“We must carefully review a policy that rejects otherwise suitable military candidates,” said Congresswoman Susan Davis, Chair of the Military Personnel Subcommittee on Wednesday’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Hearing.
Three former military officers testified against the policy that has dismissed over 12,500 men and women from the armed forces since its implementation in 1993.
Homosexuality was not the only issue discussed. Speaking out against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, U.S. Army Major General Vance Coleman compared the policy to discriminatory policies he experienced when he enlisted in 1948.
“It only mattered that I was black,” Coleman said. “I’m grateful to encourage Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and allow the best and the brightest to serve.”
Two of the military officers discussed the difficulties they faced as homosexuals in the military.
“Whenever I got a call from the military higher-ups, I feared I’d somehow been outed and was about to get fired,” said U.S. Navy Captain Joan E. Darrah.
At “19 and gay,” Former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric F. Alva enlisted before the implementation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“I probably served a country not proud of me,” Alva said of his service in the Iraq war. “In my experiences, “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is outdated.”
After five testimonials, several subcommittee chairmen questioned the representatives.
President of the Center of Military Readiness, Elaine Donnelly brought up another loss of military men and women should “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” be repealed.
“We can’t afford to lose so many if they don’t agree with the new co-habitation.”
“Why should I give one twit about her [Captain Darrah’s] sexuality?” Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays asked Donnelly.
“We don’t make policies based on individuals, Congressman,” Donnelly responded.