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Press Release from SAGALA, re: DADT, With Testimonials

Want more reaction from those personally involved, John McCain?

Here you go- again, from yesterday’s mailbag:


“I wish the Chiefs could see the Army from the lowest levels – we’re ready for the change”

WASHINGTON, DC, February 2, 2010 – In the wake of Secretary Gates’s proposal today to study the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and ways to implement its repeal, gay and lesbian active-duty officers are hopeful – but impatient.

The quotes that follow come from SAGALA, the Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Association, a group of more than 400 gay and lesbian service academy graduates that was founded in 1991.  

They cannot speak for themselves because of the current policy.

1LT, US Army: “Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen set the tone for a professional response to the repeal of DADT across the military.  As a Soldier and an officer, I applaud the gentlemen for filling an overdue void in leadership on this particular issue of discrimination in the Armed Services.”

1LT, US Army – “I wish the Chiefs could see the Army from the lowest levels–we’re ready for the change and few people support DADT anymore.”

Lt Col, USAF – “Americans demand and deserve the best military on the world, yet for too long [the military] has been hamstrung, rendered less effective, by this policy.  Resources have been wasted, valuable personnel distracted or lost, and missions not accomplished in a timely manner.  Unshackle gay servicemembers so the whole DoD team can be as capable and effective as possible. One team, one fight, let’s get it done!”

1LT, US Army – “The faster the ban is repealed, the better for all of our forces in the fight.  We need as many capable and proficient soldiers – gay or straight – to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan as possible.”

2LT, US Army – “Everyone knows we [LGB soldiers] exist and work side-by-side with our counterparts–very few have an issue with it and most agree that we might as well lift the ban.”

Ensign, US Navy – “This policy has damaged many honorable Americans who have served their country well.  They — we — deserve better.”

LCDR, USCG – “I think the Chiefs view would rather punt this down the road.  In the six commands that I have served at, including my own, I have never witnessed nor heard of any harassment of gay personnel or degradation to morale.  Many ‘Coasties’ are aware of my status or at least suspect. I think it is absurd to believe that gays and lesbians are not serving honorably throughout the military, with no widespread reports of degradation to morale.”

Anonymous, US Army, serving in Iraq at remote Forward Operating Base – “I am glad the Commander in Chief recognizes the need to change the law which is inhibiting our unit from being 100% effective.  I, along with other gay service members in the unit, am constantly worried that at any minute I will be outed and thus removed from fighting this war.  We are an effective fighting unit, most of the middle level NCO’s and below know who we are and think it is time for the ‘top brass’ to realize they can trust units to move beyond DADT and truly become ARMY STRONG.”

1LT, US Army – “DADT has and always will be an abomination to Army Values.  Not only does it inspire fear to live as one chooses, it spreads hateful message to our brothers and sisters in arms.  Being denied certain legal rights in order to maintain effectiveness as military members is one thing, but being denied our humanity is another.  All we ask for is understanding and equality in our occupation to better serve this nation.”

2LT, US Army – “I have a group of straight friends who all know about my sexual orientation and do not make second judgments about my performance as a soldier. My coming out to them made our friendship stronger than ever before. DADT is a policy that contributes to discrimination, lies, and dishonesty among service members. Our armed forces are prepared to move forward as one and continue to defend our freedoms.”

LT, USCG – “When I’m on a SAR (search-and-rescue) case in the middle of a stormy night – I don’t ask for the gender, race, religion or orientation of the folks on the sinking fishing boat or who are struggling to stay conscious in sub-freezing water temps… I don’t ask if they’ve paid their taxes, have a college degree, or whether they are even a citizen of this country… My crew and I launch into the darkness to help them because that is what I have been trained to do. When I would look behind me at the individual being hoisted into the cabin of the helicopter I don’t see their personal attributes. I see someone who was in peril that I managed to save from severe injury if not death. This effort, this mission – to save lives – doesn’t discriminate. Why should the Coast Guard be bound by a flawed policy that dictates who is suitable to perform such a noble mission based solely on their orientation??”


Most of these quotes are from junior officers – because the longer gays and lesbians stay in, the less willing they are to hide or lie about their lives.  So these talented and experienced officers often leave the service they love.

ADM Mullen is right: “It comes down to integrity… (A)llowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.”

We at SAGALA look forward to speedy and clear-headed decisionmaking from our military leadership, to give our troops clear, uncompromising guidance.


SAGALA (Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Association) is an organization of gay and lesbian alumni of US service academies, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, and the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.  SAGALA was formed in 1991.

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