To the Soldiers and Airmen of the National Guard
Combat is the ultimate team sport; it takes a collection of skills, talents, and strengths. But most of all, it takes people—extraordinary people of courage and character who are dedicated to the Constitution, and willing to make sacrifices in the service of our Nation. This Pride Month, we honor the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Soldiers and Airmen who strengthen our National Guard team.
It’s been ten years since Congress repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which barred Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual service members from openly serving in the Armed Forces. Its repeal signified three things that endure today: First, dishonesty has no place in our military culture. Second, we honor the diversity of our workforce and the power that diversity provides. Third—and most important—who someone is and whom they love has no bearing on their ability to serve our Nation.
It doesn’t matter if we’re flying sorties in the Middle East, or filling sandbags in the Midwest—our success depends on our strength as a team and our ability to work together. Our success depends on our people. We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQI+ service members, and commit to an organization built on inclusion and dignity for all. It’s what it means to serve with pride.
Daniel R. Hokanson
General, U.S. Army
Chief, National Guard Bureau
Tony L. Whitehead
Senior Enlisted Advisor
National Guard Bureau