A soldier who was discharged from the US Army 60 years ago for being a ‘Class II homosexual’ has finally been granted an honourable discharge.
Donald Hallman, aged 82, had served in the US military from 1953 to 1955 – but after getting caught meeting with a young man in Frankfurt, he was given an “undesirable” discharge for being a “Class II homosexual”.
Aside from merely being an insult, the status disqualified Private Hallman from claiming any veterans benefits, and would also show up on employment checks.
He would later keep his entire military record a secret from his family, rather than explain the humiliating discharge.
Private Hallman would have to wait nearly 60 years for history to catch up with him – until the ban on openly gay soldiers finally was lifted with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2010.
After finally opening up to his daughter about his history last year, the former soldier took his case to the Army Review Board, appealing for his ‘undesirable’ discharge status to be revoked.
Six decades after his dismissal, Donald Hallman’s request was finally granted this week, and he has now been granted an honourable discharge.
LGBT group Stonewall Columbus, which has helped the former soldier through the process, said: “We are SO very proud to announce that Veteran Donald Hallman has received his honorable discharge after once being given an “undesirable” discharge and removed from the Army in 1955.
“We have been working with Don through our ‘LGBT Veterans Dischage Review Program’ since last June and we are so proud to announce this great news!
“We sincerely want to thank Senator Sherrod Brown and his staff for collaboration with us to this happy end and for demanding a timely and appropriate response from the Army Review Board.”
According to Democratic lawmaker Sherrod Brown, who helped push for the verdict, an estimated 100,000 US citizens have been discharged from the military because of their sexuality. Many were also blocked from claiming the veterans benefits they had earned.
Listen to the veteran tell his incredible story below: