President Barack Obama’s appointment of retired Army Reserve Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is being called “a step forward” by Zoe Dunning, co-chair of the board of directors for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
“Col. Cammermeyer’s appointment represents a step forward as we continue to push for lesbians and gays to serve openly in our armed forces,” Dunning said in a June 2 statement to the press. “At the time of her separation from the military, Col. Cammermeyer served as Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard. Despite an exemplary military and civilian record, her sexual orientation was discovered during an interview for top-secret clearance. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ strips the military of our best for simply being who they are. It’s not only discrimination, but it’s weakening our national security.”
President Obama and Under Secretary of Defense Clifford Stanley “chose wisely in appointing Col. Cammermeyer,” added SLDN executive director Aubrey Sarvis. “She is an outstanding American and eminently qualified for this panel. Our country will benefit greatly from this appointment. For years we have taken enormous pride in Col. Cammermeyer being an active member of our Military Advisory Council; we are especially pleased to see that the White House and the Defense Department will also be benefiting from the vast expertise and rich experiences that Col. Cammermeyer brings to this body.”
Col. Cammermeyer authored Serving in Silence, the story of her dismissal from the Washington State National Guard. Barbra Streisand produced a television film based on the book in 1995.
— Nancy Ford