Choi lost his battle with the Pentagon on June 29 when his discharge from the Army under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was finalized. While Choi's National Guard unit informed him by registered mail and with phone messages, he has not disclosed the action. He did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Choi, an Arabic linguist, Iraq Veteran, West Point Graduate, and infantry officer, has been an outspoken opponent of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, engaging in not only media and rally speeches, but also acts of civil disobedience and hunger strikes.
Choi was catapulted into the media spotlight when he came out on the The Rachel Maddow Show in March 2009. Choi then received a discharge letter following his public announcement that he was a gay soldier on Maddow's show. In response, Choi penned an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama and the United States Congress telling his story and blasting the DADT policy.
In the letter, Choi challenged the morality and wisdom of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, writing that the policy is:
...a slap in the face to me. It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers.
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Choi is among 59 gay Arabic linguists, along with 9 gay Farsi linguists, who have faced a discharge from the U.S. military from 2004 through 2009 under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy.
Choi sent this statement to the Bilerico Project:
My Statement on DADT Discharge
This morning I received notification of my honorable discharge from the army under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." After 11 years since beginning my journey at West Point and after 17 months of serving openly as an infantry officer this is both an infuriating and painful announcement.
But my service continues. To all those veterans who have endured similar trials and injustices or prematurely ended their military service because of the unjust policy: our fight has only begun.
The true honor and dignity of service does not come from a piece of paper, a pension or paycheck, a rank or status; only an unflinching commitment to improve the lives of others can determine the nature of one's service. From the first moment we put on our nation's uniform and swore our solemn oath, we committed ourselves to fight for freedom and justice; to defend our constitution and put the needs of others before our own. This is not an oath that I intend to abandon. Doing so at such a time, or remaining silent when our family and community members are fired or punished for who they truly are would be an unequivocal moral dereliction that tarnishes the honor of the uniform and insults the meaning of America.
Lt. Dan Choi
And they obtained a copy of Choi's discharge papers:
Now that discharge is apparently final, he has received that slap in the face he wrote about. And one more soldier has fallen to a policy based on fear, bigotry, and discrimination.
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