SLDN Client To Be Reinstated To Active Duty in Air Force
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and the law firm, Morrison & Foerster today announced that their client, Staff Sergeant Anthony Loverde, discharged in 2008 under the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" DADT law, will be reinstated in the U.S. Air Force and will return to active duty. He will take the oath in Sacramento in May 2012 and be assigned to the 19th Operations Squadron at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas. The reinstatement is set to make Loverde the second service member - and second SLDN client - reinstated to active duty following the repeal of DADT in September 2011.
"I am honored and humbled to return to the service of my country and the job I love. I am grateful to my legal team and all of those in the armed forces who helped to facilitate this reinstatement. I am eager to take the oath and get to work," said Loverde.
Loverde's reinstatement is the result of a resolution on his behalf in the historic case, Almy v. U.S., filed in 2010, which challenges the constitutionality of the three plaintiffs' discharges under DADT and seeks their reinstatement to active duty. A resolution was reached in December 2011 on behalf of Petty Officer 2nd Class Jase Daniels, who was reinstated in the U.S. Navy as a linguist. A resolution on behalf of the third plaintiff in the case, former Air Force Major Mike Almy, is expected soon.
"This historic reinstatement again reminds us that today's military is a welcoming place for qualified patriots whose careers were cut short by the unjust 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law. 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. 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," said SLDN Legal Director David McKean.
"This is a great day for Sergeant Loverde, but also a great day for our Armed Forces, which will now have a highly qualified service member back in its ranks. I am pleased that following the repeal of DADT, we have been able to reach a resolution for Sergeant Loverde that is in his best interest and in the best interest of justice," said M. Andrew Woodmansee, Daniels' attorney at Morrison & Foerster, which provides pro bono representation to Loverde and other clients in this case.
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.
"This underscores just how absurd the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law was and why repeal was the right thing to do," said McKean.
ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. Since 1993, our in-house legal team has responded to more than 11,000 requests for assistance.
SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: Call 1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100.