Interviews with troops at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, and Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, reflect the mix of emotions about ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.”…

Sgt. Shawn McClellan of the 82nd Airborne Division said he may be in Afghanistan when the repeal takes place. He hopes his unit’s soldiers will be focused and disciplined.

But he worries that younger, less experienced ones will be affected. It’s not only about sexual advances, he said. McClellan, 25, of Linden, N.C., said soldiers could be distracted by the gossip if word spreads that a member is gay. A soldier could also be picked on and targeted for being gay.

“It can take away from the mindset that they’re at war,” he said. ” … I think it also makes our country look weaker.”