Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The Advocate is reporting gay military rights advocate Lt. Dan Choi has been called back to active duty. Lt. Choi confirmed the report in a phone interview Tuesday.
Choi was scheduled to appear at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference over the weekend but instead rejoined his unit. Choi said his commander called him personally, asking him to return.
Choi told The Advocate that he felt welcomed back by his fellow guardsmen in his infantry unit.
“Initially, I sensed a feeling of territorialism,” he said. “They were like, ‘That’s right, he came back to us!’”
Even though Choi faced an Army National Guard committee in June, the board recommended he be discharged under the viciously antigay, Clinton-era policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” his commanding officer was highly supportive of the decorated Arabic translator and West Point graduate.
“The paperwork has been floating around in the Pentagon very slowly,” Choi said. “Usually people wait six or seven days for their discharge. Meanwhile I’m waiting for months to hear back.”
Since his hearing in June, Choi hasn’t been able to perform drills with his unit. He’s been substituting by doing those routines on the side. Now that he is back, he has been spending time “shooting rifles and doing all of the regular drill exercises.”
“It felt good to just put away a lot of the past year,” he said, also comparing his return to that of a Thanksgiving gathering. “Obviously there were soldiers following everything I was doing, or there were others who didn’t have a clue.”