Lee Reinhart, a US Navy and US Coast Guard Veteran who was discharged from the Coast Guard due to the recently repealed DADT policy, has reenlisted in the US Navy Reserve on Monday Oct 24th. After honorably serving in the Navy in the 1990s, Reinhart reenlisted in the Coast Guard following the 911 attack, in order to do his part to serve our nation. After serving only a few months in the Coast Guard, he was discharged after it was discovered that he is gay. Since then Lee Reinhart has dedicated his volunteer efforts towards the repeal of the DADT policy through his work with American Veterans For Equal Rights, as a member of the Chicago AVER Chapter and currently in reestablishing the AVER Columbus Chapter. He is among the first of those discharged due to DADT to reenlist in our armed forces following the repeal of the policy.
In his own words, Petty Officer Reinhart states, “I was honored to have my family, friends, political leaders, active duty personal and my fellow AVER veterans there to see me reenlist. I was especially honored to have Congressman Quigley administer the oath to me. The day was very personal for me. My young nieces (one is 4 and other is 2) were there and I stated (in my speech) that it is very important for me to hope that one day when they are older and read in history books about DADT and its repeal they will know their uncle had a role in its repeal and be very proud. During this long journey I never knew that if repeal ever came if I would actually get to return to service myself; but knew that no matter what, it was the right thing to do and see it through till the end. So now it is even more rewarding to have opportunity to return to be able serve again.
Finally, I ask active service members and veterans to stand with me to honor all who have served; knowing that today our country sees all of us as the same, on one team, judged by the content of our character rather than by whom we happen to love.”
AVER is the national Veterans Service organization dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT veterans and service members, and advocating for our equal benefits.
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