RE: Overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Michael Watts and I am US Navy Veteran. I served for six years from 2002-2008. I was stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from 2004-2008 as a nuclear propulsion plant mechanical operator.
As a young American and a Veteran of our armed forces, I am writing to urge you to help end the military’s discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
As the House prepares to vote this week, I'm asking you, as a representative from the state of Texas, to vote for the Murphy Amendment supporting repeal.
In March Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen bravely came out in support of repeal. Earlier this week, the Obama Administration reconfirmed their support for ending this practice.
Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” reaffirms the dignity and service of all our brave men and women in service. Since 1993, nearly 14,000 service persons have been separated from the military simply because of who they are. Repeal will not only make our country safer and stronger but will improve military readiness and save the American taxpayers $363 million in having to replace service members lost to this policy.
The number of service persons lost to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the equivalent of three Nimitz class aircraft carriers. If we lost manning to three aircraft carriers, it would gravely cripple our nation’s defense. The strength of our military does not lie in the hardware such as ships and planes, but in our people. We are turning away key assets such as: Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, Air Force Major Mike Almy, Army Captain Anthony Woods, Army Lieutenant Dan Choi, Navy Lieutenant Jenny Kopfstein, Navy Petty Officer Rhonda Davis, and fellow Texan and Army Sergeant Anthony Bustos.
Throughout our nation’s history, it has been proven that patriotism does not know race and/or gender. Service persons from many different backgrounds are united in one cause: the defense of this great nation.
Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter and I hope I can count on you to do the right thing for our country.
Michael Joseph Watts
MM2 (SW/NUKE), US Navy Veteran 2002-08
Texas Young Democrats, Veterans/Military Affairs Caucus Chair