On March 11, 2003 Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, a proud Latino and a proud Marine who led a crew of 11 in Iraq, stepped on a landmine, which caused him to lose his leg. He was the first American injured in Iraq and he was awarded the Purple Heart for his service to our country. Staff Sgt. Alva is also gay.
The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ban on openly gay men and women in the military forced Staff Sgt. Alva to hide a part of his identity throughout his military service. After his service, he began to speak out about his identity and how Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has kept talented and committed men and women from serving our country with integrity.
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