In a previous post, we shared with you how Navy Admiral Michael Mullen negated the perception that all military top brass were supportive of the prevailing “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that tolerated in a way but did not openly accept gay members of the U.S. military. He did so through a statement that was published on the Pentagon website as well as through Twitter.
There were various reactions to Admiral Mullen’s stand, both for and against his views. CNN shares this commentary written by a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy who lived a double life while she was in the service. She mentions in her commentary that she was “especially pleased with the leadership” of Admiral Mullen for making a stand supporting the repealing of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
Joan E. Darrah spent more than 29 years with the Navy, serving as a Naval Intelligence Officer and was Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander at the Office of Naval Intelligence. She was the recipient of several awards, including three Legion of Merits, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal.
Darrah shares that upon entering the Navy, she “had no idea” that she was gay, arriving at the realization only when she was well into her Navy career. This realization, however, did not change the fact that she “really enjoyed” her career and felt that she “was making a difference”. So she continued to serve.
She now lives in Virginia with her partner of 19 years, but pretended that her partner did not exist while she was in the service. It was the events of 9/11 that led her to rethink her life under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Darrah believes that the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” may come soon.