Jul 14, 2009
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Long time lurker here... I'm a P2, and am really interested in finding out more about the public health service and working for them in the future. I understand that you can work either as a civilian or as a commissioned officer. I also understand that the PHS commissioned corps is one of the uniformed services of the US govt. My understanding is that they are not part of the U.S. armed forces, i.e. they are not part of the department of defense, but rather they are under the department of health and human services.

What am I getting at, is can anyone clarify if officers can be openly gay in the PHSCC, or does the "don't ask don't tell" policy apply here? I'm not asking about if it's a good idea to be openly gay while working on an indian reservation or in a federal prison or whatever, I'm wondering if there is any official policy in the PHS that is similar to DADT?

(Who knows if by the time I graduate DADT will still be relevant even in the US armed forces... but that's sort of besides the point for right now.)

Thanks for any clarification.

ETA:
I guess I found my answer here: http://www.equalitymaryland.org/pdfs/dadt_survival_guide.pdf

The Public Health Service (PHS) is one of the seven
"uniformed services" but it is not part of the "armed
forces." While the entire PHS can be militarized, this
has not been done since the Korean War. As a general
rule, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't
Harass" does not apply to Public Health Service
(PHS) commissioned officers. Being openly gay is
neither a bar to appointment in the PHS nor a bar to
continued service. PHS officers "when assigned to or
serving with the armed forces"164 (Army, Navy, Air
Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard), are subject to
the UCMJ, including Article 125 (Sodomy), Article 133
(Conduct Unbecoming), and Article 134 (Indecent
Acts), and military regulations, including "Don't Ask,
Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't Harass."
In peacetime, PHS officers usually have the ability to
decline a posting to the military and, in turn, avoid any
difficulty. In wartime, the ability to decline a post will
most likely be over ridden by the needs of the service.


Though if anyone has anything to add, confirm , or negate, I'd appreciate it.

On another note, I was also wondering what the medical examination entails, and what medical conditions would exclude one from being able to serve in the PHSCC? Anyone know where I could find that information?
 
Last edited:

aboveliquidice

No sacrifice - No victory
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2006
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Long time lurker here... I'm a P2, and am really interested in finding out more about the public health service and working for them in the future. I understand that you can work either as a civilian or as a commissioned officer. I also understand that the PHS commissioned corps is one of the uniformed services of the US govt. My understanding is that they are not part of the U.S. armed forces, i.e. they are not part of the department of defense, but rather they are under the department of health and human services.

What am I getting at, is can anyone clarify if officers can be openly gay in the PHSCC, or does the "don't ask don't tell" policy apply here? I'm not asking about if it's a good idea to be openly gay while working on an indian reservation or in a federal prison or whatever, I'm wondering if there is any official policy in the PHS that is similar to DADT?

(Who knows if by the time I graduate DADT will still be relevant even in the US armed forces... but that's sort of besides the point for right now.)

Thanks for any clarification.

ETA:
I guess I found my answer here: http://www.equalitymaryland.org/pdfs/dadt_survival_guide.pdf

The Public Health Service (PHS) is one of the seven
"uniformed services" but it is not part of the "armed
forces." While the entire PHS can be militarized, this
has not been done since the Korean War. As a general
rule, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't
Harass" does not apply to Public Health Service
(PHS) commissioned officers. Being openly gay is
neither a bar to appointment in the PHS nor a bar to
continued service. PHS officers "when assigned to or
serving with the armed forces"164 (Army, Navy, Air
Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard), are subject to
the UCMJ, including Article 125 (Sodomy), Article 133
(Conduct Unbecoming), and Article 134 (Indecent
Acts), and military regulations, including "Don't Ask,
Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't Harass."
In peacetime, PHS officers usually have the ability to
decline a posting to the military and, in turn, avoid any
difficulty. In wartime, the ability to decline a post will
most likely be over ridden by the needs of the service.


Though if anyone has anything to add, confirm , or negate, I'd appreciate it.

On another note, I was also wondering what the medical examination entails, and what medical conditions would exclude one from being able to serve in the PHSCC? Anyone know where I could find that information?
I cannot imagine it being an issue in the PHS assuming you are never posted under a military command. This has happened in recent years - such as the Katrina issue and 9/11. It would be a negative mark against you if you were supposed to go and help, but declined for personal reasons. Declining orders is never a positive thing in the uniformed service.

With that said - How reliable is the source? I would use caution with any source that is pro one side of any confrontation.
 

Caverject

15+ Year Member
Aug 19, 2003
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Don't ask dont tell still applies if you are in the PHS.

I find that the military as a whole is extremely lax on enforcing this rule. Take that for what you wish...
 
May 15, 2009
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Status
Pharmacist
In wartime, the ability to decline a post will
most likely be over ridden by the needs of the service.
We may not be "at war" with another country but the US Military is engaged in the WOT (War on Terrorism)...not exactly sure how that would affect you...just don't stare at anyone's junk in the shower and you'll probably be fine...shoot u probably get private showers as an officer anyways.

Like Caverject said, pretty lax.
 
OP
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Jul 14, 2009
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Status
Pharmacy Student
thanks for the responses, everyone. it's a little disconcerting that DADT can/does apply to the PHS, but I guess it's good to know it's usually a non-issue.
 

aboveliquidice

No sacrifice - No victory
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2006
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Why is it disconcerting?
I am beginning to think that it is a bit antiquated...

The military was applauded when it smashed the racial barrier - few organizations have as much integration as the armed forces... You would think that being Gay would be less confrontational than segregation.

If one of my soldiers were gay - I am pretty sure I wouldn't care. I would still caution him to keep it on the DL though. Fact is, if you are gay and in the service - you better not let it be known right now.
 

Caverject

15+ Year Member
Aug 19, 2003
7,725
29
I am beginning to think that it is a bit antiquated...

The military was applauded when it smashed the racial barrier - few organizations have as much integration as the armed forces... You would think that being Gay would be less confrontational than segregation.

If one of my soldiers were gay - I am pretty sure I wouldn't care. I would still caution him to keep it on the DL though. Fact is, if you are gay and in the service - you better not let it be known right now.
would you still be for it if it brought down the morale in your unit? I know what my answer would be...