Gay former US Air Force Major settles ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ lawsuit

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A former airman who was discharged from the US Air Force under ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ has settled his lawsuit against the Defense Department.

Mike Almy, an Air Force Major who served in Iraq was discharged in 2006 after his commanding officer found out he was gay.

He joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1988 and graduated in the top 10% of all graduates nationwide. In 1993, Mr Almy went on active duty with the Air Force just as ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ was created.

Mr Almy was a decorated Air Force major having been named officer of the year for his unit and selected as one of only six officers picked to attend Professional Military Education at Quantico. He was deployed to the Middle East four times and was in charge of a team of almost 200 men who controlled the airspace over Iraq.

However, his personal emails were searched and private messages to his boyfriend were sent to his commanding officer which led to him being relieved of his duties and security clearance and after a 16-month investigation, he was forced to leave the base with half of his expected severance pay.

When ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ was eventually repealed in 2011, the announcement was bittersweet for Mr Almy.

He said, “It’s obviously a tremendous step forward toward equality for all gay and lesbian Americans, LGBT Americans. It’s long overdue. It’s obviously something that most of the rest of our allies have already (done), long-since changed their policies, and it’s past time that we do this in America. It came a few years too late for me, as well as the 13,000 other Americans and tens of thousands of Americans before 1993, when this became a law.”

He sought the help of OutServe-SLDN and the law firm Morrison & Foerster and on Friday it was announced that he had made a settlement with the Department of Defense that included service credit and a cash payment. The details of the settlement have been kept classified.

Mr Almy said: “I appreciate all of those who worked on my behalf to find a resolution and close this painful chapter in my life with a positive ending. America has moved on from this discriminatory law, and it’s my hope that one day soon we will realize the vision of full equality in our military.”