By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com March 16 2013 2:23 PM ET
Former Air Force Major Mike Almy, who was discharged in 2006 under 'don't ask, don't tell,' after military officials searched Almy's private emails and discovered he was gay, reached a financial settlement with the Department of Defense Friday, announced OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
"I appreciate all of those who worked on my behalf to find a resolution and close this painful chapter in my life with a positive ending. America has moved on from this discriminatory law, and it’s my hope that one day soon we will realize the vision of full equality in our military," said Almy in a statement announcing the settlement.
After graduating with honors from an Air Force ROTC program, Almy began active duty in 1993, the same year President Clinton signed DADT into law. Almy was a decorated airman, serving four tours in the Middle East, according to OutServe-SLDN. During his final deployment to Iraq, a directed search of his private emails revealed messages to his then-boyfriend, which were subsequently turned over to his commanding officer. He was relieved of his duties, his security clearance was revoked, and part of his pay was terminated, reports OutServe-SLDN.
During the discharge process, Almy was recommended for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, reportedly ahead of his peers, notes OutServe-SLDN. After a 16-month-long discharge investigation, Almy was given a police escort off base and his severance pay was cut in half.
“The settlement we announce today is an excellent conclusion to this case,” said Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson in a statement. “Mike will receive service credit and a cash payment, and will finally be able to move beyond his discharge under Don't Ask, Don't Tell nearly eight years to the day after he was fired. Moving forward, I know Mike is looking forward to continuing his career in the private sector for a prominent defense contractor, where he continues to contribute to the security of this country. All three of the plaintiffs in this case represent some of the best this country has to offer, and we are pleased that they all have come to resolutions consistent with their goals.”
Specific details of the settlement were not released, but OutServe-SLDN notes that Almy's settlement is the last of three cases encompassed in Almy v. U.S. Department of Defense, which "challenged the constitutionality of three plaintiff's discharges under DADT and sought their reinstatement to active duty. A resolution was reached in December 2011 on behalf of Petty Officer 2nd Class Jase Daniels, who was reinstated in the U.S. Navy as a linguist. Then in April 2012, a resolution was reached on behalf of Staff Sergeant Tony Loverde, who was reinstated in the Air Force."
Almy has since become a defense contractor for a private company. Almy was represented by OutServe-SLDN and the law firm Morrison Foerster.