Officials from the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, are investigating a Facebook post by a unit chaplain denigrating transgender troops.
The post was made Monday, on a story mentioning Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s support for President Joe Biden ending a service ban on transgender people.
“How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve,” Andrew Calvert posted on the Army Times Facebook page Monday. “There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
“The motivation is different,” Calvert continued, “but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”
In an email to Military Times, officials from the 3rd SFAB confirmed that Calvert is an active-duty major and a unit chaplain.
“We are aware of Maj. Calvert’s social media post on the Army Times Facebook page,” Army Maj. Jefferson T. Grimes, a 3rd SFAB spokesman, told Military Times in an email. “The matter is currently under investigation. We support the commander in chief, secretary of defense and all DoD policies and directives.
“We direct our soldiers to ‘Think, Type, Post’ when engaging in conversations on social media platforms and to follow DoD policies and regulations,” said Grimes. “When our online conduct does not follow these rules and regulations, we investigate and hold individuals accountable if they are found to be in violation.”
Calvert, through the command, declined comment.
On a personal website, Calvert — who calls himself “Chap Calvert” — talks about the importance of ensuring “that each Service Member is afforded the right to practice his/her faith in accordance with the First Amendment of the US Constitution.”
Calvert, 41, has been in the Army since 2009 and has earned the Bronze Star among other awards and commendations, according to the 3rd SFAB.
On Monday, Biden signed an executive order ending a ban on transgender troops being able to serve.
It requires both the Pentagon and the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the Coast Guard, to remove gender identity as a bar to service.
“The all-volunteer force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the rigorous standards for military service, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security,” according to a release from the White House.
The move puts to bed a controversy that began in July 2017, when then-President Donald Trump tweeted that “after consultation with my generals and military experts” he would no longer allow transgender Americans to serve in the military.
That announcement, which took nearly two years to put into policy, came little more than a year after then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter officially lifted the Defense Department’s long-standing ban on transgender service members. Following Carter’s move, the services implemented policy that allowed currently serving troops to undergo transitions to their preferred gender and be recognized as such in DoD personnel systems.
Austin stated his support for Biden’s move and ordered the military to “immediately take appropriate policy action to ensure individuals who identify as transgender are eligible to enter and serve in their self-identified gender.”
These changes “will ensure no one will be separated or discharged, or denied reenlistment, solely on the basis of gender identity,” Austin said. “Prospective recruits may serve in their self-identified gender when they have met the appropriate standards for accession into the military services.”
The revised policy, he said, “will also ensure all medically-necessary transition related care authorized by law is available to all service members and will re-examine all cases of transgender service members that may be in some form of adverse administrative proceedings.”
Austin said that “in the next 60 days, I look forward to working with the senior civilian and military leaders of the department as we expeditiously develop the appropriate policies and procedures to implement these changes.
“The United States armed forces are in the business of defending our fellow citizens from our enemies, foreign and domestic. I believe we accomplish that mission more effectively when we represent all our fellow citizens. I also believe we should avail ourselves of the best possible talent in our population, regardless of gender identity. We would be rendering ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and who have the skills and the devotion to serve in uniform.”
A service member’s gender orientation is “none of” Calvert’s business, retired Navy SEAL Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Kristin Beck told Military Times.
Beck, whose 21-year career included a stint with SEAL Team 6, a Bronze Star with V-Device and a Purple Heart, said she began living her “true life” as a woman after leaving the service in 2011.
“Chaplains should support all troops and their belief systems, said Beck, 54. “And if they don’t, they are constitutionally in conflict.”
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.