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June 21, 2013

Returning To Service After Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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Sara Isaacson attended college on a full ride from the U.S. Army’s ROTC. But just three months before graduation, she wrote a letter to her commanding officer telling him that she was lesbian. She was dismissed from ROTC within hours.

For Sara, it was a matter of honesty.

“I was going to be a platoon leader for soldiers who were going to look up to me as their leader,” she says. “How can I expect them to trust me with anything if I have to lie to them every single day?”

When Sara was removed from the ROTC program, her commanding officer recommended to his supervisors that she repay the $80,000 her scholarship had covered for her studies at the University of North Carolina. She took a year off to work and try to earn tuition money.

Host Dick Gordon first spoke to Sara when she left school, and since then, listeners have asked whether she had to repay her scholarship or if she was able to rejoin the military.

In this recent conversation, Sara tells Dick that after congress repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, she re-enrolled in school and rejoined the ROTC. She talks about the anxiety of returning, the conversations she had with fellow battalion members, and about finally being commissioned as an officer.


"Quicksand (Stuhr Remix)" by Natalie Walker

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