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Congratulations to David Hall
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/17/13
Last updated on: 01/17/13
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Congratulations to David Hall, former USAF staff sergeant, who has been chosen as one of eight "Citizen Co-Chairs" of President Obama's Inauguration on January 21, 2012. Hall was discharged under the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy, which banned service by openly gay personnel, and then worked hard to repeal it.

The Citizen Co-Chairs have been selected to highlight particular achievements during the President's first term, including health care, education assistance, energy developments, winding down the war in Afghanistan, and, in Hall's case, repealing DADT.

In announcing the Citizen Co-Chairs, the President said, "Every day, I'm inspired by the determination, grit, and resilience of the American people. The stories of these extraordinary men and women highlight both the progress we've made and how much we have left to do. They remind us that when we live up to the example set by the American people, there is no limit to how bright our future can be."

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was in effect from 1993 until September 2011. It was responsible for curtailing the military careers of more than 14,000 American servicemembers and causing psychological damage to many more. The policy forced gay men and lesbians in the military to live in constant fear of exposure as they served under the threat of losing their jobs should their sexual orientation become known.

The cost to American taxpayers of discharging openly gay servicemembers under DADT is estimated to have exceeded half a billion dollars. But the cost to military effectiveness and governmental integrity was even more staggering. The policy promoted a hostile working environment, wasted crucial resources on unnecessary investigations, and forced many qualified service members to leave the military, depriving the military of many needed talents.

Hall, who is currently the director of development at OutServe-SLDN, which supports glbtq service members and veterans, and the other citizen co-chairs will participate in a number of Inaugural events, beginning with the National Day of Service on January 19. They will attend the swearing-in ceremony on January 21 and ride on a parade float highlighting the inaugural theme of "Our People: Our Future." On the evening of January 21, they will attend the official inaugural balls.

In a press release issued by OutServe SLDN, Hall said, "This is certainly the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to President Obama for his leadership in repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' so that no qualified American who wants to serve this country in uniform will ever again be denied that right simply because they are gay or lesbian."

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson said, "There is a great deal more to do on the road to full LGBT equality in our military, but it's important for us to take a moment this weekend to honor the leadership of this President and recognize just how far we have come. There could be no better personification of that than former Air Force Sergeant David Hall.

During his active duty service, Hall received numerous awards including, the Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Air Force Training Ribbon, NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and Air Force Good Conduct Medal.

Following in the footsteps of his father and stepfather, Hall joined the Air Force in March 1996. He was promoted to staff sergeant and graduated as a distinguished graduate from Airman Leadership School. After re-enlisting for another four years, he applied for Air Force ROTC and was selected under the Professional Officer Course--Early Release Program. Soon after he was selected to begin to begin pilot training in August 2002, he was discharged for "homosexual conduct" after a fellow cadet told his commanders that he is gay.

In the video below, from a 2010 In the Life segment, David Hall and Julianne H. Sohn discuss Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the process of repeal.

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