House Republican Navy SEALs  Question DoD for Prioritizing Pride Over Warfighting Capabilities

House Republican Navy SEALs Question DoD for Prioritizing Pride Over Warfighting Capabilities

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
June 4, 2024

As June ushers in Pride Month, institutions are commemorating the event with displays, parades, and gestures of support, including the U.S. military, as evidenced by the Navy SEALs' recent social media post. However, Representatives Mike Waltz (R-FL), Eli Crane (R-AZ), and Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), the latter two being former SEALs, have voiced their concerns, arguing that the Pentagon and SOCOM's focus on Pride Month is diverting attention from pressing issues related to military effectiveness and warfighting capabilities.

Rep. Crane, a former SEAL himself, briefly commented on the SEALs' acknowledgment of Pride Month as "disappointing."

"I mean, to me, that stuff is such a distraction. I have always believed, and I know a lot of old-timers believe that the military, regardless of what branch, should be focused on lethality [and] the mission and not that nonsense. So yeah, that is what I thought," Rep. Crane said.

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Rep. Waltz, a former U.S. Army Green Beret, began by clarifying that "It gets misconstrued as having an issue with one's sexuality. I do not, that is between them, their religion, [and] their family, what have you. I just think it is a lack of priorities on this Pentagon when we have so many warfighting issues."

The Florida Congressman pointed out that the U.S. Marine Corps lacks amphibious vehicles, "40% of our submarines cannot leave the repair yards." Many barracks have fallen into disrepair and decay, mentioning an incident where "we just had to expel a bunch of Marines from barracks that were so overrun with cockroaches."

"I can keep going down the list where I think the Pentagon should be focused and fixing," Rep. Waltz continued, further adding that he lacked the understanding and wanted "data where there is a large body of either existing servicemembers that are in the LGBTQ community that are feeling welcome or a large body of recruits that are in the LGBTQ community that would join if they would feel more like... Where is the data that is driving this expenditure of efforts and prioritization?"

Rep. Van Orden, a former SEAL as well who appeared in the 2012 film Act of Valor, was harshest in condemning the gesture in his comments to The Floridian, saying, "It is called the SEAL Teams, not the SEAL Me's."

By this, he meant, "Every time you do something, you do something where you intentionally call out the differences between members of the SEAL Teams, it is wrong. It is not cohesive. It does not lead to cohesiveness."

When Rep. Van Orden asked how celebrating Pride Month enhances the SEALs' lethality "so we can seek out, hunt down, and kill the enemies of America that are trying to kill us?" he said he was met with silence.

"That does not increase the lethality of our forces or promote the health and welfare of our forces is wrong and bad, and they should collectively be ashamed of themselves. SOCOM should be ashamed of themselves, and the Department of Defense should be ashamed of themselves because pointing out differences between our troops is bad," Van Orden concluded.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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