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(LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Navy is facing backlash for enlisting a drag queen activist as a “digital ambassador.”

During a six-month “Navy Digital Ambassador” program, the branch reportedly allowed a drag queen TikTok influencer who’s also an active-duty sailor to promote his sexualized hobby in an effort to attract new recruits.

The report comes as the military struggles to bring on new recruits as the majority of young Americans are unwilling to join and ill-equipped to pass basic entry requirements.

Twenty-four-year-old Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who runs a popular TikTok account and calls himself “Harpy Daniels” when he performs as a “drag queen,” said in November he was a “Digital Ambassador” with the Navy, in which role he was able to advocate for and represent “queer sailors.”

A video that’s since gone viral on social media shows Kelley, who identifies as “nonbinary,” wearing garish makeup, wigs, and women’s attire in numerous videos posted to Facebook or Instagram. One snapshot appears to show him performing a drag show on a ship.

“From joining to 2016 and being able to share my drag experience on my off time with my fellow sailors has been a blessing,” Kelley wrote on Instagram, where he says he’s a “Sailor by Day” but a “Queen by Night.”

“This experience has brought me so much strength, courage and ambition to continue being an advocate and representation [sic] of queer sailors!” said Kelley, who explained during an interview last year that he started performing in drag in 2013 prior to joining the Navy. “Thank you to the Navy for giving me this opportunity! I don’t speak for the Navy but simply sharing my experience in the Navy! Hooyah, and let’s go Slay!” 

READ: US military goes full speed ahead toward max LGBT inclusion with ‘diversity’ panels, all-gay helicopter crew

In comments to Fox News Digital, a Navy spokesperson said the branch’s Digital Ambassador initiative was “designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates” as the Navy contends with “the most challenging recruiting environment it has faced since the start of the all-volunteer force.”

The spokesperson said Kelley was not compensated for being an ambassador and explained that the pilot program in which he participated, which was “designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates,” has since been “concluded” after running from October 2022 to March 2023.

“[W]e are now evaluating the program and how it will exist in the future,” the spokesperson said.

Conservatives were quick to slam the controversial stunt.

“Oh yes, let’s terrify our enemies by filling the military with cross-dressers,” tweeted The Matt Walsh Show. “China is definitely looking at this and saying, ‘We can’t mess with these guys and girls and theys and thems.’”

“Alright. The U.S. Navy is now using an enlisted sailor Drag Queen as a recruiter. I’m done. China is going to destroy us,” former United States Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill said in a viral Twitter post. “I can’t believe I fought for this bulls*t.

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Meanwhile, the Navy’s inclusion of a drag queen in their recent effort to attract new young members comes as the military faces major recruitment headwinds with most young Americans both unqualified and unwilling to put on the uniform.

A Fall 2022 Pentagon study found that nearly four out of every five military-age young Americans were unfit for service due to physical, mental, or other issues.

According to, “77% of young Americans would not qualify for military service without a waiver due to being overweight, using drugs or having mental and physical health problems,” a 6% uptick from the Department of Defense’s 2017 study.

In addition to being unqualified to serve, many young Americans simply aren’t interested in a military career.

Fox News Digital cited a 2022 survey from the Ronald Reagan Institute that found that only 13% of young men and women between the ages of 18 were “highly willing” to heed Uncle Sam’s call, while 25% were “somewhat willing,” 20% were “not very willing,” and 26% simply weren’t “willing at all.” 

The survey also noted that “trust and confidence in the United States military has declined by more than 20 points in recent years,” citing “the perceived politicization of the military” as the main driver of the decline. 

READ: Woke ‘diversity’ initiatives are handicapping the US military in the face of Communist Chinese threats

The U.S. military, once perceived as a bastion of conservative, patriotic values, appears to have succumbed to much of the cultural “wokeness” manifested in the rest of the nation.

In 2010 the Obama administration did away with the Clinton-era “don’t ask don’t tell” rule and in 2015 eliminated the prohibition on women serving in combat roles. Since then, the military has increasingly promoted left-wing agenda items including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), transgender “pronouns” training for service members, mandated COVID jabs up until January of this year, and fully-funded abortions for veterans and their families.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio argued that the military has become “a woke social experiment” under the Biden administration.

“It is a stupid way to go about protecting our nation,” Rubio said. “We need to spend more time thinking about how to counter threats like China, Russia, and North Korea and less time thinking about pronouns.”