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Aug 13, 2011 5:01 PM by Matt Stafford

Tough for gay members to return to full military

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Former Air Force officer Michael Almy's five-year battle to get back into the military after being discharged for being gay is still far from over despite the end of the policy that halted the decorated war veteran's 13-year career.

The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" coincides with the most competitive time in recent history to get into the military because of the sluggish economy. The Defense Department says it has no plans to give priority to those discharged for being gay.

Nearly 14,000 people were discharged under the nearly 18-year-old policy that will be abolished Sept. 20.

Almy is suing the government to demand reinstatement. He hopes a lower court ruling last year declaring the law unconstitutional will be upheld by a federal appeals court to boost his efforts.

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