Army National Guard Lt. Dan Choi was honorably discharged, 17 months after he came out on national television to join the fight to overturn "don't ask, don't tell."
Choi called the letter, which he released Thursday "an infuriating and painful announcement."
"The true honor and dignity of service does not come from a piece of paper, a pension or paycheck, a rank or status; only an unflinching commitment to improve the lives of others can determine the nature of one's service," he wrote in an e-mailed statement. "From the first moment we put on our nation's uniform and swore our solemn oath, we committed ourselves to fight for freedom and justice, to defend our constitution and put the needs of others before our own. This is not an oath that I intend to abandon. Doing so at such a time, or remaining silent when our family and community members are fired or punished for who they truly are, would be an unequivocal moral dereliction that tarnishes the honor of the uniform and insults the meaning of America."