We Salute You: 8 Gay And Lesbian Servicemembers Who Paved The Way For The DADT Repeal

Today we celebrate the complete repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the end of the ban on gays and lesbians in the U.S. military. But the journey to this day is more than 18 years old—it’s older than the United States itself. We’re taking a look at some of the men and women who served this nation honorably but were discharged for being homosexuals; whose courage under fire helped to pave the way for open service.

There are thousands of others, of course—from Prussian military genius Lieutenant General Frederick Von Steuben (who trained George Washington’s Colonial army) and WWII veteran John McNeill (who received a Purple Heart and spent six months as a German POW) to Second Lieutenant Sandy Tsao (who wrote to President Obama to lift the ban and received a personal response) and Staff Sergeant Eric Alva (the first Marine seriously injured in the Iraq War). We salute all of them.

Happy (early) Veterans Day

Image via  USACE Public Affairs

UP FIRST: The first to go