Monday, September 19, 2011

DADT Officially Ends Tomorrow

Don't Ask, Don't Tell officially ends tomorrow.  Gay men and women will no longer be forced to hide in the closet for fear of losing their careers.  That's pretty exciting stuff.
Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal
September 20, 2011

Today marks the end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."  The law is repealed.  From this day forward, gay and lesbian Soldiers may serve in our Army with the dignity and respect they deserve.  Our rules, regulations and policies reflect the repeal guidance issued by the Department of Defense and will apply uniformly without regard to sexual orientation, which is a personal and private matter.

For over 236 years, the U.S. Army has been an extraordinary force for good in the world.  Our Soldiers are the most agile, adaptable and capable warriors in history -- and we are ready for this change.

Over the last several months, our Leaders, Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians have discussed, trained and prepared for this day.  The President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have certified that repeal is consistent with military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruiting and retention.  Your professionalism, leadership and respect for your fellow Soldiers will ensure that this effort is successful.

At the heart of our success is adherence to the Army Values.  These standards not only infuse every facet of our culture and operations, but also guide us as we adapt to change.  Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage are not mere words to us -- they are the very principles by which we live, train and fight.

Accordingly, we expect all personnel to follow our Values by implementing the repeal fully, fairly and in accordance with policy guidance.  It is the duty of all personnel to treat each other with dignity and respect, while maintaining good order and discipline throughout our ranks.  Doing so, will help the U.S. Army remain the Strength of the Nation.

Raymond F. Chandler III, Sergeant Major of the Army
Raymond T. Odierno, General, United States Army Chief of Stat
John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army
USA Today reports today that the Military has begun accepting applications from openly gay recruits, but that those applications are being officially processed until tomorrow.  The Pentagon has repeatedly asserted that they are fully prepared to handle DADT's repeal.

In related news, the Navy has agreed to change Melvin Dwork's discharge from "undesirable" to "honorable" nearly 70 years after his expulsion from the military.  The 89-year-old former corpsman was expelled from the Navy after an old boyfriend had ratted him out.  "I resented that word 'undesirable'.  That word really stuck in my craw.  To me it was a terrible insult.  It had to be righted.  It's really worse than 'dishonorable'.  I think it was the worst word they could have used."  Dwork will now be eligible for the military benefits he had previously been denied, including medical care and a military burial.

DADT's repeal is long overdue.  Gay and lesbian soldiers and officers have been serving in the U.S. Military for decades.  It is ridiculous that these men and women have given up years of service, as well as their limbs and life, to this country while social conservatives have argued that their very collective presence jeopardized the liberties of heterosexual.  DADT should never have existed.  Fortunately, it will end and the world will realize that little has changed except that a certain group of soldiers won't be drummed out of the military any longer.

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