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The End of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The Impact in Studies and Personal Essays by Service Members and Veterans

Edited by J. Ford Huffman and Tammy S. Schultz

DOI: 10.56686/9780160905469



The inspiration for this book came from some research Tammy Schultz conducted on the desegregation of the military. Finding African American and white voices from that era, as well as policy recommendations, proved a herculean task. Having all of these voices and recommendations in one place, she thought, would be a researcher’s dream. As noted in Dr. Schultz’s previous research, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is not analogous to desegregation of the U.S. military. That said, for those researching the issues, policy makers desiring specific recommendations, or those simply wanting to learn more about the topic, the process of understanding is much the same. In some ways, getting voices on the record for DADT proved even more difficult because until 20 September 2011, one could not be openly gay or lesbian and serve in the U.S. armed forces. Nor could one tell by just looking at a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine if he or she were gay—self-identification, something that goes against a culture that values the team above the individual, is necessary.

This book includes two parts in order to achieve its vision. The first part contains reports that shed light on the way forward for the services and policy makers. The second gives voice to those who have served under DADT, both gay and straight, and highlights their personal experience under this policy.


J. Ford Huffman is an editor, writer, educator, designer, and artist whose nonfiction book reviews appear regularly in the Military Times newspapers. His articles have appeared in USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Hindustan Times, and Carnegie Corporation’s Reporter magazine. Tammy S. Schultz, PhD, is the director of the national security and joint warfare department and professor of strategic studies at the Marine Corps War College. In 2010, she won the Dr. Elihu Rose Award for teaching excellence at Marine Corps University and was the 2011 nominee from the Marine Corps War College. Dr. Schultz also teaches in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.



J. Ford Huffman and Tammy S. Schultz

Part One: The Reports

After Repeal: Lessons from Foreign Militaries

Nora Bensahel

The Case for Military Family Readiness: Support for the Committed Same-Sex Partners and Families of Gay Service Members 

LtCol Thomas Dolan, USMC, and Cdr Randall J. Biggs, USN

An Analysis of Opinion: The Impact of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Its Repeal, and the Proposed Plan to Implement the Repeal

Maj Darrel L. Choat, USMC

It’s Time to Redefine the Marine Warrior

Maj Alasdair B. G. Mackay, USMC

Part Two: The Essays

Introduction to the Essays

J. Ford Huffman

To Think Critically and Creatively, to Dare to Know

Col Michael F. Belcher, USMC (Ret)

Serving While Openly Gay: Coming Out in 1993 and Serving as a Gay Marine

Justin Crockett Elzie

An Openly Gay Navy Officer for Four Years

R. Dirk Selland

Women at War: I Represent the People Whose Voices Aren’t Heard

Vernice Armour

A High Five Instead of a Kiss

Kristen Kavanaugh

In a Combat Zone I Was Worried That I Would Be Found Out

Julianne H. Sohn

Return to Duty: Gay Troops Will Continue to Conduct Themselves with Honor

Antonio G. Agnone

I Hope to Resume My Career as an Officer and Leader

Michael D. Almy

A Law That Said I Am Not Good Enough to Serve

David Hall

Repeal is a Testament to the Core Values of the United States

Joseph Christopher Rocha

One of My Best Friends: Of 5,936 Floggings, Only 5 for “Homosexual Offenses”

Mark D. Faram

Joe’s Story is the One I Tell Most Often

Seth Moulton

At Ease with Myself: I Allowed Law to Compromise Honor, Courage, Commitment

Maj Darrel L. Choat, USMC

It Is Possible That Someone in the Room Is Gay

Maj Dirk Diener, USMC

Coming Out to a Fellow Marine Was No Big Deal

Brian Fricke

“Buck Up and Serve Honorably”

Justin H. Johnson

After a First Salute to Two New Officers, Devastation

Ed Luna

The Moral Dilemma of Honor and Deception

Maj Alasdair B. G. Mackay, USMC

Investigated 17 Times in 23 Years of Service

Kristen L. Tobin

A Legacy of the Holocaust, Normandy, and Vietnam

Stacy J. Vasquez

Marching Forward: A Time to Empower Gay Troops to Speak for Themselves

Lara A. Ballard

The Knife Is Out of Their Backs

Michelle M. Benecke

Reactions from Indifference to Open Support

SFC David Cogdill, USA

The Law Magnified a Cultural Barrier

Andrew Harris

Services Will Get On with the Business at Hand

Brendan P. Kearney

Appendix: Historical Documents

They Are Already There

Senator Jim Webb

What the Service Chiefs Said: Statements to the Senate

From the Commandant and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, 28 January 2011

Certification of Readiness to Implement Repeal, 22 July 2011

6 x 9 paperback
280 pages
PDF download

Marine Corps University