February 10, 2014

Exclusive: My Name is Brett Jones, I Am A Navy SEAL, And I Am Gay

The people with whom I’ve worked in the Special Operations community are more concerned with an individual’s contribution to the team, and their ability to do their job exceptionally well, than their race or sexual preferences. It’s meritocracy in its purest form, and a wonderful example set by the Special Operations community, from which others can and should learn.

Gays in Special Operations existed long before the inception and eventual death of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell (DADT). And while politicians and religious fanatics made a fuss about gays serving in the military, these men and women proudly served their country in silence, and earned the respect of their peers until DADT was eventually repealed. 

I was a BUD/S 215 classmate of Brett Jones, had no idea he was gay at the time, and I am proud to call him my friend. His story is below.  -Brandon Webb, Editor-in-Chief, SOFREP.com

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” -General George S. Patton

My Name is Brett Jones, I Am A Navy SEAL, And I Am Gay

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“The alarm is always too loud,” I thought to myself as I rolled over to turn off the annoying, illuminated noise machine.  Making the decision to not take a shower for a little more sleep was an easy one.  Last night’s dive was long and cold.  Since I was going to be back in the water soon enough, staying dry for now was a must.

It took a second try to get my Jeep to start in the morning cold.  The heater finally got warm just as I was entering the front gate of the Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk, Virginia.  After I parked in front of the SEAL Team 8 building, I grabbed my phone and started listening to my voicemail, watching as, one-by-one, people arrived at work.

“Hey Brett, this is Mike, we met at the Cactus and I was wondering if you’re doing anything tomorrow night. Give me a call back.” “Nice!” I thought as I closed the flip phone and nervously glanced around the parking lot as if somebody could have heard that voicemail.  I had met Mike at a gay bar in Virginia Beach the week prior. He must have called last night when I was on my dive.

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The Navy had a Don’t-ask Don’t-tell policy (DADT), and I had met a number of people at gay bars in the area who still had been dishonorably discharged for it.  Being a Navy SEAL and gay proposed its own set of problems.  Fortunately for me, it was not obvious to people that I was gay.  If I wanted to go out on a date with Mike (which I did), I was going to have to do some serious lying.

First, I was going to have to lie to my SEAL teammates.  I absolutely hated it when I did that.  It was Friday and they would no doubt try to get me to go out with them after our last dive.  Second, I was going to lie to Mike, because there is no way in hell I was going to tell him truthfully what I did and who I worked for.  I’m not proud of the lies, but living under the rule of DADT left me few options in such a small close-knit community.

Being gay is not a choice.  In fact, I can remember countless nights of restless sleep praying for God to help me find women attractive in that way.  As Garth Brooks says, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are un-answered prayers.” Though it took me a while to fully understand, I know now, that our diversity is one of the greatest gifts this world has to offer.

It can be very difficult to accept who you are, especially in an environment that has a history of treating LBGT  (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) people negatively.  At the time, the thought of my teammates discovering my secret was terrifying.  Eventually, I was forced out of the closet to my SEAL team, and I discovered that it was not as bad as I had made it in my mind. Sure, there were guys who would whisper and talk behind my back, but overall my SEAL brothers supported me.  For that, I will always be thankful.  It was because of that support, from my brothers, that I could proudly say, “My name is Brett Jones, I am a Navy SEAL, and I am gay.”

About the Author

is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with combat deployments to Afghanistan, and Iraq. During his last tour he served as the west coast sniper Course Manager at the Naval Special Warfare Center. He is Editor-in-Chief of SOFREP.com, and a New York Times best selling author (The Red Circle & Benghazi: The Definitive Report). His writing has been featured in print, and digital media worldwide. You can follow him on twitter here.

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  • MikeyMEU86

    It's an awesome thing to hear my brothers in arms living life to the fullest. Respect to you and you're teammates Brett. . Respectfully, . MikeyMEU86

  • LadyValor

    Virginstateofmind  LadyValor  Yes, its right there at Harvard.  I was there a couple of weeks ago giving some speeches.... I look forward to extending my education into the same direction as Thoreau and find some peace in my own way. That would be cool to at least meet her :)

  • LadyValor

    KESStrong LadyValor Virginstateofmind  Recon6 KineticFury  haha.... GI Jane Not even close to the real thing.  It is too bad that hollywood always gets it wrong. Like I said, one day a woman will be in the SEALs after "earning" her way just like all of us in BUD/S..... I hope I am still alive to see it :)

  • LadyValor

    Virginstateofmind LadyValorRecon6KineticFury Draven, I 100% agree, I was NOT the "first female Navy SEAL".... but dang doesn't that title stir up some good dialog about where we are as SOF and more importantly were we are in 2014 as "humans" and our prejudices, glass ceilings, bigotry and divisivness. One day soon, women will be going through BUD/S, at the same standards that I went through... she will be the real first female Navy SEAL.... I want to help get her the chance to get there, so I want to challenge a few people and start more dialog and "take some heat" while getting there. v/r Kristin Beck

  • Recon6

    LadyValor Recon6KineticFury  Hopefully REP will provide a further platform, either way I will obtain a copy of your book....6