Sgt. Brandon Morgan, the gay marine whose homecoming kiss with his boyfriend Dalan Wells went viral yesterday has revealed that their passionate embrace was the couple’s first ever.
Sgt. Brandon Morgan, of Oakdale, California, told Khon2.com how a four year friendship with Windward Oahu artist Dalan Wells turned to long-distance love while he was serving with the US Marines in Afghanistan.
Brandon Morgan said: “We couldn’t talk, I can barely talk now, his hands went numb, my legs were shaking, our first kiss after just knowing how we felt about each other.”
Picture of Sgt. Brandon Morgan leaping into the arms of boyfriend Dalan Wells was taken by friend Dave Lewis and posted onto Facebook.
Since going live on Saturday the photo has received thousands of comments and tens of thousands of “likes” or shares.
Brandon Morgan added: “Most of the responses have been like oh my god I can’t believe you’re in love, congratulations. My mom’s happy that I’m finally happy, my parents are ecstatic.
“We were actually cornered in the supermarket this afternoon, like you’re the famous guys aren’t you?”
“We were at the commissary on base, we were just trying to get milk. Everybody says, <<Oh you’re a hero>>. I’m not a hero. The heroes are the ones that paved the way for me, to allow me to do this.”
Picture of Sgt. Brandon Morgan leaping into the arms of boyfriend Dalan Wells was taken by friend Dave Lewis and posted onto Facebook
But not everyone has been so encouraging. Negative and anti-gay comments have been written on Facebook as well.
Brandon Morgan said: “There are those who are going to take this the wrong way. Somebody called my mother and said ‘what did you do to raise your son so wrong?
“I can only hope no one does anything drastic or too crazy but I am not afraid. I lived my whole life in fear, I don’t fear them anymore.”
Dalan Wells almost missed Brandon Morgan stepping off the plane because he was in Safeway buying a carnation and pikake lei to give his beau. But he made it to the hanger just in time for a huge welcome home smooch.
Despite Dalan Wells describing himself as a “very shy, private person” the boys have become role models within the gay community.
Dalan Wells said: “If this saves one kid who says, you know look at this guy, he went and joined the Marine Corps, his life is great, then maybe that will give them the courage to hang on, and make it another day.”
Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells were separated for six months while Brandon was on tour with the Marines. Their reunion comes five months after the military’s ban on openly gay service expired.
The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that had banned openly gay men and women from serving in the US military ended last September.
Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells follow in the footsteps of Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of California and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles who in December became the first lesbian couple to share the traditional home coming first kiss.
Two of four US Marines shown in a video appearing to urinate on Taliban corpses have been identified, a Marine Corps official said.
The video, which was posted online, purports to show four US Marines standing over the bodies of several Taliban fighters, at least one of whom is covered in blood.
The Marines have begun a criminal investigation and an internal inquiry.
US officials and Afghan officials have condemned the video as “deplorable”.
The origin of the video is not known, but it was originally posted to YouTube.
The official would not confirm the Marines’ whereabouts, but reports suggested the unit involved was based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina – a major military base.
US media reported that the unit belonged to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
That battalion has been deployed to a wide range of combat a peacekeeping situations, from Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay to fighting wildfires in Idaho.
The unit deployed to Afghanistan in early 2011 and returned in September or October, CNN reported.
A US Marines spokesman, Lt. Col. Joseph Plenzler, told the AFP news agency that “we cannot release the name of the unit at this time since the incident is being investigated.”
Earlier, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta condemned the acts shown in the video and vowed that a full investigation would be carried out by the Marines and the Kabul-based International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).
“This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military,” Leon Panetta said in a statement.
The US defence secretary said he had seen the footage, and the Pentagon confirmed that he had spoken by telephone with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks in strong terms.
“I find the behaviour depicted in it utterly deplorable. This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military,” Hamid Karzai said.
In a separate news conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her “total dismay” at the video.
Hillary Clinton said she shared Leon Panetta’s view that such behaviour was inconsistent with the standards “that [the] vast, vast majority of our personnel – particularly our marines – hold themselves to”.
“The video did not change the nature of US efforts to secure Afghanistan,” Hillary Clinton said. She also said the US continued to support security and reconciliation efforts that were “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned”.
The Taliban are known for applying a ruthless brand of Islamic Sharia law in areas they control and have carried out many suicide bombings and attacks which have killed civilians.