Story from the Frontline of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell':
Former Lieutenant Junior Grade Jenny Kopfstein

Feeling deeply conflicted between the requirements of DADT and the Navy’s Core Values, I wrote my Captain and told him I was a lesbian. I was being forced to lie on a daily basis by DADT. I did not want to get out of the Navy, and I said so in my letter. I wanted to stay and serve honorably, and to maintain my integrity by not lying about who I was.

After I wrote the letter, I continued to do my job on the ship to the best of my ability. We went on a six-month deployment to the Middle East. I qualified as Officer of the Deck, and was chosen to be the Officer of the Deck during General Quarters — a great honor.

I also earned my Surface Warfare Officer pin. During my pinning ceremony, the Captain removed his own pin — off the chest of his uniform — and pinned it on mine. That was one of my proudest moments.

Later, the Captain personally chose me to represent the ship in a ship-handling competition. I was the only officer chosen to compete, and my orientation was known to my shipmates. My discharge investigation was well underway. Not one person griped because I was the one chosen. I showed the Admiral my ship-driving skills, and won the competition.

My Captain wrote in my Fitness Report in 2002 that my “sexual orientation has not disrupted good order and discipline onboard USS SHILOH.”

Both of my Captains testified at my DADT discharge hearing to say they were opposed to the Navy kicking me out.

If not for DADT, I would still be serving today.

Mr. President, help Congress repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” now. We cannot afford any delay.

With respect,

Former Lieutenant Junior Grade Jenny Kopfstein

United States Navy

PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM THE FRONTLINE…

April 27 – Captain Joan Darrah
April 28 – LCpl Danny Hernandez
April 29 – An Active-Duty Military Chaplain
April 30 – Captain Rebecca H. Elliott
May 4 – Former Ssgt Anthony Loverde
May 5 – Former First Lieutenant Laura Slattery
May 6 – Former Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll
May 7 – Clifton Truman Daniel
May 10 – Former Sgt. Tracey L. Cooper-Harris
May 11 – Former Petty Officer 2nd Class, U. S. Navy Jason Knight
May 12 – Chief Hospital Corpsman Brian Humbles
May 13 – Former SSgt David Hall
May 14 – A Soldier Returning to Baghdad
May 17 – Former Sgt. Shonda Garrison
May 18 – A Mother in the Closet
May 19 – Former Sgt. Darren Manzella
May 20 – Former Cadet Sara Isaacson
May 21 – A Gay Active Duty Marine

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