"My sexual orientation certainly didn't make a difference when I treated injuries and saved lives in the streets of Baghdad. It shouldn't be a factor in allowing me to continue to serve."
Sargeant Darren Manzella enlisted in 2002 and has been deployed to Iraq twice. He has served openly and told his story to60 Minutes' Lesly Stahl about coming out of the closet to his colleagues and commanding officer, and of serving openly in Kuwait without incident. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge for treating his fellow soldiers under fire, and also received several other awards recognizing his courage and service.
The Pentagon has discharge Sargeant Manzella not just for being gay, but for proving that being gay and being in the miliary does not hinder your - or your fellow soldier's - ability to serve America.
John McCain recently stated that homosexuals in the military pose a "risk" to the unit that they are assigned to.
With the Republican echo chamber overflowing with the resounding calls of "supporting the troops", it makes one wonder what their definition of 'support' is. Not only that, but they seem to be overtly selective of who's 'support' they will accept.
Sgt. Manzella gave the ultimate support to his fellow soldiers at risk of his own life.
An Air Force Captain, Cholene Espinoza, says of Darren:
“Darren is in a critical field. He’s a medic. His commander needs him. He’s a known quantity. He gets along with others. He does what he’s supposed to. He goes above and beyond. Why do I want to lose Darren?”
See more of Darren's story in his conversations with Lesly Stahl.