April 22, 2010 at 6:56 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
443 troops discharged under 'Don't Ask' in FY-09

Data made public on Thursday brings the total reported number of service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in fiscal year 2009 to 443, according to Servicemembers United.

The figure became known by combining the discharge numbers from the Department Department, which was 428, with the discharge numbers for the Department of Homeland Security for the Coast Guard, which was 15.

The new numbers bring the total number of discharges under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” since its inception in 1993 to 13,425.

Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said these numbers continue the trend of record annual lows for discharged service members under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as commanders “continue to ignore this law that is clearly outdated and which impairs their unit readiness.”

“But this new number still means that 443 lives were unnecessarily turned upside down in 2009, 443 careers were unfairly terminated, and military units unexpectedly lost a valuable asset 443 times last year as two wars raged,” Nicholson said.

According to Servicemembers United, the actual number of discharges is probably higher because the reported numbers don’t reflect service members expelled from the Reserve or the National Guard.

“The Reserves and the National Guard have been especially active since Sept. 11, 2001, and their numbers have swelled, so it is highly probably that the discharge numbers from these two additional activities are significant,” Nicholson said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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