Why On Earth Does The U.S. Navy Even Need A Drag Queen Ambassador?

Sailors lining-up on the USS Carl Vinson
Jake Warga/Getty Images

The U.S. Navy, facing an uphill battle to recruit new members, decided one good way to go about the task is to deploy a drag queen influencer.

The Navy named Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley the first of five “Digital Ambassadors” for a recruitment program that lasted from October through March. Kelley dresses in drag and goes by the stage name of Harpy Daniels.

“Thank you to the Navy for giving me this opportunity! I don’t speak for the Navy but simply sharing my experience in the Navy! Hooyah, and let’s go Slay!” Kelley said in a post on Instagram. Kelley has also chronicled his journey of being a “non-binary” drag queen with the Navy through Instagram and TikTok accounts.

Kelley is part of a program “designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates” as the Navy faces “the most challenging recruiting environment it has faced since the start of the all-volunteer force,” a Navy spokesperson told Fox News. The initiative was an attempt to “explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates,” and it had concluded in April, a U.S. Navy spokesperson told The Daily Caller.

But why? Why does the Navy need a drag queen to recruit young men into the military? And why does the Navy need to lean into the debate about drag shows and LGBTQ expression, especially after the disastrous partnership between Bud Light and transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney?

None other than Robert J. O’Neill, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who was part of the Team Six mission that took out Osama bin Laden, blasted the military branch’s new drag-queen recruitment campaign.

“I can’t believe I fought for this bulls***,” he said.

O’Neill, who said he fired the bullet that killed bin Laden during the May 2, 2011, raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, went on a tear on Twitter on Wednesday, blasting out messages to his nearly 600,000 followers.

“Alright. The US Navy is now using an enlisted sailor Drag Queen as a recruiter. I’m done. China is going to destroy us. YOU GOT THIS NAVY. I can’t believe I fought for this bulls***,” O’Neill wrote.

A few hours later, he went further, writing: “You’re doing it wrong, @USNavy … Talk to someone whose [sic] actually done something! Not yeomen with t*** and a [slang word for penis].”

A slew of critics also blasted the move. “This is beyond disturbing. I’m a former military officer and I just can’t believe what our brass is doing,” one former military officer said, Fox News reported.

“Not this Navy veteran. I’m ashamed of the Navy,” wrote another veteran. “It’s an insult to every veteran. The army kept making me go to trans EO-type classes before I retired. Nope. Didn’t go.”

And a few lawmakers were particularly peeved.

“Woke, partisan officials are projecting weakness abroad and divisiveness at home,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who serves as the chairman of the House Military Personnel Subcommittee. “The recruitment shortage is a serious crisis that we must address with serious solutions. TikTok videos of drag queens are just making a bad problem worse,” he told Fox News.

“Maybe the Navy should talk to Bud Light marketing and exchange notes about what NOT to do,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a former Navy SEAL, wrote on social media.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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