30 Days of Pride!
June 13: The Almy Plaintiffs
Almy v. U.S., filed in 2010 by SLDN, challenges the constitutionality of three discharges under the discriminatory “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” (DADT) and seeks the reinstatement of the plaintiffs to active duty. To date, two of the three have been reinstated since the repeal of the DADT law, and the case of the third, former Air Force Major Mike Almy, remains pending. Today, we meet the plaintiffs.
Former Air Force Major Mike Almy – Maj Mike Almy was deployed to Iraq in early 2003 when he sent what he thought was an innocuous note to his partner back home using military e-mail. Months later, his emails were searched and his chain of command deemed the content of that e-mail a violation of DADT. Consequently, he was administratively discharged from the service. Almy had served thirteen years, including four deployments to the Middle East. He is a highly trained communications officer, and during his thirteen-year Air Force career, former Maj Almy received numerous military awards and decorations.
Following his discharge, he became an effective and articulate advocate for the repeal of DADT, appearing on countless network and cable tv news programs, on radio, online, and in print to advocate for ending the law. In addition, he testified before Congress about the harms done to gay and lesbian service members and walked the white carpet at MTV's Video Music Awards with Lady Gaga during the height of the repeal fight. Currently, he is a consultant with the firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, as he awaits a resolution in his case.
Petty Officer 2nd (PO2) Class Jase Daniels – PO2 Jase Daniels Daniels, now age 29, entered the military five months before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He served his first tour of duty with the Ceremonial Guard in Washington, D.C., where he represented the U.S. at official White House ceremonies and during state and military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. From his post at Arlington, he watched the Pentagon burn that day, an experience he says reinforced his desire to serve. He completed Hebrew linguist training and was stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia, where he came to terms with his sexual orientation and outed himself to his commander and was subsequently discharged. In 2006, Daniels received a letter recalling him to service and served in Kuwait for a year with the U.S. Navy Customs Battalion Romeo. Despite the DADT law in effect, he served for a year before he was discharged a second time under the law.
Jase fought back and in December 2011, became the first service member reinstated to active duty following the repeal of DADT. Watch the video message he sent to SLDN and our supporters to say “thank you” for helping him regain his military career.
Staff Sergeant (SSG) Anthony Loverde – SSG Anthony Loverde entered the Air Force at age 20, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant before he was discharged seven years later under DADT. He is an expert at calibrating weapons systems and had been in charge of cargo on more than sixty flights into Iraq. Following his discharge, he was hired immediately by a military contractor and sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, largely doing the same job he had done in the Air Force before his discharge, further underscoring the absurdity of the law.
In April 2012, SLDN reached a resolution in his case, making him the second person to be reinstated to his prior position and rank in the military following repeal of DADT. To read more about Loverde's historic reinstatement, click here.