Gay US soldier Dan Choi asked to return to duty
Dan Choi, the US Army lieutenant who was forced to leave his unit last year after revealing he was gay, has been called back for drill duty.
The 28-year-old infantry platoon leader and West Point graduate defied the military gay ban by coming out live on television last summer.
He was subsequently asked to leave his unit and became one of the poster boys in the fight to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Yesterday, he told US gay magazine Advocate that he had been called personally by his commander at the New York Army National Guard and asked to return to drill duty.
Lt Choi has been waiting months to hear the final decision on his case after appearing from the Army National Guard committee in June.
Although he has not been officially discharged, he said at the time he had essentially been fired.
Lt Choi told Advocate he had received a warm welcome from his colleagues in the unit, saying: “Initially, I sensed a feeling of territorialism. They were like, ‘That’s right, he came back to us!'”
He added: “It felt good to just put away a lot of the past year. Obviously there were soldiers following everything I was doing, or there were others who didn’t have a clue.”
Around 13,000 servicemembers have been ejected since the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy’s introduction in 1993, including 60 Arabic linguists.
The policy is now under review after President Barack Obama promised he would end it in his State of the Union address earlier this month.