Anthony Loverde’s quest to be reinstated in the U.S. Air Force will soon come to an end. The MFA candidate in the Academy’s School of Photography will be sworn in May 23 in Sacramento. It’s a fitting resolution for the Iraq war veteran, who was discharged under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2008.
“It was a long fight to get to this point,” says Loverde of his quest. “I am very excited, but even more excited that the timing will allow me to finish this semester; I was sweating it! I take my oath May 23rd in Sacramento and report to duty in Arkansas no later than June 6th. I plan to do the May 24th graduation — if I pass my final review.”
The advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) reports Loverde will be the second veteran reinstated to active duty — with the same rank (staff sergeant), pay and job he held when deployed to Iraq — since the Pentagon’s controversial policy was repealed in September 2011.
Loverde’s reinstatement is part of the settlement of a lawsuit, Almy v. U.S., filed by the SLDN in 2010. The suit was filed before gays and lesbians were allowed to serve openly and sought the reinstatement of Loverde and two other veterans. It also asked to have the policy declared unconstitutional.
“I am honored and humbled to return to the service of my country and the job I love,” states Loverde. “I am grateful to my legal team and all of those in the armed forces who helped to facilitate this reinstatement. I am eager to take the oath and get to work.”
“This historic reinstatement again reminds us that today’s military is a welcoming place for qualified patriots whose careers were cut short by the unjust ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law,” says SLDN Legal Director David McKean. “This victory is unique because it is a reinstatement — not just a re-entry — meaning that Sergeant Loverde will return to his previous rank and be able to continue his career as if it had never been interrupted.”
Loverde entered the Air Force at age 20, rising to staff sergeant before his discharge seven years later under the former policy. He is an expert at calibrating weapons systems and was a loadmaster on more than 60 C-130 flights into Iraq. After his discharge, Loverde was hired by a military contractor and went to Iraq and Afghanistan, largely doing the same job he had done in the Air Force before his discharge.