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Twenty-eight New Military Generals and Admirals Call for Repeal of Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell

On the 14th anniversary of the signing of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, 28 retired, high-ranking military leaders, including two Utahns, have signed onto a letter calling for the policy’s repeal. In the years since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was enacted, over 12,000 men and women have been discharged from the military under the policy.  This sign-on letter marks the single largest number of Generals and Admirals from the U.S. Armed Forces to come out against the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy at one time.

Don't Ask Don't Tell Event

The Human Rights Campaign and other groups displayed 12,000 flags on the National Mall Nov. 30-Dec 2 to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the discriminatory

"We support the recent comments of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Shalikashvili, who has concluded that repealing the 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy would not harm, and would indeed help, our armed forces," the letter states.

The opinions of Flag Officers have played a critical role in shaping the policy on gay service. President Bill Clinton chose not to fully lift the gay ban because key military leaders opposed ending the ban. But now a significant number of General Officers are coming forward to acknowledge their opposition to the ban on open service by gay and lesbian members of the Armed Forces.

Some political leaders and academic experts said in 1993 that the military would not be ready to allow openly gay service until society and the military had developed a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality. The statement of these 28 Generals and Admirals is evidence that these changes are occurring or have occurred already.  Additionally, a December 2006 Zogby poll of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan found that 73 percent of soldiers reported being comfortable in the presence of gays, and only 37 percent oppose repealing the policy. A May 2007 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showed that 79 percent of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

The letter will be read by two of the generals who will represent the group of 28 at a joint event sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers United Cabin Republicans, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Liberty Education Forum to recognize the 12,000 men and women discharged from the military since the signing of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." The groups will mark the anniversary of the policy’s signing by unveiling the "12,000 Flags for 12,000 Patriots" display on the National Mall. The tribute will begin on Friday, November 30 and continue through Sunday, December 2.

The New York Times has published a story about the letter. To read the story, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/us/30military.html?hp.

Text of the letter:

We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy. Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish. As General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said when the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy was enacted, it is not the place of the military or those in senior leadership to make moral judgments.

Scholarly data show that there are approximately one million gay and lesbian veterans in the United States today, as well as 65,000 gays and lesbians currently serving in our armed forces. They have served our nation honorably.

We support the recent comments of another former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Shalikashvili, who has concluded that repealing the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy would not harm, and would indeed help, our armed forces. As is the case in Britain, Israel, and other nations which allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion, and sexuality. Such collaboration reflects the strength and the best traditions of our democracy.

Lieutenant General Jerry Hilmes; Branch: Army

Vice Admiral Harold Koenig; Branch: Navy; Field: Medical

Vice Admiral James Zimble, Midlothian, VA; Branch: Navy; Field: Medical

Major General Leslie Burger, Vancouver, WA; Branch: Army; Field:  Medical

Major General Alexander Burgin, Salem, OR; Branch: Army NG; Field: Artillery

Major General Michael Conrad, McLean, VA; Field: Infantry

Major General James Delk, Fair Oaks, CA; Branch: Army; Field: Medical

Major General Jack Farris, New Jersey; Branch: Air Force; Field: Aviation (pilot)

Major General Fred Forster, Tennessee; Field: Aviation

Major General David Hale, Hampton Bays, NY; Field: Combat

Major General Randy Jayne, McClean, VA; Branch: Air NG; Field: Aviation (pilot)

Major General Dennis Laich, Dublin, OH; Branch: Army; Field: Military Police

Major General Dennis Malcor, Vine Grove, KY; Branch: Army; Field: Combat

Major General Michael Scotti*, Arlington, VA; Branch: Army; Field:  Medical

Major General Harry Sieben, Minnesota; Branch: Army and Air NG

Rear Admiral William Retz; Branch: Navy

Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, Woodbridge, VA; Branch: Army; Field:  Medical

Brigadier General Dale Barber, Waverly, NY; Branch: Army; Field: Infantry Engineer

Brigadier General Harold Bowman, Pleasant Hill, IA; Branch: Army NG; Field; Medical

Brigadier General Douglas Bradley, Diablo, CA; Branch: Army; Field: Medical

Brigadier General William Colvin; Branch: Army NG

Brigadier General Bob Hardy; Branch: Army

Brigadier General JD Johnson, Salt Lake City, UT; Branch: Army

Brigadier General Phil Peay, Utah; Field:  Engineering

Brigadier General Robert Poirot, Evergreen, CO; Branch: Army; Field: Artillery

Brigadier General Philip Pushkin, Randallstown, MD; Branch: Army NG

Brigadier General Donald Schenk, Troy, MI; Branch: Army; Field: Combat Systems

Brigadier General Daniel Wardrop, Williamsburg, VA; Field: Artillery

*General Scotti passed away in September, 2007 after agreeing to sign onto this statement. His widow has requested that he remain on the statement.

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