Pentagon Confirms Three More Discharges Under 'DADT'
Earlier this month we learned about the first, and at that time only discharge under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" since Obama signed repeal legislation. There have been three more discharges of service members who have identified themselves as gay and asked to be discharged expeditiously before repeal takes effect, the Advocate reports:
"A total of four airmen have been discharged under the policy in the last several weeks, Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed Monday...Air Force spokesman Maj. Joel Harper told The Advocate that the discharges of three additional service members — two female staff sergeants and one male second lieutenant— have been approved since an April 29 discharge."
Said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United, in a statement responding to the discharges:
"It is rather shocking that we continue to see isolated incidents of servicemembers trying to force the Pentagon to let them out of their service obligations because the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law still technically remains on the books. The Pentagon has made it abundantly clear that it does not want to enforce 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' any longer and that it is more than willing to deal with any lingering harassment issues through the chain of command or, in the case of command involvement, the base's or post's Inspector General's office. Thousands of servicemembers have dreamed of the day when 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' would be virtually dead and commands would plead with openly gay servicemembers to remain in the service. It really would behoove the Defense Department to expedite certification so that no one can use this archaic law as a loophole to leave the military early anymore."
“These Air Force discharges underscore that DADT investigations and discharges continue. Unfortunately, SLDN has a client right now who was recently recommended for discharge at a board hearing, and his paperwork is headed to the Navy Secretary. He made no statement, and he wants to continue serving. We have another client who is having a board hearing later this week, and if this senior enlisted person is recommended for discharge, her paperwork will likely be before the Navy Secretary in short order. She, too, wishes to continue serving. Let me be clear. At SLDN, we have scores of clients who have been advised they are under DADT investigations. Some of these clients have between 10 and 15 years of honorable service, few made voluntary statements, and none to my knowledge has asked to be ‘separated expeditiously.’ For these service members, especially, certification and final repeal cannot come soon enough. The continued stress of investigations and the risk of separation under DADT is real and very much imminent.”
Training has been underway for 'DADT' repeal for several months now. Last Friday was the deadline for final assessments on the progress of the training. The reports will generate final recommendations which the defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen must review before certifying final repeal. It was reported last week that Gates, who is retiring at the end of this week, would leave certification to his successor Leon Panetta.