Staff Sergeant Anthony Loverde, an
airman discharged for violating “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” in 2008,
will return to active duty in the Air Force.
The nation's largest legal group
advocating on behalf of LGBT troops, Servicemembers
Legal Defense Network (SLDN), and the law firm Morrison &
Foerster announced on Tuesday that their client would return to the
Air Force in May and be assigned to the 19th Operations
Squadron at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas.
The reinstatement makes Loverde the
second previously discharged gay service member to return to active
duty following the September 2011 repeal of DADT, the policy which
banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.
“I am honored and humbled to return
to the service of my country and the job I love,” Loverde said in a
statement. “I am grateful to my legal team and all those in the
armed forces who helped to facilitate this reinstatement. I am eager
to take the oath and get to work.”
In Almy v. U.S., SLDN challenged
the constitutionality of three plaintiffs' discharges under DADT and
sought their reinstatement to active duty. Navy
Petty Officer 2nd
Class Jase Daniels was reinstated under a resolution reached in
December. A resolution is expected soon on behalf of a third
plaintiff, former Air Force Major Mike Almy.
“This historic reinstatement again
reminds us that today's military is a welcoming place for qualified
patriots whose careers were cut short by the unjust 'Don't Ask, Don't
Tell' law. This victory is unique because it is a reinstatement –
not just a reentry – meaning that Sergeant Loverde will return to
his previous rank and be able to continue his career as if it had
never been interrupted. As a nation, we can never restore what was
fully lost by this service member and many like him as a result of
DADT, but at SLDN we are working day and night to ensure that those
who wish to serve their country again may do so on active duty, in
the reserves, or in the guard,” said SLDN Legal Director David
Loverde was discharged seven years
after entering the Air Force at the age of 20. Following his
discharge, he was hired by a military contractor to do largely the
same job of calibrating weapons systems he had done in the Air Force.