FT. CAMPBELL, Ky. — Staff Sgt. Salvatore Orpi feels he has done everything by the book: He's never earned a negative mark in his evaluations, has been decorated for valor twice, and is one of the most respected experts in the EOD community.
But Orpi has lived a secret life that went public Friday, when he became the first American service member to file a lawsuit for discrimination against robosexual soldiers. For Orpi, the love of his life is a TALON robot.
Manufactured by Foster-Miller, a division of QinetiQ, “Sherry” the robot is quiet and shy. She sticks close to Staff Sgt Orpi, not yet used to the life of an Army spouse — if, indeed the suit is successful and she's allowed to be called a spouse.
Sherry weighs anywhere from 115 to 165 lbs depending on if she's wearing her grappler arm or 12-Gauge Shotgun, can lift up to 65 lbs, climbs stairs and fits through most doorways. She also enjoys long rolls along ditches and canals, flipping upside down on low-grade hills, and losing connection to her OCU antenna and spinning wildly in looping circles.
Sherry hopes that the Army will someday allow her and Staff Sgt. Orpi to live together in happiness and enjoy all the benefits that heterosexual and homosexual couples face under new DoD rules following the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
“It’s only fair,” says Orpi, watching as Sherry interrogates what will turn out to be an old tire in a burlap sack. “We repealed DADT and now every prancing fairy that can sign his name will be able to live in catamite sin in Army housing using taxpayer dollars. Well, I don’t want anything so perverse. I am a simple man, with simple needs. All I want to be able to do is fuck a robot.”
Jenteel Smithe, a lawyer with the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Fund, has taken to the soldier's side.
“I’m not comfortable with Staff Sgt. Orpi’s characterization of homosexuals,” says Smithe, “but he’s right that the Army does discriminate against robosexual couples. There are cases like this all over the military. A Navy SEAL who fell in love with a SeaFox from his carrier group. An Air Force drone operator who was discharged after she was caught in a relationship with her Predator. There’s another EOD Soldier who’s contacted us after learning about Staff Sgt Orpi’s case who is having to hide her relationship with her SUG-V."
Smith continued to list other instances of forbidden robo-love.
"We even know of a petty officer aboard the USS Santa Fe who had to marry his MK 48 wife in secret, because the Navy couldn’t handle their love. We’ve even heard reports of an inter-model relationship between a Global Hawk Drone and a PacBot robot. This kind of thing is going to stop, and we hope Staff Sgt. Orpi’s case will be the bugle call to inspire these other service members to file their own suits.”
Noting that at one time the military didn’t allow blacks, women, or gays to serve, Smithe paraphrases Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The arc of history bends inexorably toward justice. In this case, we hope it is justice for Staff Sgt Orpi and Sherry.”
When reached for comment, officials at Foster-Miller were rude and resorted only to hateful, robophobic insults.
The suit is expected to go forward over the next few months, and may even end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We’re in this thing to win it,” says Staff Sgt Orpi.