A former Space Force lieutenant colonel who was relieved of his command in 2021 after criticizing the rise of wokeness and critical race theory principles within the military sounded off on the U.S. Navy's latest recruitment strategy: showcasing drag performers.

Matthew Lohmeier, who was commander of the 11th Space Warning Squadron in Colorado before he made comments on a podcast critical of Marxism, told Fox News it is sad that whenever the U.S. military makes the news, it is for items like the drag-themed recruitment videos.

"These days, the American people see this and think this has become our military. And so first and foremost, I think it's important that I should say, and I fail to do this often enough – thank you to the good men and women who nobly serve our country in uniform every day of their lives – because they show up believing in the greatness of the American ideal and because they're willing to lay their life on the line in defense of this country," Lohmeier said.

"And so I have to wonder who it is that our senior military leaders, in fact, think they're appealing to in the recruiting process by hiring a drag queen as their digital ambassador."


Lt Col. Matthew Lohmeier, 460th Operations Group Block 10 chief of training, stands in the Standardized Space Trainer July 22, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

Lt Col. Matthew Lohmeier, 460th Operations Group Block 10 chief of training, stands in the Standardized Space Trainer July 22, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Darren Scott/Released)

That ambassador is Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley – the legal name of drag queen Harpy Daniels, the Navy's reported "digital ambassador."

Host Jesse Watters reported Kelley, or Daniels, does not identify as a man or a woman, adding that the Navy "wants cross-dressing sailors manning their ships."

"If you don't identify as a man or a woman, but are into the drag queen scene, join the Navy. That's the message here. It's not about your country. It's not about teamwork. It's not about the mission. It's about you and your identity. You're the star of the show," Watters said, contrasting that apparent Biden-era mantra with the longstanding tradition of the U.S. military being a place where the mission is higher than any one individual.


Joshua Kelley Navy drag queen

Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who goes by the stage name "Harpy Daniels," announced back in November 2022 that he was the Navy’s "Digital Ambassador." (Screenshot/ Harpy Daniels/ TikTok)

Lohmeier said episodes like this are not at all incentivizing men and women in uniform to remain in the service of their country, as many of them "believe in the Western nuclear family," privately don't approve of drag queens, nor want their children exposed to them.

"We've known for the past couple of years during the Biden administration, this has been taking place more and more. What's surprising is that senior military leaders continue to push an agenda like this despite the fact that it's hurting our recruiting efforts and it's hurting our retention," Lohmeier said – adding the apparently woke turn isn't helping U.S. military lethality or readiness amid increasing threats globally.

Lohmeier said it is unfortunate that, while there are very likely high-ranking military officers who don't approve of the Navy's new turn, it falls to people like himself, whom he referred to as "late" military members, to speak out in public.

To Lohmeier's comments, Watters recounted how Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., questioned Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin III after discovering a flyer advertising a drag show on a military base – despite sworn testimony from the Defense Secretary that his department does not fund such activities.


In March, Gaetz asked Austin how much taxpayer money has gone to drag queen story hours in particular, after highlighting a reported drag event at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev.

"Why are they happening on military bases? I just showed you the evidence," Gaetz responded to Austin's claim.

Austin shot Gaetz a stern glare for several moments before responding, "I will say again. This is not something that we support or fund."

In response, Watters said it shows Austin is either lying or "has no idea what's going on" in his own Pentagon.

"The Navy… looked at what happened with Bud Light and said ‘hold my beer’. Harpy is the Navy's Dylan [Mulvaney]."

Following his 2021 relieving-of-command, Lohmeier told Fox News he was not being a partisan, but instead "expos[ing] or attack[ing] critical race theory or Marxism."