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Sgt. Richard Hicks
(? - living) U.S.A.

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Navy officer


During a routine "health and welfare" barracks check - the Army's euphemism for a random alcohol and drug search - one night after visitation hours had ended, Robert Hicks, a Korean specialist, was found in the room of his lover of nine months, Alistair Gamble, an Arabist.

Hicks was due to ship out to Korea and the couple were spending their last evening together. Hicks' presence in Gamble's room gave the NCOs on duty the authority to search the room, an effort that turned up pictures of the couple together and gay-themed videos, but nothing specifically sexual.

Nevertheless, the search results were logged as "possible homosexual conduct," a finding that led to fuller investigations and the discharge of both men.

According to other gay and lesbian servicemembers, the search of Gamble's room and the discovery of another gay couple spending intimate time together at the DLI the same evening changed the prevailing atmosphere at the school, a shift that led to many more discharges.

After his discharge, Gamble recalled, "DLI was not a hostile environment. I didn't officially come out, but I had an ever-present male companion."

Hicks said that prior to the search of Gamble's room, "Of course people knew, but nobody cared."

Sgt. Richard Hicks, 25-year career Navy officer fought against his discharge after he came out as gay in 1975: "It seems ironic to me that we who have served in the military and have served well fighting to protect the Constitution are not protected by the Constitution."


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