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BREAKING: SLDN STATEMENT ON COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW WORKING GROUP (CRWG) REPORT

BREAKING: SLDN STATEMENT ON COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW WORKING GROUP (CRWG) REPORT:

“This exhaustive report is overwhelmingly positive and constructive. The Pentagon validated what repeal advocates and social scientists have been saying about open service for over a decade. Still, some initial resistance may come from one or more of the service chiefs – the very leaders who will be charged with implementing this change. Those chiefs will need to salute and lead in bringing about this needed change. Fortunately, the chiefs have already made it clear they will do precisely that if Congress acts. Now, it’s up to the Senate to make repeal happen this year,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

ABOUT SLDN: SLDN was established in 1993 when “Don’t Ask” originally passed. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by DADT; this year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2010
Trevor Thomas: (616) 430-2030 or trevor@sldn.org
Paul DeMiglio: (202) 621-5408 or pdemiglio@sldn.org

KEY CRWG REPORT POINTS:

• When asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with a co-worker who they believed was gay or lesbian, 92% stated that the unit’s “ability to work together” was “very good,” “good,” or “neither good nor poor.”

o 89% for those in ARMY combat arms units and 84% for those in MARINE combat arms units.

• When asked about how having a service member in their immediate unit who said he or she is gay would affect the unit’s ability to “work together to get the job done,” 70% of Service members predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.

• When asked “in your career, have you ever worked in a unit with a co-worker that you believed to be homosexual,” 69% of Service members reported that they had.

• In communications with gay and lesbian current and former service members, the CRWG repeatedly heard a patriotic desire to serve and defend the Nation, subject to the same rules as everyone else.

• The CRWG is convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war. They do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated Service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our Nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission.

• The CRWG found “the risk of repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell to overall military effectiveness is low.”

• The CRWG believes this to be the “largest, most Comprehensive review of a personnel policy matter which the department of defense has ever undertaken.”

SERVICE MEMBERS AVAIL FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS:

List Includes Active-Duty, Retired Flag Officers, Discharged Officers/Enlisted/ROTC Students, Youth Interested In Signing Up

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), will be making the following service members available to discuss repealing DADT in the Senate’s lame-duck session, the release of the Comprehensive Working Group Report and the U.S. Senate hearings this week.

• Former Specialist 4th Class Aubrey Sarvis, USA; served during the 1960s when homosexuality was still a criminal offense in the military. He now serves as executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Sarvis is the former chief counsel for the Senate Commerce Committee and later served as executive vice president of Verizon Communications. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Major General Dennis Laich, USA (Ret.); was commissioned through Army ROTC at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1971. He is a graduate of the US Army War College, the Command and General Staff College, and the Program for National and International Security Studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. His civilian education includes master’s degrees from West Virginia University and Saint Francis University. His military awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Joint Meritorious Service Medal. MARKET: COLUMBUS, OH. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Major General Vance Coleman, USA (Ret.); enlisted in the Army at 17, a year before President Truman signed the Executive Order ending racial discrimination in the armed forces of the United States. He served in the Korean Conflict, functioning in a variety of positions: Forward Observer, Fire Direction Officer, Executive Officer, Operations Officer, Brigade Commander and Division Commander. His decorations include: the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and the Parachutist's Badge. MARKET: PHOENIX, AZ. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Brigadier General Keith H. Kerr, CSMR (Ret.); entered the U. S. Army as a Private at Fort Ord, California, on 21 September 1953. After completing basic and advanced training, he served with the 513th Military Intelligence Group in Germany during the Cold War. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1986 with the rank of Colonel and was commissioned in the California State Military Reserve of the California National Guard on 15 March 1986. General Kerr is a graduate of the Intelligence Orientation Course, the Imagery Interpretation Course, the Army Intelligence Advance Course, the Special Forces Officer Course, the Civil Affairs Advance Course, the Inspector General Course, the Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He now serves as Chairman of the General Rail Corporation. MARKET: SF BAY AREA, CA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Captain Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret.); joined the Navy in 1973 and served as a Naval Intelligence officer. Highlights of her career include attending the Naval War College in 1981. After graduating, she then served as the Aide and Flag Secretary to the President of the Naval War College. Other assignments included Deputy Director of the Human Resources Directorate at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Intelligence Community Senior Detailer and Community Manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel. From June 1997 until July 2000, she was assigned as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander at the Office of Naval Intelligence. Her final assignment was on the staff of the Director of Naval Intelligence where she was the Officer and Enlisted Community Manager from July 2000 until June 2002 when she retired. Captain Darrah's personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal. Darrah was serving in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. / VIRGINIA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Colonel Stewart Bornhoft, USA, (Ret.); graduated from West Point in 1969, and initially reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, to become Airborne and Ranger qualified, before serving in the 47th Combat Engineer Battalion (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, NC. He then volunteered for Vietnam, where he was a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer. He volunteered to extend his combat tour and was given command of D Company, 26th Combat Engineer Battalion and then HHC of the 196th Infantry Brigade, before returning to Fort Bragg as a Battalion Adjutant. Bornhoft retired in September 1995, and his awards include the Legion of Merit (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star (with OLC), the Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 OLCs), the Air Medal (with 3 awards), the Army Commendation Medal (with 2 OLCs), the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab. MARKET: SAN DIEGO, CA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Captain April F. Heinze, USN (Ret.); a 1982 NROTC graduate of the University of Virginia’s school of engineering. Following her commissioning as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, she served on active duty for more than 23 years. Heinze served on several senior staffs including the Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she was responsible for various base operations support policies and programs. During her Navy career, April was a leader in the integration of women into the military’s civil engineer and construction forces. In 1989, she became one of the first women officers assigned to a Navy Construction Battalion (SEABEE) and in 1990 she deployed to Saudi Arabia as a Company Commander during the first week of Desert Shield to support the Marines Expeditionary Force. Captain Heinze's military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal. MARKET: SAN DIEGO, CA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, USAF (Active Duty); a decorated aviator and was notified that his commander was seeking to discharge him under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in September 2008. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is only 10 months from reaching his 20-year retirement in September 2011. Throughout his distinguished service he has attained nine Air Medals and currently works on desk duty at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho awaiting the results of more than two years of investigations and discharge proceedings. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Commander Zoe Dunning, USN (Ret.); is the Co-Chair of the SLDN board of directors. In January 1993, while a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves, Dunning publicly came out as a lesbian at a political rally outside the gates of California's Moffett Field. Dunning won her subsequent two-and-a-half year legal battle to remain in the Navy Reserves. The Navy promoted her twice and awarded her the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal since her coming out. She retired in June 2007 and holds the distinction of serving her country as an openly gay member of the U.S. military for over 13 years. She currently serves on Senator Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) Service Academy Selection Committee. She is a United States Naval Academy graduate, and received her MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. MARKET: SAN FRANCISCO, CA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Major Mike Almy, USAF; a decorated service member who testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee about his discharge in 2006. If “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) ended today, he’d re-enlist tomorrow. The military searched his personal emails while deployed in Iraq during a routine computer maintenance check. Almy’s command asked him his sexual orientation based on content from the emails. Per the investigation, Almy made no statement of his homosexuality – even after being asked by his superiors. He is one of six officers selected from the entire Air force to attend Professional Military Education at Quantico, Virginia. Deployed to the Middle East four times. In last deployment, I led a team of nearly 200 men and women to operate and maintain the systems used to control the air space over Iraq; the unit came under daily mortar attacks. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / VIRGINIA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Major Jeffery Cleghorn, USA; is a 1984 distinguished military graduate of North Georgia College in Dahlonega, where he received a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, he received a commission in the United States Army as an Officer in the Army’s Military Intelligence Corps. Jeff’s military career included overseas assignments in South Korea and Germany, and stateside assignments in Arizona and South Carolina. Jeff spent his final years in the Army working in Washington, D.C., for the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, on the Joint Staff (Directorate for Intelligence). His military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Staff Commendation Medal and the Parachutist Badge. He is a Named Partner with the law firm of Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, with offices in Atlanta and Athens, Georgia. MARKET: ATLANTA, GA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Captain Thomas T. Carpenter, USMC; a distinguished military graduate of the class of 1970 of the U.S. Naval Academy. After completing infantry training at The Basic School in 1971, he was assigned to the Naval Aviation Training Command and later designated a Naval Aviator. While on active duty he accumulated over 2500 hours in the A-4 Skyhawk. Carpenter resigned his commission in 1976, at the rank of Captain and later joined the Marine Reserves. From 1978 through 1983, Tom was a pilot for Continental Airlines, flying the Boeing 727. MARKET: LOS ANGELES, CA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Captain Anthony Woods, USA; a graduate of West Point and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Woods deployed to Iraq twice as a platoon leader between 2004 and 2006 where he earned the Bronze Star for his service. In 2008, Anthony informed his chain of command he wanted to continue serving in the military but no longer intended to abide by the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. After a six-month investigation, Anthony was discharged from the military in December of 2008 for violating the law. Since then, Anthony has run for an open U.S. House seat in a special election from his home district in California. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / VIRGINIA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Lieutenant Paula Neira, USNR; graduated, with distinction, from the United States Naval Academy in 1985 and served as a Surface Warfare Officer on active duty and as a reservist. During Operation Desert Storm, she participated in mine warfare combat operations as a task group staff officer. After leaving the Navy in 1991, she became a registered nurse, specializing in emergency and trauma nursing. Graduating from law school in 2001, she is a member of the Maryland Bar, a former SLDN staff attorney, and a recognized expert in sexual minority/ military issues. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / BALTIMORE, MD. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Lieutenant Junior Grade Jenny Kopfstein, USN; a decorated service member who testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee about her discharge in 2002. If “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) ended today, she’d re-enlist tomorrow. After her discharge, she used her smarts to go to law school. On October 12, 2000 - the day the USS COLE was attacked – her ship was placed on alert. Her Captain personally chose her to serve as the Officer of the Deck while the ship was ordered to put to sea immediately. As she testified: In a state of alert, no one cared a bit about her sexual orientation, even though they knew about it as she was already under investigation. Her Captain wrote in a Fitness Report in 2002 that her “sexual orientation has not disrupted good order and discipline onboard USS SHILOH.” MARKET: SAN DIEGO, CA. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez, USA; started her career with the United States Army in 1991, immediately after high school. Vasquez was later selected as the Distinguished Honor Graduate from both recruiting school and advanced non-commissioned officer paralegal studies courses. During Vasquez’ annual evaluation in 2002, she was cited as the top recruiter in the Army and told she should be promoted ahead of her peers. In January 2003, Vasquez’s commander told her that a co-worker’s wife had seen Vasquez kissing a woman at a club in Dallas. She was discharged from the Army in August 2003. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Sergeant Darren Manzella, USA; entered into the Army in 2002 and served for more than six years including two deployments to Iraq and Kuwait. Though open to his commanders and colleagues since 2006, he was discharged in 2008 under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell after appearing on 60 Minutes speaking about serving in the combat zone as an openly gay Soldier. At the time of his discharge Manzella served as the Medical Liaison Officer for the First Cavalry Division. He is now a director in the Advancement Department at the University of Rochester in New York. MARKET: ROCHESTER, NY. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, USAF; a decorated service member who served five years enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was selected as a Distinguished Graduate from Airman Leadership School before he attended AFROTC at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He was dis-enrolled from AFROTC after a female cadet went to his commander and told them he was gay. Hall was ranked first in his class and had received a pilot slot when he was discharged in August 2002. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. Booking: trevor@sldn.org

• SPANISH SPEAKER: Former Lance Cpl. Danny Hernandez, USMC; enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008 and achieved the rank of Lance Corporal before being discharged earlier this year. Before beginning his undergraduate studies he was awarded a four year ROTC scholarship to Oklahoma University, but declined it to attend Texas A&M. Danny spent four years in ROTC there, obtaining the rank of Commanding Officer his senior year, and was months away from attending Officer Candidate School as a college graduate. He is fully committed to returning to military service after the repeal of DADT. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Private First Class Raymond W. Smith, USA; and former Chairman of Verizon (formerly Bell Atlantic) until he retired at the end of 1998, topping off a 40-year career that included several positions of increasing responsibility. Smith was named Chairman of Rothschild North America in 1999 and founded Arlington Capital Partners the same year. Over the years, he has been active in many civic, charitable, and cultural organizations and has been a board member of Westinghouse, CBS, Viacom, First Union, U S Airways, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Rockefeller Foundation, Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is currently the Co-Chairman of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK, NY. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Former Cadet Sara Isaacson, USA ROTC; served as a Cadet in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Army ROTC program from August 2006 until January 2010. She ranked in the top 15% of all Cadets during the Leader Development and Assessment Course 2009 at Ft. Lewis, WA and received her first choice branch of Air Defense Artillary. After coming to terms with her sexuality late in 2009, Isaacson came out to her Commander in January 2010 in order to uphold her integrity and was subsequently dis-enrolled due to DADT. MARKET: CHAPEL HILL, NC. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

• Elizabeth Shirey, civilian planning to pursue military career; graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College in 2010. She currently serves as SLDN’s Grassroots/Policy Advocate and formerly led Wellesley’s LGBT political advocacy group. She served as legal intern for the USAF Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps on Bolling AFB in 2009, and interned on Capitol Hill for Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) in 2008. If DADT is repealed, she plans to enroll in ROTC during law school and pursue a career path as a military lawyer with USAF JAG. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: trevor@sldn.org

SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Gay and lesbian service members with questions on repeal are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (www.sldn.org) is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A journalists’ guide is available here.

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