An 82-year-old Ohio veteran is receiving an honorable discharge more than a half-century after the Army kicked him out for being gay, the AP reports. Donald Hallman of Columbus requested a reversal of his 1955 undesirable discharge status after President Barack Obama repealed the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" rule in 2010. Hallman is scheduled to appear with US Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, at a news conference Friday in Columbus. Brown's office says an estimated 100,000 Americans have been discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation since World War II. Brown co-sponsored federal legislation to help service members discharged solely due to their sexual orientation correct their military records and receive reinstated benefits.
In Hallman's case, he served from 1953 to 1955, stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He was discharged in 1955 as a "Class II homosexual" following a "military sting" and was so scared of how that would paint him that he never mentioned his military service again, the New York Times reported in September. "I hid it because it would have ruined my life," he told the paper. The only keepsake he allowed himself was his dog tag—which he finally took out of its box this past summer when he decided to request a change of discharge status. "I've gotten to a point in my life where no one can hurt me now," he told the Times. "I don't care who knows, and I want to show I was an honorable person."