Openly gay sailor could again be recalled to active duty
Posted by pozlife on June 7, 2007
The U.S. Navy assigned an openly gay sailor to duty in the Individual Ready Reserves, where he can still be recalled to active duty, according to paperwork obtained by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Former petty officer second class Jason Knight, a Hebrew linguist, had already been recalled once after coming out to his superiors, being discharged and placed in the IRR.
Knight made headlines in May when he revealed in the military newspaper Stars & Stripes that he accepted a call-back to active duty and was serving openly in Kuwait in spite of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the military policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from acknowledging their sexual orientation. Following the media attention given to Knight’s case, the Navy moved to dismiss him from service again.
“I was expecting to be dismissed under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ but am ready, willing, and able to continue my service to the Navy if I am needed,” Knight said. “I have been nothing but proud of my service in the Navy, and I’m ready to serve in the Individual Ready Reserves and to return to active duty if called.”
During both of his previous tours in the Navy, Knight said he served openly with the support of his command and colleagues. Knight had also been out to his first in command. That command dismissed Knight for ‘completion of service,’ despite knowing about his sexual orientation, and also assigned him to the IRR. That assignment led to his second tour in the Navy.
Just before the end of his second tour of duty, Knight was removed and now has been placed on IRR duty until April 2009. Knight’s dismissal form, also called a DD-214, again lists his reason for dismissal as ‘completion of service.’ The classification allows him to again be called to active duty, as he was in 2006 after completing a four-year enlistment in the Navy.
“It’s a very pleasant, and unexpected, surprise to learn that the Navy so values Jason’s service that they have again assigned him to the Individual Ready Reserves, despite his very public advocacy as an openly gay man,” Steve Ralls, director of communications for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, told Stars & Stripes in a statement. “There are clearly many people inside the armed forces who couldn’t care less about sexual orientation. The Navy has welcomed Jason Knight not once, not twice, but now a third time, and he has always answered the call to duty.” (The Advocate)