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"I was lying in order to enlist in the military and serve my country, while there were some of my contemporaries who were lying to avoid serving in the military." (Video interview, 4:52)

   Nathaniel Glover Butler
Collection image
Nathaniel Butler [detail from video]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Navy
Unit: USS Ticonderoga
Service Location: Pacific Ocean; California; Vietnam
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
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Graduating from college in 1968, Nathaniel Butler decided to enlist in the Navy rather than face the uncertainty of a draft assignment. In addition to the inherent challenges that came with serving during the Vietnam era, he also struggled as a gay man in an intolerant environment. Despite his strong sense of the injustice of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, he maintains positive feelings about his time in the Navy, and is glad to have served.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (76 min.)
More like this
»Vietnam War: Looking Back
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Entrance into the service; answering questions about his sexual orientation; lying about the answers; arriving at Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island; bitter cold at OCS. (02:39) Serving on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam; the difficulty jets had in landing on aircraft carrier; reasons for second transfer to Vietnam; arrival in Vietnam; stationed at Nha Be. (05:44) Arriving back in the States after time overseas; shock of reentry; feeling rootless; applying to and attending Harvard Business School; getting an administrative job at Massachusetts General Hospital. (03:20)
Thoughts on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy. (03:18) Positive feelings about time in service; thoughts on the benefits of public service. (01:16) 

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  October 26, 2011
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