America: December 2016

2006-2016  Gay Military Signal

We Will Continue Our Vigilance


Steve Loomis, LTC, EN, U.S. Army (Ret)
President, American Veterans for Equal Rights

November 23, 2016
Fellow Veterans, Service Members, Families and Allies,

Our nation has experienced a contentious and divisive election. American Veterans for Equal Rights shares your concern that the rights we fought for and won must now be defended.

AVER fought for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell which ended the nearly century old ban against open Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual service. LGBT Americans gained national marriage equality, a freedom only dreamed of a decade ago. Our United States military opened combat positions to women, and in only the past month we saw the ban against Transgender service lifted.

AVER shares your concern that these victories are in jeopardy under a new administration hostile to our community. We who have endured the investigations and disgrace of being discharged from our careers, who have survived the tragedy of AIDS, who have endured the denial of our relationships and the dishonoring of our families and our service, share your fears. We share a common resolve that, WE ARE NOT GOING BACK!

Last week AVER reached out to the Trump Administration to offer our services as the nation’s LGBT Veterans Service Organization. Like many of you, we are deeply wary of this change, but we must live, and where necessary, fight in this new world. We have a Constitutional obligation to respect the office of President and a moral obligation to ensure the holder of that office is the leader of and for all Americans, not just a few.

We will continue our vigilance. We resolve never to rest as long as our rights are threatened. Our vigilance is not unfounded. Only last week the VA reversed its promise to provide gender correction surgery to heal our transgender veterans. Our fear is real. Our fight is not over. We have come this far together. Together, we will defend the liberties we hold so precious, and we will strive to secure them for future generations of LGBT Americans. AVER, locally and nationally, will remain a safe, respectful and supportive place for all of us.

Your service, your skills, and your support, are needed today in this critical mission. Stand with us, and defend our freedoms for our fellow veterans and heroes yet to come. The need is as great now as it has ever been. Thank you for your continued support and alliance.

On behalf of our National Board,

Veterans Proudly serving since Valley Forge

Steve Loomis
LTC, EN, U.S. Army (Retired)
National President, American Veterans for Equal Rights



2016 GayMilitarySignal, AVER

In Memoriam
Chief Hospital Corpsman, USN, Ret.
James Patrick Donovan
1942 - 2016

Denny Meyer

For the ordinary American civilian, any member of our armed forces can be a hero.  He can be any hometown boy, who came back from foreign lands having put himself in harm's way to serve our nation.  But for our service members, the hero's hero is the corpsman, the medic, who puts himself in harm's way to jump out of a helicopter and run to the side of an injured American hero.  The first thing they see is the injured man's eyes that plead, "please, don't let me die!"  Its an awesome responsibility that you never forget, one old former corpsman told me.

Chief Hospital Corpsman Jim Donovan was one of those hero's heroes who served our nation for twenty four years.  Born in Lexington Kentucky, his pure high pitched bluegrass twang came out loud and clear whenever he got perturbed, sounding like a country violin at a square dance.  It was a beautiful sound of the Heartland that always made me think, "you can't get more American than Chief Jim.'

After his service to his nation, he became a church organist, and a piano and organ repairman and builder, and a loving spouse to his partner Dave.  He was also a founder of American Veterans for Equal Rights, the nation's LGBT veteran's service organization.  He served tirelessly for decades as a dedicated board member and as president multiple times.

His family background is pure Americana.  His father, son of Irish immigrants, served in the US Army in WWI, and his eldest brother served in World War II; his dad was a Corporal in the US Army, and served in France.  His brother served aboard minesweepers in the US Navy as a Machinists Mate Second Class (E5), acting Chief.  Another brother served in the Korean War, also in the Navy, as a Seaman Boatswain's Mate.  Like so many other young men, upon graduating from high school, it was the most natural thing for him to follow his brothers into the Navy.  According to Jim, the "romance of the Navy" was something he'd dreamed about throughout his youth.


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