Thursday, May 06, 2010

Stories from the Frontlines: Former Army Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll

Anticipating the markup of the Defense Authorization Bill in the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has launched a campaign, publishing open letters daily to President Obama from gay and lesbian servicemembers to urge the president to get "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repealed this year. As we've discussed on the show, the president must pressure senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee to put repeal as an amendment in the Defense Authorization Bill. And the president must put it in the defense budget he sends to Congress.

Every day we're on-air on the show, as well as here on the blog, we will share a letter, along with coalition of other blogs and commentators, that SLDN has highlighted from a servicemember written to President Obama.

May 6, 2010

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Anthony Moll and I am a bisexual veteran.

I served for eight years under the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that has failed our nation. I left the service just 10 weeks ago, and I can now say: this is the time, Mr. President, to push ahead and end this law.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is just a couple weeks away from holding a key vote on including repeal in the Defense budget. The vote will be close. Please, do whatever you can.

I have been proud to serve my country since joining the Army shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001. My proudest moment was raising my hand and volunteering to serve our country in its time of need.

When I enlisted in 2002, I knew what DADT said, but nothing could prepare me for what it meant.

I had never been closeted about my sexual orientation so joining meant not only keeping quiet, but also being asked to lie to those whom already knew. While my leaders were instilling the values of honesty and integrity in me, the law in place was forcing me to do the opposite.

I knew that despite serving with distinction as a military police officer protecting fellow soldiers and their families from harm, I could face expulsion. During my service I was hand-picked as a Phoenix Raven, an Air Force program in which only a handful of soldiers are asked to participate.

While serving as a handler in the military’s working dog program, I worked with the Secret Service in detecting explosives – working to protect you.

In 2008, I was recognized as my installation’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and Joint Service Member of the Year. Despite this distinction, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law treated me as a second-class citizen.

While I excelled at every turn, this law forced me to be dishonest with my peers, my friends and my community. Our nation’s heroes should not be forced to carry the burden of serving in silence when we need our troops keenly focused on their missions.

In the meantime, I'm not sitting on the sidelines. I am now working at the Human Rights Campaign on its efforts to repeal DADT now. But advocacy alone won't change the status quo.

Mr. President, tell Congress to move on repeal. Please allow my brothers and sisters-in-arms to live up to the Army values of respect, honor and integrity. Don’t let another life be ruined by a failed policy that hurts our nation as well as our heroes.

Mr. President, lift the ban.

Former Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll
United States Army