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Press Release Reactions to DADT Repeal Hearing

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Servicemembers United

Hearing Reaffirms Validity of Comprehensive Review on DADT Repeal

Debate Over Repeal Remains Settled as Pentagon Backs Lame Duck Action on NDAA




Jarrod Chlapowski: 252.721.8152 | Email:

Alex Nicholson: 202.531.4839 | Email:


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, issued the following statement regarding today’s hearing on the final report of the Comprehensive Review Working Group on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:

“The Pentagon’s top leaders have now fully endorsed the findings and recommendations that resulted from this extremely fair and thorough review, and it is now time for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility and debate the defense authorization bill,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “Servicemembers United was the most vocal organization criticizing the comprehensive review’s surveys as biased against gays and lesbians, and the results were still overwhelmingly in our favor even with these biases. The debate is now settled and those who continue to obstruct are acting in bad faith from here on out.”

During the course of the review, Servicemembers United met with the Working Group’s co-chairs and staff several times and submitted numerous memoranda for the Working Group’s consideration. Servicemembers United also arranged for the Working Group’s co-chairs and staff to meet with a group of 30 gay and lesbian veterans and another group of 15 gay and lesbian military partnersduring the course of the review.

For more information about Servicemembers United and “Don’t Ask, Dont’ Tell,” please For the most comprehensive collection of polling data, discharge statistics, academic works, legislative and congressional material, and more,


Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education and advocacy on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.

More below the fold from SLDN and HRC.



ADMIRAL MULLEN: “I would not recommend repeal of this law if I did not believe in my soul that it was the right thing to do for our military, for our nation and for our collective honor.”

“John McCain’s demeanor throughout the testimony of Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, General Ham and Mr. Johnson, was entirely dismissive bordering on disrespect. In the testimony, no one made a more powerful argument for repeal today than Admiral Mullen.  In a measured, methodical fashion, Admiral Mullen addressed and destroyed each one of McCain’s irrational fears about open service. McCain continues to ignore the findings of the report that showed 92% of troops are fine working with gay service members,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.


ABOUT SLDN:  SLDN was established in 1993 when “Don’t Ask” originally passed.  In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by DADT; this year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.


Trevor Thomas: (616) 430-2030 or  

Paul DeMiglio: (202) 621-5408 or


•         Former Specialist 4th Class Aubrey Sarvis, USA; served during the 1960s when homosexuality was still a criminal offense in the military.  He now serves as executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).  Sarvis is the former chief counsel for the Senate Commerce Committee and later served as executive vice president of Verizon Communications. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC.  BOOKING:

•         Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, USAF (Active Duty); a decorated aviator and was notified that his commander was seeking to discharge him under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in September 2008.  Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is only 10 months from reaching his 20-year retirement in September 2011.  Throughout his distinguished service he has attained nine Air Medals and currently works on desk duty at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho awaiting the results of more than two years of investigations and discharge proceedings. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING:

•         Former Major Mike Almy, USAF; a decorated service member who testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee about his discharge in 2006. If “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) ended today, he’d re-enlist tomorrow.  The military searched his personal emails while deployed in Iraq during a routine computer maintenance check.  Almy’s command asked him his sexual orientation based on content from the emails.  Per the investigation, Almy made no statement of his homosexuality – even after being asked by his superiors.  He is one of six officers selected from the entire Air force to attend Professional Military Education at Quantico, Virginia.  Deployed to the Middle East four times.  In last deployment, I led a team of nearly 200 men and women to operate and maintain the systems used to control the air space over Iraq; the unit came under daily mortar attacks.  MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / VIRGINIA. BOOKING:

•         Former Captain Thomas T. Carpenter, USMC; a distinguished military graduate of the class of 1970 of the U.S. Naval Academy. After completing infantry training at The Basic School in 1971, he was assigned to the Naval Aviation Training Command and later designated a Naval Aviator.  While on active duty he accumulated over 2500 hours in the A-4 Skyhawk. Carpenter resigned his commission in 1976, at the rank of Captain and later joined the Marine Reserves.  From 1978 through 1983, Tom was a pilot for Continental Airlines, flying the Boeing 727. MARKET: LOS ANGELES, CA.  BOOKING:

•         Former Captain Anthony Woods, USA; a graduate of West Point and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Woods deployed to Iraq twice as a platoon leader between 2004 and 2006 where he earned the Bronze Star for his service.  In 2008, Anthony informed his chain of command he wanted to continue serving in the military but no longer intended to abide by the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  After a six-month investigation, Anthony was discharged from the military in December of 2008 for violating the law. Since then, Anthony has run for an open U.S. House seat in a special election from his home district in California. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / VIRGINIA. BOOKING:

•         Former Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, USAF; a decorated service member who served five years enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was selected as a Distinguished Graduate from Airman Leadership School before he attended AFROTC at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.  He was dis-enrolled from AFROTC after a female cadet went to his commander and told them he was gay.  Hall was ranked first in his class and had received a pilot slot when he was discharged in August 2002.  MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. Booking:


•         When asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with a co-worker who they believed was gay or lesbian, 92% stated that the unit’s “ability to work together” was “very good,” “good,” or “neither good nor poor.”

o    89% for those in ARMY combat arms units and 84% for those in MARINE combat arms units.

•         When asked about how having a service member in their immediate unit who said he or she is gay would affect the unit’s ability to “work together to get the job done,” 70% of Service members predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.

•         When asked “in your career, have you ever worked in a unit with a co-worker that you believed to be homosexual,” 69% of Service members reported that they had.

•         In communications with gay and lesbian current and former service members, the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) repeatedly heard a patriotic desire to serve and defend the Nation, subject to the same rules as everyone else.

•         The CRWG is convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war.  They do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated Service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our Nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission.

•         The CRWG found “the risk of repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell to overall military effectiveness is low.”

•         The CRWG believes this to be the “largest, most Comprehensive review of a personnel policy matter which the department of defense has ever undertaken.”


–Susan Collins (R-ME);

–Olympia Snowe (R-ME);

–Mark Pryor (D-AR.);

–Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)

–Richard Lugar (R-IN);

–Judd Gregg (R-NH);

–Scott Brown (R-MA)

–George Voinovich (R-OH);

–Kit Bond (R-MO);

–Joe Manchin (D-WV)

–Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

–Mark Kirk (R-IL)

–James Webb (D-VA)



SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Gay and lesbian service members with questions on repeal are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A journalists’ guide is available here.



Military Leaders Make Ironclad Case for DADT Repeal

High-level military testimony confirms end to gay ban comes with few hurdles to implementation

WASHINGTON – Speaking today before a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, senior uniformed and civilian military leaders made an ironclad case for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal adding further momentum to action in this Congress, said the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.  Testifying on the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group report on implementation of DADT repeal, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, General Carter Ham and Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson all made clear that there are few hurdles to implementation of open service by gays and lesbians and that they were confident that the military would execute such a repeal without long-term consequences.  HRC President Joe Solmonese released the following statement:

“Senators said they wanted to hear from military leaders and now they have their answers.  The highest ranks of the Pentagon made clear that repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will allow every qualified man and woman to serve without sacrificing the high standards that have made our military great.  The small handful of Senators blocking repeal no longer have any fig leaves behind which to hide.

“America’s men and women in uniform are professionals who already serve with gays and lesbians and repeal will do nothing to change their dedication to protecting our nation.  The working group found clearly that military effectiveness will not be compromised by removing this stain on our service members’ integrity.

“After more than twenty studies from both the military and outside organizations, it is time for this debate to close.  Further, a failure of Congress to act now will tie the hands of military leaders who have asked for the power to implement the changes that their research lays out.  The time for repeal is now.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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