I served as an aircrew instructor aboard the Navy's P-3C Orion aircraft and flew combat missions throughout the Pacific and Indian oceans and the
Fortunately, my discharge occurred shortly before ``don't ask, don't tell'' became law, and a federal court reinstated me, allowing me to serve for another four years openly gay. It was the most rewarding four years of my career. My crew flew combat missions over the
Under ``don't ask, don't tell'' I would have been unfairly kicked out of the Navy for good -- just like the more than 13,000 other dedicated military personnel who have had their careers cut short since the law's inception in 1993. Those discharged include Arabic linguists, medics and others who held critical skills vital to national security.
A growing majority agree that a soldier's sexual orientation should have no bearing on whether they are allowed to serve. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in May, 69 percent of Americans now support allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military. Even Colin Powell, who authored the law, has called for it to be reviewed.
Since taking over as HR 1283's chief sponsor last month, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., aggressively has pursued repeal of a law that he says ``hinders national security and military readiness at a time when America is fighting in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.'' Murphy points to the enormous waste of taxpayer dollars -- $60,000 to train each of the 13,000 soldiers discharged thus far under the law -- as further reason to repeal ``don't ask, don't tell'' sooner rather than later. Murphy himself is an
My hope is that a repeal of this policy will allow many other gay, lesbian and bisexual service members to follow in my footsteps. From a practical standpoint, it doesn't work: it weakens our armed forces and costs taxpayers millions of dollars. More important, it is fundamentally and morally wrong.
Keith Meinhold, petty officer 1st class,