'We're Already Here': A Renewed Transgender Ban Would Kill This Seasoned Army Grunt's Long Career

news

Staff Sgt. Patricia King has been proud to deploy downrange three times in her 18-year Army career. But she may have to resign without retirement benefits if President Trump re-imposes a ban on transgender troops serving in the military.


“I’m always optimistic,” King told Task & Purpose as she waits for the president’s decision, which is expected within the next month. “The notion that we can no longer serve our country and give back to our country that we love is something that we can’t afford to lose. We love our country just like any other citizen does and the opportunity to continue to serve is something that we value. We’re already here. We’re already doing the job. It’s not something that any one of us is ready to give up on.”

King began her transition from male to female in November 2015. Prior to that, she deployed three times to Afghanistan – during her first, she took part in Operation Anaconda as a squad automatic weapon gunner with the 10th Mountain Division – and once to Kuwait, she said.

On Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis made his recommendation to President Trump about whether to allow transgender service members to stay in the military. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Mattis was expected to recommend that transgender troops be allowed to stay in the military, but a Pentagon refused could neither confirm the story was accurate nor indicate what Mattis’ recommendation is.

One argument in favor of not allowing transgender troops to serve is that their medical needs make them non-deployable. But King said there have been only “nominal periods of time” that she could not deploy due to follow-up surgeries and she has managed to schedule most of those procedures around Christmas and summer leave.

“I am 100 percent deployable,” King said. “My readiness has always been my top priority. Selfless service is one of our core Army values. I had a surgery in November and I climbed a mountain last weekend.”

The Defense Department does not track how many transgender troops are in the military, according to the Pentagon. Service members are listed as either male or female.

A transgender Marine told Task & Purpose that his chain of command has provided him with amazing support, but he wants people to stop fixating on his gender.

“I want my career and character to speak to the kind of person I am and what I can achieve, not be limited by someone’s ill-informed personal opinion of my impact,” said the Marine, who asked that his name not be used out of concern of possible retaliation.

“They have already put me in a box and defined me as mentally ill or incapable of honorably serving,” the Marine added. “I can tell you that me being trans has nothing to do with my morals or ethics, and yet I have been reduced to nothing but what they already assume of me.”

WATCH NEXT:

Want to read more from Task & Purpose? Sign up for our daily newsletter »

Roughly a dozen U.S. troops showing concussion-related symptoms are being medically evacuated from Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, a defense official told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.

Read More

In a Galaxy — err, I mean, on a military base far, far away, soldiers are standing in solidarity with galactic freedom fighters.

Sitting at the top of an Army press release from March 2019, regarding the East Africa Response Force's deployment to Gabon, the photo seems, at first glance, just like any other: Soldiers on the move.

But if you look closer at the top right, you'll find something spectacular: A Rebel Alliance flag.

Read More
The maiden flight of the first CMV-22B Osprey took place in Amarillo, Texas (Courtesy photo)

The first of the CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft the Navy plans on adopting as its carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft of choice has successfully completed its first flight operations, manufacturer Boeing announced on Tuesday.

Read More
A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army

Another 300 lawsuits against 3M flooded federal courts this month as more military veterans accuse the behemoth manufacturer of knowingly making defective earplugs that caused vets to lose hearing during combat in Iraq or Afghanistan or while training on U.S. military bases.

On another front, 3M also is fighting lawsuits related to a class of chemicals known as PFAS, with the state of Michigan filing a lawsuit last week against the Maplewood-based company.

To date, nearly 2,000 U.S. veterans from Minnesota to California and Texas have filed more than 1,000 lawsuits.

Read More

GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States' failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and "brutal and inhumane" U.S. sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set an end-December deadline for denuclearization talks with the United States and White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said at the time the United States had opened channels of communication.

O'Brien said then he hoped Kim would follow through on denuclearization commitments he made at summits with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Read More