No Stop-Loss, No IRR Recall for SGT Manzella
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced yesterday the June 10 honorable discharge of Sergeant Darren Manzella from the U.S. Army, under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Manzella, 30, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 and was twice deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge for providing medical care to his fellow soldiers, Iraqi National Guardsmen and civilians while under fire. [ . . . ]OYE Comment:
Manzella: It was difficult to be told, despite serving in a war zone for two rotations and proving my skills in combat, that the Army no longer wanted me to continue serving. And to be told that I was being discharged, not because of bad conduct or poor work performance, but because of who I am was frustrating.
[ . . . ]
Many of my peers and co-workers voiced to me that they felt it was unfair that I was being discharged. They felt, as many people in our military and society feel, that an able and competent soldier should be retained especially in this time when we are fighting two wars and need every capable man and woman who is willing to put on a uniform and serve their country. [ . . . ]
What advice would you offer to young gays and lesbians considering a career in the military?
I have been asked for advice by young gay men and women contemplating a career in the military. I tell them what I would tell anyone whether they be male/female, black/white/Hispanic/Asian, gay or straight. If you choose to defend your country just do your job the very best you can and don’t let any classification make you feel as if you are not worthy of wearing that uniform. And if a situation occurs, much like what I recently experienced, you will know that you are a true American patriot, even if an outdated policy says that you are no longer fit to serve your country. [ . . . ]
Thanks to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," passed by Congress and signed by then-President Clinton, non-heterosexual former Sergeant Manzella is exempt from Stop-Loss and Involuntary Recall from the Individual Ready Reserve, leaving only heterosexuals to take his place.
Supporters of the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, like presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain [AZ], should explain to the American people why they prefer Stop-Loss and Involuntary Recalls to letting Sergeant Darren Manzella serve our nation in uniform.
UPDATE: 60 Minutes will re-broadcast then-Sgt. Manzella's interview Sunday, July 13.