Sgt. Maj. John Troxell. Screenshot via NORAD NORTHCOM

A high-ranking military adviser whose job is to speak on behalf of enlisted service members says those service members truly don’t care about being asked to serve alongside trans people and women. Army Command Sergeant Major John Troxell said in his experience, most troops are “beyond it already.”


Troxell is Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, a job created in 2005 to act as a spokesperson within the Department of Defense for enlisted troops. It is, in other words, Troxell’s job to take the temperature of ordinary service members. He told the Military Times in a recent interview that integrating trans people and women is what the Pentagon has decided to do, and anybody who has a problem should get over it posthaste.

Troxell said he hasn’t found a significant number of troops who seem upset about serving with women and trans people: “This is how they’ve grown up.” He adds:


Q. The military services are implementing two big cultural changes by integrating women into combat jobs and allowing transgender individuals to join and serve openly in the military.

A. As I go around the force, the troops are beyond it already. ... In the end, this is how they’ve grown up, and they’re about “hey, that’s my battle buddy. I don’t care.”

From my perspective, a warrior is a warrior is a warrior. We have standards on what we expect out of an infantryman, an artilleryman, an armor crew member, a reconnaissance person, and those standards have to remain sound. Because those are the standards and the skills necessary to be able to defeat an enemy.

It’s all about talent management ... and regardless of what gender they are, if they can execute that standard, then we’ll allow them to do it.

He added, pointedly, that the military is about following orders, and the orders are to serve alongside a diverse troop force without whining:

Q. What might you say to those service members who still have concerns about these changes?

A. The key thing about being a leader is, first and foremost, we execute the orders of our elected officials and the leaders over us. And so, the secretary of defense said we’re going to integrate transgenders. And we’re going to allow women to serve in combat roles. So the message all the way down to the lowest leader is we’re executing this. So get beyond having this personal opinion about it and figure out how you’re going to get after it.

The military is, of course, riddled with a variety of systemic issues, including a devastating and pervasive level of sexual assault, and Troxell’s phrasing of “integrating transgenders” is cringeworthy. But that kind of generous, welcoming sentiment coming from a man who’s served in the Army since 1982 can only be a sign of progress.