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'60 Minutes' Sergeant Darren Manzella Discharged Under 'DADT'

Manzella

Army Sergeant Darren Manzella, whose story was the subject of a 60 Minutes piece back in December, has been discharged under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, the Servicemember's Legal Defense Fund reports:

"The Iraq war veteran was the first openly gay active duty service member to speak with the media while serving inside a war zone....Manzella, 30, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 and was twice deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While under fire on the streets of Baghdad, he provided medical care to his fellow soldiers, Iraqi National Guardsmen and civilians. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, and also received several other awards recognizing his courage and service."

Watch the 60 Minutes segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Related
60 Minutes Army Sergeant Manzella to Speak in D.C. [tr]
CWA Spokesman to Gay Troops Supporters: "Put a Cork in It" [tr]
Army Sergeant Darren Manzella Speaks Out After Interview [tr]
Duncan Hunter Defends Gay Ban: U.S. Needs "Hardened Warriors" [tr]
60 Minutes to Cover "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Wartime Policy [tr]

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Comments

  1. Had to come!
    After things having improved a little in Iraq - he received a kick in the butt...

    Posted by: Martin | Jun 27, 2008 9:37:47 AM


  2. He is so fine. I wish him the best.

    Posted by: Lee | Jun 27, 2008 9:52:48 AM


  3. Here is another thought…

    The ranking in the military is: first US prison inmates sent to Iraq, prison sentence forgiven, then illegal immigrants in exchange for residency... and then US gays. (What do we offer them in exchange???)

    Well I guess for the military in times of crisis a well educated illegal nurse/doctor is hard to find to send on a mission to Iraq!
    In times of crisis we take gays if we have to.

    Posted by: Martin | Jun 27, 2008 9:55:53 AM


  4. Dumb question... if they are willing to discharge people for being gay... what's to stop everyone in the military who doesn't want to be there anymore from claiming to be gay?

    Posted by: Harrison | Jun 27, 2008 9:59:35 AM


  5. What happens if they bisexual? Do they serve half the amount of time in Iraq?

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 27, 2008 10:13:21 AM


  6. LOL Harrison, being gay is rather "ho hum" these days... I'm really surprised more folks haven't adopted that approach... and it would be hilarious, then the military would probably come up with: you have to have gay sex some unbelievable number of times a day to be "really" gay...

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 27, 2008 10:17:09 AM


  7. LOL Harrison, being gay is rather "ho hum" these days... I'm really surprised more folks haven't adopted that approach... and it would be hilarious, then the military would probably come up with: you have to have gay sex some unbelievable number of times a day to be "really" gay...

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 27, 2008 10:17:47 AM


  8. It isn't an honorable discharge when you are discharged under DADT. It can be prohibitive in securing employment in the civilian sector, especially in "red" areas - and obviously brings an amount of shame to families, etc that one was discharged under the policy.

    Of course, it is a ridiculous policy and one I do not think will be around much longer.

    However, I'm glad Darren is home, he is too hot to be in harm's way.

    Posted by: Dan B | Jun 27, 2008 10:42:27 AM


  9. McCain's for keeping DADT, right? Because the policy is working so well....

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Jun 27, 2008 10:59:12 AM


  10. An unfortunate but forseeable outcome of Manzella giving that interview. It is pretty infuriating that Duncan Hunter portrays "open" armies as effete and unfir for combat; first, let's not downplay the importance of peace keeping missions, but second, he conveniently leaves out Israel. I don't think anyone is going to argue that Israel's army is ineffective in combat situations and they allow gays to serve openly. It was irresponsible for 60 Minutes to allow this man to dictate the terms of the discussion this way.

    Posted by: GBM | Jun 27, 2008 11:22:19 AM


  11. If the Dems win a greater majority in Congress and Barack Obama is President and DADT is not overturned in his first term, I will refuse to vote Democratic ever again. It will become all too clear that they pander to get our votes and money and give us nothing in return. This is the time it can happen and if we can't get clear progress in LGBT equality under a Dem controlled White House and Congress, then we are never going to get it. And the DNC won't ever see a dime of my money again.

    Posted by: Banne | Jun 27, 2008 11:44:40 AM


  12. Somewhat irreverent and OT, but it should be against the law for anyone to be that attractive.

    That is all.

    Posted by: Naughty Lola | Jun 27, 2008 11:55:09 AM


  13. Banne,

    Apparently you are very forgiving considering the DADT compromise was OK'd by a Democratic Congress and President. Indeed, the prime proponent of throwing all gays and lesbians out of the military was DEMOCRATIC Senator Sam Nunn while the chief reformer was former REPUBLICAN Senator Barry Goldwater.

    As you can see, not everything is black & white in this world (as much as we'd find it easier to believe).

    Posted by: 207guy | Jun 27, 2008 11:55:56 AM


  14. Banne,

    Apparently you are very forgiving considering the DADT compromise was OK'd by a Democratic Congress and President. Indeed, the prime proponent of throwing all gays and lesbians out of the military was DEMOCRATIC Senator Sam Nunn while the chief reformer was former REPUBLICAN Senator Barry Goldwater.

    As you can see, not everything is black & white in this world (as much as we'd find it easier to believe).

    Posted by: 207guy | Jun 27, 2008 11:56:15 AM


  15. DADT is about homophobia. Fear and "religion" are devastating our country. It is about time for EVERY person in the military who identifies themselves as gay to come out. Just as in the public sector, only then will the true numbers of lesbian and gay men serving their country be known and show the American public just how many of our brothers and sisters are bravely serving in a place that the average American mother would not want her son or daughter (gay or not) to serve. We are short on Arabic translators, military men and women are serving numerous and extended tours of duty, the military is stretched as thin as a hair, the draft is imminent if military planning does not change and America is discharging valuable and brave soldier because of their sexual partner choice. Yeah, that's smart. That's what is making America great. That's will be a nail in the coffin that is our downfall. Idiots.

    Posted by: noteasilyoffended | Jun 27, 2008 12:03:31 PM


  16. It's SO infuriating that people are clearly doing their jobs (and doing them well), being awarded medals, and handling their business as it should be done, but *because they're gay* have to be discharged. Are we not at war time? If he wants to be in the military, then let him served. As Chris Rock once said, "Saddam Hussein could be riding down Flatbush Ave. in a tank...I ain't fightin'!" I have to say I feel the same.

    Posted by: Derrick | Jun 27, 2008 12:36:33 PM


  17. Well, the idea is that DADT applies to the press. You see, if you don't tell the press you're gay, and they don't ask you, then you'll be fine.

    There's nothing to prevent gays from outing themselves in Iraq to get home quicker, but you lose benefits such as college tuition, etc. Likewise, during the whole discharge process you might find yourself on an especially dangerous mission. However, given that this is a volunteer army, the soldiers there generally want to be there, gay or not. That's why the policy has to go, for people who want to serve. Now, during a draft, the policy is irrelevant, they aren't going to discharge you if you don't want to be there during a draft. They aren't stupid.

    Obama has already come out tepidly for getting rid of DADT, but one doubts he'll expend much political energy on the issue, so don't expect much. If he's elected then a Democratic congress will sit on its hands to wait for word from him (so they don't have to pay any price for it). If McCain is elected then all the pressure will have to come from Congress. They would need to hold hearings and set up commissions to study the whole thing again, etc. It will be a while.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 27, 2008 1:26:57 PM


  18. I think a lot of the problem right now is you still have the very conservative old people in control of the military. My generation has grown up with gay issues being in the media, as well as, having friends and family come out of the closet. Now a days there are people coming out in high school. There is a more comfortable and generally accepted view of gays.

    Once these people in control have passed and stepped down we should see a lot more change. Having people that are more accepting and tolerant start taking these positions of control and policy making should bring about much more change.

    Plus what was with the whole inclination that gays can't be harden warriors?

    Posted by: Cory | Jun 27, 2008 2:20:34 PM


  19. Disgusting.

    But I must agree with DAN B and say that I'm glad Manzella is safe at home.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jun 27, 2008 3:19:00 PM


  20. "I'm glad Darren is home, he is too hot to be in harm's way." -DAN B

    "But I must agree with DAN B and say that I'm glad Manzella is safe at home." - PETERPARKER

    Such shallow, boneheaded comments! So anyone not "hot" enough for you should remain there with their butts on the frontlines, so you can sit at home in the U.S. and offer such tripe? Nice. V. Nice!

    Posted by: Joel | Jun 27, 2008 3:53:30 PM


  21. When I first met my bf, he was in the Navy. He was a radioman, so he had high levels of security clearance. I was introduced on numerous occasions to his peers and commanding officers as his boyfriend. All were extremely accepting of our relationship as they loved my bf like a brother. His C.O. at one point actually took me aside to tell me how much he cared about my bf and that I better treat him well. This was 1993.

    Somthing happened, I don't remember what, but he was in fear of being outed, so he decided to go and tell the chaplain, whom he was also friends with. Not only did my bf get an honorable discharge, but he also got to keep all his benefits as a honorably discharged vet (education tuition, etc.) That was 1994. Go figure.

    Posted by: Tegs | Jun 27, 2008 4:43:10 PM


  22. Not really that surprising. The world is comprised of mainly idiots. And Scott Adams is quite right in how idiots make up most of the people in management.

    While I'm not going to express relief in a hottie being safe, I'll just say that he's hot indeed. I thought so when I saw him in the 60 Minutes segment.

    Hotties = Hot
    Men in uniform = Hot
    Hotties in uniform = Guh!

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Jun 27, 2008 5:58:18 PM


  23. Thanks for sharing that TEGS.

    Posted by: queendru | Jun 27, 2008 7:47:36 PM


  24. DADT must be repealed, but there are several misstatements above re discharges, benefits, etc. They vary depending upon the circumstances. One CAN get an "honorable discharge." Here are the FACTS courtesy of SLDN's "Survival Guide."

    "Every service member discharged from the military receives a discharge characterization, or short description of his or her service. If a service member is discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” there are several discharge characterizations he or she could receive depending on their service. Service members
    being discharged with fewer than 180 days of service and a good service record may receive an Entry Level Separation
    (ELS) with an uncharacterized discharge. After 180 days of service, service members who are discharged administratively
    may receive one of only three types of discharges: Honorable, General (Under Honorable Conditions), or Other Than
    Honorable (OTH). Service members often believe that discharges under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are Bad Conduct Discharges (BCD) or Dishonorable Discharges (DD). This is not the case. A BCD or DD can only be determined by courtmartial following criminal prosecution.

    The standard for what discharge characterization a service member should receive under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the
    same as for enlisted service members who come to the end of their term of service (ETS/EAOS) or officers who resign their
    commission under routine circumstances. Service members should receive an Honorable or a General (under honorable
    conditions) discharge characterization based on their overall record unless “aggravating circumstances” are present or the service member is “dual processed” for homosexual conduct
    and another reason for discharge such as misconduct. In other words, just the fact that a service member has “come
    out” should not negatively impact the service member’s discharge characterization. If the service member is being discharged because of a “homosexual act,” however, an aggravating factor could lead to a lower discharge characterization,
    including an OTH.

    Some commanders recommend a lower discharge characterization than the service member's service record merits, usually
    recommending a general (under honorable conditions) characterization even when an honorable discharge is warranted. The service member must decide whether to contest the command's recommendation. As a general rule, if a service member merits an honorable discharge, he or she should
    fight for one, usually by requesting an administrative separation board, or a Board of Inquiry for officers. Some commands
    have tried to persuade service members to accept a general discharge by saying it can be easily corrected later. This is not
    true. There is no "automatic" upgrade of a general discharge to an honorable after six months under any circumstance.

    Discharge characterizations determine eligibility for veterans’ benefits and have an impact on civilian employment opportunities. The fact that the discharge is under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” does not impact eligibility for veterans’ benefits. An Honorable discharge entitles veterans to all veterans' benefits for which they are eligible and it is mandatory for educational
    benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill programs. A General discharge entitles veterans to almost all other benefits
    but a General discharge may raise some questions among some civilian employers about a veteran's work performance.
    Service members with OTH discharges risk losing most, if not all, veterans' benefits; the Veterans Administration (VA) is supposed to make a case-by-case decision when a veteran with an OTH discharge requests assistance. Veterans with OTH discharges also face substantial prejudice in civilian employment and, in many states, an OTH discharge bars collection of
    unemployment compensation when they are discharged from the military. The uncharacterized ELS discharge alone should
    not affect entitlements to benefits. Veterans who served for less than 180 days, however, will be eligible for few benefits."

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jun 27, 2008 8:21:20 PM


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