Valley Solider Hoping for DADT Repeal

FRESNO, Calif. "Patriotism. I love this country and would give anything for it," said Anthony Dietrich.

Dietrich was only 19-years-old when he enlisted in the United States Army. He completed basic training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and planned on becoming an intelligence interrogator.

However, one year into service state side, those plans came to an abrupt halt. "I found out I was being discharged under a chapter 15 UCMJ action which is homosexual conduct," he said.

Dietrich said he was openly gay and his unit was fine with that. "Somebody who wasn't in my unit who found out I was turned me into my commanding officers."

Since 1993 more than 13,500 soldiers have been discharged under the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy according to a Virginia state representative. Now that President Obama and other leaders are working to repeal this policy. Some in the Valley agree it's about time.

"I think there's a place for everybody," said Chuck Terrazas who is 84-years old and a veteran of WWII. "If they go through basic training and they perform like they're supposed to why there's no problem having them in there," he said.

Still some Valley veterans are against changing military tradition.

"What I believed in when I fought for it and what a lot still believe in, even the younger generation. So there for the don't tell policy should not be repealed," said Steve Coulourianos.

Every month the military manages to hit its recruitment goals. There are some like Anthony Dietrich who believe that if don't ask don't tell is repealed more people would be willing to serve their country.

Dietrich said, "Honestly I hope they put a grandfather clause in it to where those who have been kicked out under it can go back in."

Military officials said it could take longer than a year to repeal the policy.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.