Discharged Airman to Advocate: “It was my choice. I wanted to get out”

Andrew Harmon talked to Airman 1st Class Albert Pisani, who was recently discharted under DADT. Pisani wanted to be discharged. Interesting — and concerning — on many levels:

“It was my choice. I wanted to get out. … I was done with what was going on at the time,” Pisani said.

Reached by phone, Pisani declined to discuss specifics on both his decision to out himself and his aggressive follow-up to ensure his discharge. But he said he was subjected to antigay comments and suspected his job performance was being unfairly scrutinized because of his sexual orientation. Pisani also expressed misgivings about the terms of “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and how it may affect gay service members’ ability to serve openly in the future, and his worries align with many from repeal advocates.

Although President Barack Obama signed repeal into law in December, DADT remains in effect pending certification by the president, secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and certification must be followed by a 60-day waiting period. Outgoing Defense secretary Robert Gates said earlier this week that repeal could be certified before he leaves office June 30, which gay service member groups have strongly advocated.

In late September, Pisani, who had served a tour of duty in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province in late 2009 to early 2010, said he walked into the office of his first sergeant at Davis-Monthan and disclosed his sexual orientation, wanting to leave. (His end of enlistment date had been scheduled for January 2012.) But the admission was made during a tumultuous, beginning-of-the-end period of the DADT policy, when a federal judge had ruled it unconstitutional, the Defense Department had moved to severely curtail discharge authority, and lawmakers were fighting over legislative repeal of the 1993 law.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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