Charles C. Moskos, influential military sociologist in the United States Military and a professor at Northwestern University. Described as the nation's "most influential military sociologist" by the Wall Street Journal (where his byline occasionally appears over incisive op-ed pieces), Moskos has long been a stellar source for reporters from journalism's big guns: the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today and more
Born May 20, 1934, in Chicago, Il to Greek immigrant parents from Northern Epirus. In Moskos’ book Greek Americans: Struggle and Success (Transaction Publications, 2001) he jokingly calls the book "his bestseller" bought only by Greek Americans he recalls that his father, christened Photios, adopted the name Charles after pulling it out of a hat full of "slips with appropriately American-sounding first names."
After leaving the military, he enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees. There he met his German wife Ilca, a Spanish/German foreign language teacher. She recently retired from New Trier High School where she taught foreign languages. They have two boys, Peter Moskos, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Andrew Moskos, co-founder of Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. Moskos has written for many scholarly and popular publications.
Charles Moskos coined the phrase and policy don't ask, don't tell.
Charles Moskos sociology professor (left) chats with Army Staff Sgt. Donald Pratt (center) and an unidentified ssoldier during a 1967 trip to Vietnam. Photo courtesy Charles C. Moskos.
Charles Moskos attended Princeton University on tuition scholarship and waited tables to pay for room and board. He was drafted into the US Army right after graduation in 1956. He recalls that one of the reasons the draft was accepted in those days is because draftees included many from promenade family backgrounds. In his Princeton graduating class of 750 more then half served in the armed forces, including Neil Rudenstine, Pete DuPont, and Johnny [R.W.] Apple. Moskos served with the Army's combat engineers in Germany where he wrote his first article, "Has the Army Killed Jim Crow?" for the Negro History Bulletin.
His first teaching job was at the University of Michigan, but soon was lured away to Northwestern University, where he is one of the most popular professors in the school. He has traveled to war torn countries throughout the world including the overthrowing of Panamanian Gen. Manuel Noriega during the US invasion of Panama. According to people from his field, Moskos knows his subject inside out because of his intensive field research. He doesn't just read about the military but goes out in the field with the troops and interviews as well as test his ideas on them. In 1997 he was awarded the first ever award for field work of its kind at the annual convention for the American Sociological Association.
Moskos calls his "real fame" came when he coined the phrase "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and attached to the controversial compromise policy he developed for the Clinton administration on gays in the military. The military's code of conduct prohibits homosexuality, but according to the policy, which is still in effect, the government cannot "ask" about an enlistee's sexual preferences, and homosexuals do not have to "tell" military superiors they are gay. The phrase has even turned up in the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough and in a Mad magazine parody of a Beetle Bailey cartoon.
Charles Moskos remains respected by people in all fields, his influence in the military goes very high. Military commanders such as Gen. James L. Jones, the U.S. Marine Corps commandant, and Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, former U.S. Army chief of staff, regularly seek his advice. In 2005 Moskos completed a study for the Joint Chiefs of Staff on international military cooperation.
After the September 11 attacks the number of people who called his office spiked, the professor popping up in stories about recruitment and national service, a burning issue for Moskos.
In 2000, Moskos told academic journal Lingua Franca that he felt the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy will be gone within five to ten years. He went on to debunk the unit cohesion argument, the most frequent rationale given for the continued exclusion of gay service members from the U.S. military, instead arguing that homosexuals should be banned due to the "modesty rights" of heterosexuals, saying:
"F*** unit cohesion. I don't care about that...I should not be forced to shower with a woman. I should not be forced to shower with a gay [man]."
Moskos comments were met with outrage by gay activists and Northwestern University students who argued that his fear of being ogled in the shower was not sufficient justification for denying equal rights to gay men and lesbians.  
Professor Charles Moskos at the American Hellenic Institute Foundation's (AHIF) first annual conference which took place October 18-19, 2002.
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