely) instructing its members not to sleep with each other, because it harms morale. Unfortunately, the link in his post did not lead me to the article he cited. But weigh in on the topic, I will.

If you haven't figured it out already, I just came back from a year of active duty in the War on Terrorism. I started this blog while deployed overseas for that duty. I observed a few things that will be described, in due time, in this space, as I figure out what safely to say about it and what not to. This is the first.

Trying to keep young men and women working and living together, and sharing hardship, from knocking boots is like keeping them from getting tattoos. I spent nearly six months at one location, a logistics center, where the split was nearly 60-40 men to women. There was ample evidence that sexual congress was occurring, and clear communication that Uncle Sugar disapproved of it. It is the first instance I've seen of the term "fraternization" applied to anything other than that (properly) harshly forbidden between officers and enlisted folks.

As Donald quoted in his post:
. . . sleeping with fellow soldiers of either sex, or indeed their partners, would be bad for morale, threatening "mutual trust and soldiers' willingness to help each other."

I agree. It can't be stopped, but it should be limited. Soldiers will accept the limits, if the reasons for such limits can be articulated. And the reason is right there in the quote. Mutual trust, morale, unit cohesion are undermined if sex or even courting is taking place among people who work that closely together, even if they are of the same rank. It can be as damaging as O-on-E fraternization.

Keep it outside the squadron. Don't even date within the squadron. Look after the people in your own unit like brothers and sisters. SPs, you can pursue the Loggies. Fire dogs, hit on the babe in the command post. And so forth. But not inside your immediate unit---not anyone who has the same first shirt as you. It's like incest.

I realize that many military marriages started out this way, and it verges on hypocrisy for me to weigh in against it, because my wife and I met through work. Still, the reason for such a prohibition is not hard to argue, nor hard to understand.

Please see my lone comment at Donald's post also.

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