“I have now spent five years in the Navy, and I have loved every minute of it. It is unfortunate that in our country, which prides itself on being a beacon of liberty to the world, discrimination is still alive and well, even in our own government. I am proud to be among the one million gay veterans who have answered the call to duty, and I look forward to working alongside them to topple this un-American and counter-productive law.”
— Jason Knight, commenting on the Navy’s decision to give him a pink slip — again.
The Navy, caught with its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell pants down in a paperwork snafu, claims another trained and ready servicemember.
Petty Officer Second Class Jason Knight refused to stay in the closet after he made headlines recently because he received recall orders to serve in Kuwait. He had been discharged before for coming out to his command during his last enlistment.
The insanity of this policy is out there for everyone to see in yet another embarrassment for this government straining to find qualified recruits. (SLDN):
The United States Navy has informed Petty Officer Second Class Jason Knight that it intends to fire him under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law just weeks prior to completing his one-year commitment. Knight, an openly gay sailor, was recalled to active duty in June 2006 and recently completed a tour of duty in Kuwait, where he was open about his sexual orientation with his command and fellow sailors. Knight told his story last weekend in the newspaper Stars & Stripes and was notified yesterday that he will be receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy based, in part, on his recent media interviews. Knight was scheduled to end his commitment on May 28, 2007, but will face early dismissal because he chose to go public about his experience.
“Jason Knight was an exemplary sailor who gladly returned to active duty when our country needed him,” said Sharra E. Greer, director of law and policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). “Now, despite his dedication and service, and the praise of those he served alongside, the Navy has decided to fire him because he dared to tell his story and put a public face to the courage of lesbian and gay service personnel. Our nation should be embarrassed that our armed forces are forced to respond to Knight’s selfless service with a government-sanctioned pink slip. `Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ silences lesbians and gays and attempts to make them invisible. Because Knight refused invisibility, he will now be fired.”
Also welcomed into the fold, as they look for warm bodies, are folks convicted of aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats. The number of convicted felons enlisted in the U.S. military has almost doubled in the past three years, and 43,977 individuals convicted of serious misdemeanors such as assault have enlisted under the moral waivers program.
Steve Ralls at SLDN’s The Frontlines:
And they did it all just 17 days before the scheduled end to his current, one-year commitment.
We also learned today that Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon says more troops are needed to stop the bloodshed in Iraq; that there is woefully inadequate healthcare in our veterans’ health care system; and that there are new concerns about the “surge” of troops in Iraq.
But, despite all those pressing matters to deal with, the Pentagon found time today to fire Jason Knight because he happens to be gay.