Naval Air Force ensign alleges anti-gay harassment

Sat. August 14, 2010 12:34 PM by News Staff

Oceana, Virginia - When you're assigned a "call sign" in the Air Force or Naval Air Force, it's a nickname that sticks with you for life. You might hope for "Tiger" or "Terminator." But Ensign Steve Crowston got assigned "Romo's Bitch."

The Call sign is just one of the ways that Crowston says he was harassed while he was stationed Strike Fighter Squadron 136 at Naval Air Station, Oceana, Virigninia.

FOX News reports that fellow officers called Crowston into a room that had several "call sign" options on a white board: "Cowboy," "Gay Boy," "Fagmeister," "Cowgirl," "Romo's Bitch," "TO," "Terrell Owens" and "Redskins."

Superior officers were part of the vote, and they settled on "Romo's Bitch."

Call signs are more than nicknames; they are used on military paperwork and over the radio. They follow an officer throughout his career.

Crowston, who does not want to reveal his sexuality, said it was just part of a pattern of anti-gay abuse.

In May, a Navy investigation declared his accusations "unfounded." But since then, the investigation has been re-opened.

"There needs to be acknowledgment that this is improper content — there's obviously an issue with call signs — and I'm seeking acknowledgment that this is improper conduct within the aviator community," Crowston told FOX News. "I hope that people that have the courage to step up and know right from wrong and say something. I'm standing up for what I feel is right."