Nearly 70 years after expelling Melvin Dwork for being gay, the US Navy is changing his discharge from “undesirable” to “honorable” — the first time the Pentagon has done so for a World War II veteran since the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
The Navy notified the 89-year-old former corpsman last month that he will now be eligible for the benefits he had long been denied, including medical care and a military burial. Dwork spent decades fighting to remove the blot on his record. ”
I resented that word ‘undesirable,'” said Dwork, who was expelled in 1944, at the height of the war, and is now a successful interior designer in New York. “That word really stuck in my craw. To me it was a terrible insult. It had to be righted. It’s really worse than ‘dishonorable.’ I think it was the worst word they could have used.”
For Dwork, victory came with a heartbreaking truth: Last year, when the Navy finally released his records, he learned that he had been shopped by his own boyfriend of the time.
About 100,000 US servicemen in the Navy and Army were given dishonourable discharges because they were gay.
In January 2016, Donald Hallman received his honorable discharge after once being given an ‘undesirable’ discharge and removed from the Army in 1955.
Original source article and photo are no longer available.
Updated 30 January 2016