By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com February 09 2010 12:30 PM ET
Gay military rights advocate Lt. Dan Choi has been called back into drill duty, he told The Advocate in a phone interview Tuesday. Photographer Jeff Sheng, who recently turned his lens on active gay and lesbian service members for a book about "don't ask, don't tell," originally reported the news on Bilerico.com.
Choi was scheduled to appear at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change conference over the weekend but instead rejoined his unit. Choi said his commander called him personally, asking him to return.
Choi told The Advocate that he felt welcomed back by his fellow
guardsmen in his infantry unit.
"Initially, I sensed a feeling of territorialism," he said. "They were
like, 'That's right, he came back to us!'"
Even though Choi faced an Army National Guard committee in June — the board recommended he be discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" — his commanding officer was highly supportive of the Arabic translator and West Point graduate.
"The paperwork has been floating around in the
Pentagon very slowly," Choi said. "Usually people wait six or seven days
for their discharge. Meanwhile I'm waiting for months to hear back."
Since his hearing in June, Choi hasn't been able to perform drills with his unit — he said he's been substituting by doing those routines on the side. He has not been discharged, however. Now that he is back, he has been spending time "shooting rifles and doing all of the regular drill exercises."
"It felt good to just put away a lot of the past year," he said, also comparing his return to that of a Thanksgiving gathering. "Obviously there were soldiers following everything I was doing, or there were others who didn't have a clue."