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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK: Dr. Peter Rhee, Surgeon Overseeing The Care Of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

January 10th, 2011 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Dr. Peter Rhee

Hails from: Pennsylvania, originally

Occupation: 24 year Navy Veteran and Military Surgeon, Chief of Trauma at the University Medical Center in Tucson

Let’s step away for a moment from the finger-pointing that’s ensued from all sides since the shooting in Tucson and appreciate this: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head, and the others injured at Giffords’ political event who were also admitted to Tucson’s University Medical Center’s trauma unit have, at the very least, been in excellent hands since Saturday’s tragedy. Today, the LA Times profiled Dr. Peter Rhee, chief of trauma at UMC, who is overseeing the care of those injured in the shooting and has become an instantly recognizable face after giving updates on the Congresswoman’s condition to the media over the weekend and describing his medical team as “optimistic” about her recovery.

The LA Times reveals that Rhee, a 24 year Navy veteran, spent five years as the director of the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he “typically would treat 30 gunshot wounds a day.” The profile also notes that he served two deployments–one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq–as a military surgeon, treating “hundreds and hundreds” of battlefield injuries. In typical Hardass Asian-style, Rhee describes his time in Arizona, by comparison, thusly:

“Tucson is actually, for a trauma surgeon, very embarrassing and pathetic because violence is almost nonexistent. I know everyone in the country thinks World War III is going on in Arizona, but it’s probably still the nicest place I can think of to live.”

We don’t know about “nicest place,” but today you could call Arizona a fortunate one–for being able to count Dr. Rhee as one of its own.

[LA Times: Giffords' surgeon trained on the battlefield]

[photo by Chris Carlson/The Associated Press via LA Times]

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Dan Choi Is On Duty (And Still Gaysian)

February 10th, 2010 | 2 comments | Posted by Diana

Since an Army National Guard committee recommended his discharge last summer, Knights Out founder Lt. Dan Choi has been staying active in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Meanwhile, his commander, a big supporter, fought the discharge decision and recently called Choi personally to ask for his return.

Great Choi-ce

The Advocate has reported that Choi rejoined his unit in Pennsylvania last weekend, opting out of a speaking engagement at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference.

As far as we know, he has not snapped a towel, leered at any of his military colleagues, referred to any unform as “fabulous,” nor told any soldier to give him head. In short, he is doing what he was meant to do: serve his country professionally, with honor and loyalty. That duty has nothing whatsoever to do with the gender he dates and is a heckuvalot more than most of us would or could do ourselves.

We sure as hell feel a whole lot safer knowing he’s out there protecting us.

[The Advocate: Dan Choi Back On Active Duty]

Source
Thanks, Isaac and Jaime!

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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Colonel Om Prakash, Author Of Anti-”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Essay

October 5th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

In the current issue of the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal, Joint Force Quarterly, Air Force colonel Om Prakash has published an article arguing that openly gay troops do not hurt unit cohesion or combat effectiveness, calling the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy a “costly failure” and asking President Obama to find a way to repeal the ban.

The essay was selected as the winner of this year’s Secretary of Defense essay contest and was reviewed in advance of publication by the office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the NY Times. Prakash, who works in the office of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, studied the issue while a student at the National War College. The article signals a shift in the thinking of the Pentagon’s top officials and is expected to put pressure on Obama to repeal DADT.

In “The Efficacy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Prakash reasons:

…the law as it currently stands does not prohibit homosexuals from serving in the military as long as they keep it secret. This has led to an uncomfortable value disconnect as homosexuals serving, estimated to be over 65,000, must compromise personal integrity. Given the growing gap between social mores and the law, DADT may do damage to the very unit cohesion that it seeks to protect.

Yes sir, Colonel! We couldn’t agree more.

[Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 55]
[Boston Globe: Pentagon airs criticism of 'don't ask']

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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Dan Choi

March 23rd, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Name: 1st Lieutenant Dan Choi

Occupation: National Guardsman with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, based in Manhattan

Known for: Graduating from West Point with degrees in Arabic Language and Environmental Engineering, serving an extended tour of combat in Baghdad during the Iraq War, and founding Knights Out–an advocacy and education organization of soldiers that strives for the best possible leadership in the military, regardless of sexual orientation. Choi, joined by the other members of Knights out, are coming out publicly to defy the disingenuous policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Choi told the Navy Times, “I’m very comfortable with all the repercussions right now. To me, it’s about doing the right thing, not about trying to fit into the process that gets you the rank or prevents you from getting a discharge. If that’s the repercussion, I’m ready to take it. I think it’s more important that I let everybody know that … it is a wrong policy.” (For more regarding KO, See Choi’s interview with Rachel Maddow above)

We almost wish we were cadets so that we could join Knights Out, a surefire way to be associated with a military man boasting actual balls of steel.

[Knights Out: official site]
[Navy Times: West Point Grads Form Gay Support Group]

Thanks, jRu!

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