Thankfully, outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, four-star Army General Mark Milley’s end-of-tour award citation narrowly escaped the Pentagon’s wokification efforts before it was issued.
General Milley retires at the end of September when his four-year term as Joint Chiefs Chairman ends.
On August 7, the Department of Defense issued an update to its regulation for joint declarations and awards. Change 5 requires that “gender-neutral” pronouns be used for the six most prestigious joint service awards.
According to Change 5, the wording should include the recipient’s rank, name, and branch and then state that this officer (quote) “distinguished themselves by superior meritorious service in a position of significant responsibility.” The position, duty assignment, and time served in that assignment follow.
According to Change 5, General Milley distinguished — not himself — but themselves.
How ungrammatical. How awkward. But General Milley’s citation, drafted the old way, needed to be fixed.
Somebody in the Pentagon told the Daily Signal about Change 5. Reporters Cully Stimson and Dakota Wood broke the story.
When Senator Tom Cotton, a retired Army officer, got wind of the change, he took the opportunity to poke some fun at it in a public letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “The Department’s embrace of far-left gender ideology doesn’t merely subvert the English language in ways that would astonish George Orwell. Worse,” wrote the senator, “it exemplifies a Pentagon leadership consumed by the fads of the faculty lounge at a time when the Army can’t hit its recruiting goals.
The Senator also asked the Secretary some serious questions, like: “Who approved this?” and “…can service members request the use of the male or female pronoun on their award citations and at award and retirement ceremonies?”
That answer, according to a Pentagon spokesperson was “Yes”. But the default pronoun is themselves.
No longer. On September 19, the Pentagon quietly posted Change 6, reversing the pronoun rule. Good work, Daily Signal.