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Air Force says Airman outed himself to get discharged. Groups want certification ASAP.

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NOTE FROM JOHN: If this was simply the case of a guy wanting out, then why didn't DOD tell either SLDN or SU about it?  Why keep it secret for a good month until the groups got wind of it?  It's an odd thing for a Democratic administration to do, in essence hide something, when they've got "nothing to hide."

Stars and Stripes reports that the servicemember who was discharged on April 29, 2011 outed himself and wanted out:

Air Force officials confirmed that an unidentified airman was dismissed under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law earlier this year, the first such firing since defense officials effectively put a moratorium on the law in October.

However, service officials emphasized the move came at the request of the airman, who requested to be released from military service despite the imminent repeal of the law banning openly gay troops.

“In this instance, the airman first class made a statement that he was a homosexual,” Air Force spokesman Maj. Joel Harper said Friday. “After making the statement but prior to the commander initiating separation action, the airman wrote the secretary of the Air Force asking to be separated.

“After the separation action was initiated, the individual was informed of the current status of the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and he reaffirmed to the [Air Force secretary] that he desired his separation action be expeditiously processed.”
I'll let Alex Nicholson from Servicemembers United provide the commentary:
"While the specific circumstances surrounding this airman's decision to intentionally out himself or herself remain unclear, this appears to be a classic case of someone simply trying to use the fact that the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law is still technically on the books to get out of his or her service obligation," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans. "This has always been yet another argument that we have made over the years as to why 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is flawed and harms the military - it can also be abused to allow someone to receive expensive training and then skip out on their commitment to serve, or it can simply be used to quit the military early by forcing an early separation."

"The overwhelming majority of gay and lesbian servicemembers are serving, have served, or have tried to serve out their service obligations despite the unnecessary extra burden of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law. This is all the more reason that repeal should be certified before Secretary Gates departs, as is expected, so that this misguided chapter in our history is finally over."
Yeah, let's wrap this thing up. SLDN's Aubrey Sarvis said:
“Though unfortunate, this discharge highlights the need for certification this month, and in fact, does nothing to diminish our concern that service members remain under investigation and are at risk of being discharged. At SLDN, we have clients facing administrative board hearings right now. Some of these clients have 10 to 18 years of military service and are not looking to be separated under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ In fact, they are fighting these investigations and board proceedings today. It’s critical that certification happen in the month of June. ”

The certification process -- and removal of the non-discrimination language -- were part of a compromise concocted by CAP's Winnie Stachelberg last May (she bragged about it.) White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina presented the new language as a done deal to the groups on May 24, 2010. No one liked it. But, they were stuck with it.

And, there's still no non-discrimination policy for the military. The President needs to fix that.

So, the process drags on and discharges are still allowed to happen. Ridiculous.

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