In a case that is likely to have repercussions for gay veterans discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, an Air Force Staff Sergeant, dismissed under the policy, will be reinstated to active duty at his former rank next month.
Anthony Loverde, dismissed in 2008, has been reinstated to his position, after a court case that challenged his discharge, as of two other personnel, was ruled in the favour of the plaintiffs. The uniqueness of the case stems not from the reinstatement – Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jase Daniel won a resolution to that effect last December — but from being restored to the same rank.
Previously, the Pentagon had said that while it would welcome re-applications from personnel formerly discharged under DADT, they would be afforded no special privilege, meaning, they would have to undergo the same gruelling selection procedures as before. Of the estimated 13,000 or so dismissed under the now defunct policy, many who still wanted to serve felt that their physical age would preclude them from performing as well as they could.
David McKean, Legal Director of Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network, the firm which represented Sgt. Loverde, said of the ruling: ”This victory is unique because it is a reinstatement — not just a reentry — meaning that Sergeant Loverde will return to his previous rank and be able to continue his career as if it had never been interrupted.”
Mr McKean added: “As a nation, we can never restore what was fully lost by this service member and many like him as a result of DADT, but at SLDN we are working day and night to ensure that those who wish to serve their country again may do so on active duty, in the reserves, or in the guard.”