Army chief: Troops, recruits embrace gay soldiers

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The lifting of the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay men and women from serving in the military has had no negative reaction among the troops or undermined recruiting as feared when President Obama yanked the ban a year ago, according to the Army's chief.

"It really could not have gone any better," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno. "It has gone very well."

Odierno, speaking at a Center for Strategic & International Studies conference Thursday, indicated that there were worries that younger troops would repel and recruiting would drop after the ban was lifted. But nothing changed, he revealed.

"Frankly we underestimated our younger population, the acceptability of it," he said.

And the high quality of recruits joining the Army hasn't changed. "It's not impacted our recruitment, it has not impacted our quality," said the four-star. "People want to serve."