A former Air Force staff sergeant who was discharged under the military's now-repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies will have a big role in Monday's inauguration, and in the weekend's celebrations.
David Hall was chosen as one of eight Americans to serve as “citizen co-chairs” of President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The eight people were chosen by organizers to highlight accomplishments of Obama's first term.
He'll attend the swearing-in ceremony and ride on a float in the inaugural parade. He'll also attend Day of Service activities Saturday, and attend inaugural balls Monday night.
"This is certainly the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to President Obama for his leadership in repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ so that no qualified American who wants to serve this country in uniform will ever again be denied that right simply because they are gay or lesbian,” said Hall.
Obama repealed the policy in September, 2011.
News4's Richard Jordan interviewed Hall in September, on the one-year anniversary of the repeal of DADT, which forced gay servicemen and women to hide their sexual orientation for fear of being discharged.
Frequently, as in Hall's case, the policy led to the discharge of gay servicemen and women anyway.
Hall enlisted in the Air Force in 1996, and was assigned to the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va. He served in Saudia Arabia and Kuwait. He joined Air Force ROTC, eventually joining the competitive pilot training program.
But his career ended when be encountered the "don't ask" policies.
"I was discharged for being gay," he told Jordan. "A cadet went to my commander and said I was gay and in a relationship. I said nothing, and I still got discharged."
Hall, who now works with OutServe-SLDN, an association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, advocated to repeal DADT.
Jordan reported in September that a study by the Palm Center at UCLA found the repeal had not had any negative affect on military readiness, recruitment or retention. Nor had assaults or harrassment increased. And morale had not fallen.