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Before I begin, I would like to personally thank Beirut Veteran Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, Capt. USN (Ret.) for inspiring me to make this public. I have known him for many years when I first started reaching out to those in the DC area who were Beirut Veterans. I struck pay dirt. He was always there for guidance which at times, helped me thru several struggles. That all changed the morning of December 22, 2010. That day our bond became much stronger and hasn’t slowed down any.

That’s my big head, fresh high tight, at the presidental seal

The day before the historic Senate vote to repeal DADT, I faxed to Senator Jim Webb, my Senator, former Secretary of the Navy, a fellow Marine veteran, and also considered to be a Beirut Veteran, a request to meet with him briefly before the vote. I got a response, he had 20 min. to spare before he went to the Senate floor. He was considered to be the tie breaking vote. I went accross the street to his office and we met. He recognized me from past events, and I noticed on his mantle above the fireplace in his office, my Beirut Challenge coin I designed, displayed stand alone, in the center. He had hundreds encased and displayed within his office, but mine stood alone.

So Bill, what can I do for you today? I started… you are about to go vote, I can’t tell you how to vote, that’s your call. I’m here today as a fellow Marine and Beirut Veteran who happens to be gay. I want your vote to be educated, so if there are any last min. questions, lets get it out in the open. His jaw dropped He replied, If only Admiral Mullen were here for this. He said he had no questions, everything was good, and profoundly thanked me for my honor and integrity to come and meet with him. We chatted, and the red light came on above his door, signaling my time was up and he had to mad dash to get to the Senate floor in time.

I returned to my office at APA, and by then word had gone wild what I was up to. Few were waiting on me in the lobby when I got back They asked how did it go? I simply said turn on CSPAN and watch. “Everything was good.”

December 22, 2010

Early hours of the morning, I went to Reagan National to pick up Tom Swann-Hernandez, USMC Veteran, who participated in the Iranian Hostage rescue operation. He took the red eye in from Palm Springs, CA just to witness the ceremony. Tom and I go back at least 40 years. He’s the founder and Post Commander of AMVETS Post 66 Palm Springs, CA who my Post is in the process of annexing off from. He’s short and blind as a bat, and I’m tall and almost deaf. We make the pefect couple and have fun with it. Guarantee when Tom visits DC, a lot of ground is covered on the Hill and at the VA, and it’s fun being his seeing eye dog. We’re like Lucy and Ethel at times. Anytime you go up against Tom, guarantee you’re gonna loose every time. Case in point, in 2001 took on the establishment and won the right to establish the first memoriaJ in the US for LGBTQ Veterans, recently desigated as the official California LGBTQ Veterans Memorial. Just late last month he took on the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, CA which resulted in a huge policy change affecting 300+ HIV Veterans and 3,000+ other Veterans (yes both gay and straight). His AMVETS Post has achieved a LOT and was the CA Department AMVETS Post of the Year 2022. A complete run down with all his awards and achievements, including his landmark case when he sued the Dept. of the Navy and won a huge, sealed settlement, for gay discrimination, causing yet again, more policy changes, can be found on his personal website, which we are working on revamping and updating.


“Out Of Many, We Are One”
President Obama

President Obama signs the historic Don t Ask Don t Tell Repeal Law. I was there, 4th row center as Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff was introduced to deliver the invocation before the ceremony. (they never have an invocation at a law signing ceremony). My jaw hit the floor.

His invocation, which reads:

O Lord who made a world of change, You challenged us to mend, repair, and change the world.

Some lose faith and think that things will never change, But we Americans - of every faith - religious faith or not - refuse to give up hope or abandon that most American of dreams: that we can make a difference, and that the future can be better than the past.

Today we make a change as President Obama signs this bill to law. Today we recall that unity, not uniformity, is our goal, that we need not fear differences among those united to defend our nation's freedoms and its dreams.

Today we honor ALL brave men and women, including those who served so long without the honor they deserved.

O Lord our God, and God of generations past, help us move forward, toward a nation a little more united, more indivisible, a union a bit more perfect, founded on a great deal more respect.

Let us pray that if the day has not yet dawned when we can see the face of God in others then we see, at least, a face as human as our own.

Lord, help us keep faith the day will dawn when justice flows - for ALL - like mighty waters, when liberty will be proclaimed throughout the land, when every man or woman can stand tall, and none shall be afraid.

And may we say,

President Obama’s speech and then he put pen to paper ending centuries of discrimination.

My signed copy of DADT which hangs in my office at home

I was motivated. I got to work shortly after lunch. I had a ton of emails waiting. All congratulatory from my colleagues. Apparently it was viewed in the packed board room on the big tv, and many watched from their desks on the Internet live feed. Everyone picked me out of the crowd on several ocassions. People came by my cubicle with pats on the back, thumbs up, and whatnots. APA put in a lot of work behind the scenes on this effort.

13 years have now come and gone since 2010. There was the viral picture of the gay homecoming kiss in Hawaii in 2012 – “Just your typical homecoming kiss” – USMC Public Affairs Hawaii (which, btw, made it to the official Marine Corps Facebook Page) (they’re now married) and most recently, the couple who attended the Marine Corps ball.

Please take a moment and read the following article. It speaks volumes. You may even learn from it.

On The Eve Of Christmas, A Navy Rabbi And Lesbian Army Captain Reunite To Bear Witness To DADT’s End

On The Eve Of Christmas, A Navy Rabbi And Lesbian Army Captain Reunite To Bear Witness To DADT’s End


How a high-ranking gay Navy chaplain retired with pride

How a high-ranking gay Navy chaplain retired with pride | The Times of Israel

13 years now, and LGBTQ Veterans kicked out of the service, are having to sue the government in order to get their discharge upgraded so they can get their Honorable discharge. This includes getting their VA Benefits such as healhcare, housing, and education.

Email Me - bill@billkibler.com

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