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Servicemembers Legal Defense Network: Seven Retired Military Officers 'Come Out' in Response to General Peter Pace

APRIL 9, 2007
1:29 PM

CONTACT:Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

Seven Retired Military Officers 'Come Out' in Response to General Peter Pace
Largest Number of Senior Officers To Ever Come Out Publicly As Lesbian or Gay

WASHINGTON -- A group of seven high- ranking military veterans publicly acknowledged their sexual orientation in the April 24th issue of The Advocate. The seven are the largest number of senior officers to "come out" publicly as lesbian or gay at one time. They "came out" in response to General Peter Pace's remarks in a March 12th Chicago Tribune interview where General Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that lesbian, gay and bisexual service members are "immoral" and stated his support for the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law banning lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel. The seven officers demanded that General Pace apologize and called on Congress to repeal the law.

The seven officers are COL Stewart Bornhoft, USA (Ret.); CAPT Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret.); CAPT Robert D. Dockendorff, USNR (Ret.); Chaplain (COL) Paul W. Dodd, USA (Ret.); CAPT Sandra Geiselman, USNR (Ret.); COL E. A. Leonard, USA (Ret.); and CAPT Robert Michael Rankin, USN (Ret.).

"Servicemembers Legal Defense Network salutes the service, courage and patriotism of each of these seven officers," said C. Dixon Osburn, the group's executive director. "They are proof that lesbian, gay and bisexual service members not only serve their country, but serve their country well, regardless of sexual orientation. It is time to thank all our men and women in uniform for their service to our nation. It is time to lift the ban."

Each of the highly-decorated officers has served at least 20 years; several have served 30 years or more. They have earned numerous awards, honors and commendations during their careers. Four served in the Vietnam War. They have served as company commanders, helicopter pilots, medical officers, commanding officers, psychologists, chaplains, combat engineers, platoon leaders, infantry officers, supply corps officers and intelligence officers.

For complete biographies of the officers and for more information on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," please visit

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and related forms of intolerance. For more information, visit


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