Story from the Frontline of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell':
Former SSgt David Hall

A cadet went to my commanders and told them I was gay and dating a fellow cadet. During the investigation that followed I made no comment to the JAG officer conducting the investigation. I was eventually called into my commander’s office and disenrolled from ROTC in August 2002. I received a piece of paper saying I was no longer fit for military duty due to “homosexual conduct.” You can’t even imagine how that feels. Almost 8 years later, I still remember wearing my flight suit for the last time and handing my ID card to the NCO who was trying not to cry.

Mr. President – I assure you I am fit for military duty and so are the 66,000 lesbian and gay service members currently serving. Please keep your promise and stop discharging patriotic Americans. I did my part; now, sir, please do yours!


Former SSgt. David Hall

United States Air Force


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


  1. Greg says

    All of these “Letters from the Front Line” have been amazingly moving, and really put a face on the issue of DADT discharges.
    I am wondering if these are reaching the people who need to see them….I would think that if our President read even ONE of these personal impact statements, he might actually see the value of keeping (and attracting) gay people in our military.

  2. says

    Sorry, Greg, but these letters aren’t actually for the President, except perhaps to try to embarrass him a little bit as they use language virtually identical to what he’s said HIMSELF over the last three years [see below]. The real target is wavering members of Congress who’ve never paid as much attention to DADT before as HE has. The organizers know that, despite already “getting” it, Obama has chosen to do exactly what HE criticized 1993 Democrats for doing, in his words from way back in 2007: “rather than embracing
    leadership and principle” “they bowed to fear and prejudice.”

    For those paying close attention, he began to backtrack in the Spring of 2008, signaling that he was going to put what the Pentagon wanted first, saying they needed to be on board before he’d act. Who knows why? Maybe it’s a trade for their not resisting his scrapping some of their more expensive war toys and/or a smaller troop build up in Afghanistan than they wanted. Whatever: he’s doing EXACTLY what most foolishly thought he never would — betray his own repeated repeal promises; betray those gay servicemembers he’s so eloquently claimed to care about.


    “[DADT] is antithetical to the values of honor and integrity that our military holds most dear. Patriotic gay and lesbian Americans are now told that they may serve their country only if they hide their true identities. They are forced to live a lie as the price of risking their lives for their country. “As president, I will work with Congress and place the weight of my administration behind enactment of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which will make nondiscrimination the official policy of the U.S. military. That work should have started long ago. It will start when I take office. America is ready to get rid of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. All that is required is leadership.” – Barack Obama Job Application, November 29, 2007.

    “these [discharges of patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who’ve served this country well] underscore the URGENCY of reversing this policy not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY.” – Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, June 29, 2009.

    “We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve this country. We should be celebrating their willingness to show such courage and selflessness on behalf of their fellow citizens, especially when we’re fighting two wars. We cannot afford to cut from our ranks people with the critical skills we need to fight any more than we can afford — for our military’s integrity — to force those willing to do so into careers encumbered and compromised by having to live a lie. I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That’s my commitment to you.” – Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, October 11, 2009.

    “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.” – Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, January 27, 2010.

  3. michal hersh says

    I understand the pain of being forced out of the service when one wishes to stay in. In my case, I turned the tables so to speak and got out when I wanted to by coming out. This was before DADT. Amazingly, they tried to keep me in. Told me to just forget about it. However, it was true, and once admitted, in the Navy, I couldn’t take the chance on a ship that something might happen. Like going for a swim in freezing water. Luckily, I knew what not to say and got an HD.One bit of spite was they wouldn’t give me my Good Conduct Medal, even though on paper I had one.