The Fort Bragg Scandal: Conduct Most BecomingBy Iain Jackson / Friday, February 3rd, 2006
How many times can the military pretend to be shocked, shocked, simply shocked!
This story seems to come around so often I’m thinking it must be a rite of the new year! A gang of soldiers get outed in a way that forces the military to take notice. The GI’s are outed not as gay men — no, much worst â€“- they’re outed as porn models for gay men, jacking off and getting blowjobs on video.
And lately it’s been even more outrageous. The soldiers are blowing each other! They’re getting screwed up the ass, and taking it like champs. Moaning their GI-rene heads off. Just total little whores! Actually, some of them are monster whores with the wingspans and salami dicks to match!
The military mutters “Oh, crap, not again” but in public they go into furious spin mode. The phrase “a few bad apples” is once again heard throughout the land. GI’s are kicked out left and right, and the brass continues to deny that human nature exists — all kinds of human nature. As ever, the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines prefer to bury their bullnecks deep in the sand … until the next eruption of soldier-on-soldier jizz.
This time it happened at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina. Perhaps as many as seven paratroopers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division stand accused of performing in pornographic material. They will most likely be charged with violations of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Article 134 targets disorderly conduct, indecent acts with another, and — for those enterprising souls who thought they’d make a little “finder’s fee” on the side — soliciting fellow soldiers to commit an offense.
If it were a civilian law and not part of the alternate reality that is military jurisprudence, Article 134 would be struck down as unconstitutionally vague. In effect it allows the military to court martial soldiers for anything the brass may suddenly decide is conduct unbecoming.
An interesting sidebar on this case is where the military stands on prostitution. Though the solders had sex for money, they won’t be charged with prostitution — but for the oddest reason: While both male and female personnel can, and have been, penalized for selling sex, sodomy for money isn’t considered prostitution.
Sodomy exists in its own special military world, with it very own article in the Uniform Code: Article 124. The military, however, will most likely decline to charge their wayward paratroopers under Article 124. Sodomy charges are now highly politicized. Such a charge in a case that is sure to have high visibility will embarrasses the military. At its highest reaches, the brass knows its policy against homosexuals is ill-conceived and on the wrong side of history. They are masters of strategy, the top brass, and can foresee a day when the anti-gay policy will be as much a blot on the organization as the segregation of black units during World War II.
Much depends on how cooperative the paratroopers are with the investigation, of course, but the military will take pains to make clear that the real transgression is that the soldiers made porn, not that they got it on with each other.
For the time being, the accused soldiers have been segregated from the rest of the unit in an undisclosed location. ”We are concerned about the privacy and rights of each trooper involved,” said Martha Rudd, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon, “and that [the soldiers] are treated with dignity and respect.”
More likely, the Army fears the public relations disaster that would result if one of the soldiers got the crap kicked out of him while the country was watching. The Pentagon already has the press on its back: The Army is being widely condemed after it discharged a 19-year old private, Kyle Lawson earlier this month for being gay. In case there’s any confusion, Lawson was not discovered because he was in porn. He wasn’t. The Army learned the boy was gay when he was severely beaten by a fellow soldier (who, by the way, was NOT discharged.)
Homosexuality remains a dicey topic for the armed forces. They do seem to make strenuous efforts not to know about the part-time sexwork of their hardened young warriors. Clearly, there’s no routine monitoring of Active Duty, All Worlds or any of the other home-studios that specialize in soldier boy porn. On the other hand, can you imagine the fallout if the public learned that some lieutenant was assigned to watch gay porn all day — just to catch soldiers who were breaking the rules! In wartime! With a recruitment shortage!
Perhaps, the military believes that the market for soldier boy porn is so marginal as to escape the notice of the wider culture. Most of these films are excruciatingly low-tech, with the same rec room or bedroom recycled over and over again. It’s perhaps reassuring for the brass to assume that the films are low-rent efforts to bankroll the tastes of the filmmakers — tastes that run to pay-for-play young men that the shutterbugs would not be able to afford otherwise.
Yet if the Pentagon imagines that any part of gay life remains in the closet, the Fort Bragg scandal should come as a familiar (by now) reality check. There’s a big audience out there, General — all of them, military-loving men, many former military themselves.
In the crosshairs of the current Fort Bragg investigation is not so much the paratroopers — who are merely collateral damage — but Active Duty, the small but popular porn company in North Carolina, run by Dink Flamingo. It is Flamingo’s films that have caused the current ruckus.
As I understand it, the legal position for the military is fairly limited. Certainly they can make Dink’s life pretty miserable, as they have in the past — throwing lawyers at him, confiscating videos, demanding impossibly detailed documentation to prove that all models are who they say they are, as well as proof of legal age. (Legal age is 18; military recruits can be as young as 17.)
Bottom line, though, Dink has done nothing illegal. It’s not against military law or any other law for him to solicit the soldiers, pay them, film them — any of it. It is against the Uniform Code, though, for the soldiers to accept his money, perform in his videos, or have sex for pay. (Independent of the military investigation, North Carolina television station WRAL is throwing a full-court press at Dink, emailing him, camping out in front of his house, printing the approximate location of his house on its website.)
So far all that has happened is that the Active Duty’s website was taken offline briefly, then brought back with all material behind the membership wall and no way to purchase a new membership — at least for the time being. It is doubtful that the military will try to take legal action against Flamingo, though. Army investigators seem to have learned a bitter lesson from the Bobby Garcia case a few years back.
Garcia specialized in sailors and marines. When he was arrested, his films were confiscated. He was subsequently released without charges, and his videos returned when he went before a judge.
The Navy then had to look on as Garcia promoted his films using their doomed investigation as a hook. In addition, as the details of the investigation became known, the predictable headlines appeared, thundering about “your tax dollars” being used to pay some Navy slug to watch porn all day, searching for unzipped sailors and marines.
Of course, the larger question is why a young soldier would risk the loss of a military paycheck — not to mention veterans’ benefits and a pension — to appear in a homo-sex video. No one is that oblivious, no matter how much he may affect an awful look of being mightily bored even as his dick stands, as the porn writers like to say, at attention. Writer Keith Bryan asked Dink Flamingo this very question in a memorable Nightcharm interview.
“A lot of these guys are really exhibitionists at heart,” replied Dink. “They want to show off.” After a moment’s reflection, he added, “The number one reason that most men do this is a) they’re lonely and b) they want someone to like them. They want to be admired.”
I have to admit that my sympathy for the accused paratroopers is somewhat … limited. The military’s stand on these matters is well-known. Dink has even said that the military warns the guys about him. (It doesn’t seem to work, does it?) I suppose for many boys, it’s easy money for not a ton of work. I do wonder, though, how many soldiers would do this if the military paid better.
But that would spoil all our fun, wouldn’t it.
And I do enjoy the Active Duty videos. They are an exception to my rule that I hate videos with nothing but pretty young things in them. Yes, the production quality can suck (and not in a good way) — although overall it has improved in the last year or so. There aren’t any stories or themes, not even the truncated ones you see in standard studio porn. But when you watch a couple of Active Duty videos in a row, as I do, you pretty much see American Psyches on Parade.
You have the good-looking but ordinary guys who discover that they love, love, *love* the camera. They know that just behind the lens, thousands of guys are getting off on them, and that’s just what they want. They may have convinced themselves that they are newly bisexual. Maybe they are. But they all seem to follow the cheerful philosophy of one of my favorite pornster’s of the 80′s, Drew Andrews.
“If they’ve got a hole, I’ll fuck it,” Drew once explained. “If they’ve got a dick, they can fuck me.”
Next, you have the guys who are painfully straight. Hot looking, yes, but very dull, sexually. They’re the ones who just close their eyes and think about the grass growing even though they getting a royal pipe cleaning from a master like Dink. You also have the guys who are sick of military life and are giving the finger to all its tight-assed rules. Finally, and most fascinating to me, you have the guys who honestly don’t quite understand what the hell they’re doing there.
Swedish, for example. He’s one of Dink’s recurring players. Often he looks like he’s positively tingling, he enjoys getting fucked so much — yet at the same time he’s utterly, transcendentally pissed that he’s enjoying it. Kody, on the other hand, has this how on earth did I get here look. In one video, he tells fellow soldier Dirk that he should never say there are things he wouldn’t do. Dink, he explains, has a way o f talking his way around those barriers. In short, with all the naked psyches parading past your screen, you get a sense that you’re watching real people having real sex — something that can go missing in more polished studio fare. It makes Flamingo’s videos immediate, arousing, sometimes surprising.
The Army will likely do its damnedest to make the Fort Bragg unpleasantness go away quickly and quietly. The soldiers will be counseled to admit their video-documented guilt, and then it will be all over but for the formalities. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of benefits. It’ll be a mark against the young men, sure, but it’s not exactly the Abu Ghraib prison abuse.
Meanwhile military porn will go on. And on.
Want more militray guys? Check out these Nightcharm features
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The GI-renes of Dink Flamingo are currently at play
in the Military Men section of the Video Lauchpad
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