POSTED: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 4:25pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 7:09pm
FORT BLISS- Tuesday marks a historic day in our country. For the first time ever, homosexuals can serve openly in the U.S. military.
For Sergeant Major Cornell Grate, the historic repeal of "Don't ask don't tell" might not affect him personally, but he knows how close it hits home to others.
"It’s probably been an ongoing issue for a long time that has been near and dear to certain soldiers within our ranks,” said Grate.
Grate says that allowing gay service men and women to serve openly will actual increase productivity in the armed forces.
"We will have to adhere to what the DADT policy is, and how it will affect our military from a standpoint of our readiness, which I feel it will not hinder our readiness, it will only enhance it,” said Grate.
Grate also says he is aware not everyone is in support of the repeal, however he feels those who disagree will still have respect for one other.
"There is going to be challenges amongst the soldiers and amongst the leaders as far as their personal opinions and personal about this policy, but we are professionals,” said Grate.
In a statement to Newschannel Nine, Fort Bliss spokesperson Major Myles Caggins says “Soldiers can be certain that they are free to defend the united states regardless of their sexual orientation.”
However some worry the new policy could create new conflict.
"It definitely seems like it could cause some tension in the ranks, especially when you are being deployed overseas. You’re in tight quarters with a lot of people and if that is public knowledge, their sexual orientation could cause a conflict,” said Brian Clayville.
Grate say he still thinks the military is doing the right thing.
"The message the army is sending is that you can serve within our ranks, no matter what your preference is,” said Grate.
According to a 2010 UCLA study, more than 14,000 men and woman have been discharged from the military for being gay since DADT became law in 1993.