And as the video continues to attract viewers, Sgt Brandon Morgan has revealed it was his first ever kiss with artist Dalan Wells; their friendship flourished into a long-distance love online, while Sgt Morgan served for the US military.

He said: “We couldn’t talk, I can barely talk now, his hands went numb, my legs were shaking, our first kiss after just knowing how we felt about each other.”

The gay couples’ embrace was captured by a friend, who posted the photo on Facebook on Saturday.

Since then, thousands of people have commented on the image.

Sgt Morgan said: “Most of the responses have been like oh my god I can’t believe you’re in love, congratulations. My mom’s happy that I’m finally happy, my parents are ecstatic.

“We were actually cornered in the supermarket this afternoon, like you’re the famous guys aren’t you?”

Sgt Morgan added: “We were at the commissary on base, we were just trying to get milk. Everybody says, ‘oh you’re a hero’. I’m not a hero. The heroes are the ones that paved the way for me, to allow me to do this.”

The image has also attracted homophobic comments.

Sgt Morgan said: “There are those who are going to take this the wrong way. Somebody called my mother and said ‘what did you do to raise your son so wrong?

“I can only hope no one does anything drastic or too crazy but I am not afraid. I lived my whole life in fear, I don’t fear them anymore.”

The men have become role models in the gay community.

Wells said: “He said: ‘If this saves one kid who says, you know look at this guy, he went and joined the Marine Corps, his life is great, then maybe that will give them the courage to hang on, and make it another day.”

The gay clinch follows a public embrace by Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citalic Snell, who in December became the first lesbian couple to have a traditional home coming kiss on the pier at Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, which banned openly gay men and women from serving in the US military ended last September.

Watch the video here: