Jarrod Chlapowski, born 1981, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2000 and trained as a Korean linguist and cryptologic voice interceptor at the Defense Language Institute and Goodfellow Air Force Base, finishing second in his class. He worked as an interpreter and translator in Korea, supporting the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion on more than 300 sensitive reconnaissance operation missions, and as a squadron school’s non-commissioned officer at Ft. Lewis, Wash., in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Chlapowski came to terms with his sexuality after joining the Army and, after coming out within his unit, he experienced widespread acceptance by his peers. He was awarded both the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal during his time in the Army; however, Chlapowski chose not to re-enlist because of the excessive burden of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
In November 2005, Chlapowski teamed up with Alex Nicholson to develop the aggressive Call to Duty Tour, a seven-week public education initiative geared toward putting a human face on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” issue. Along with Admiral Alan Steinman and nine other veterans, Chlapowski visited 18 cities in spring 2006, educating thousands of opponents and moderates around the country on the reality of living, serving and leading under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Outside of the tour, Chlapowski has spoken before House and Senate staffers regarding the financial costs of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and has met with a number of politicians and military leaders, the results of which have been directly responsible for contributing to the current momentum in the movement to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
Chlapowski will earn his bachelor’s degree in political science in December 2007 from North Georgia Military College, where he has been also been active in educating the Corps of Cadets and the wider military community on aspects related to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He was chosen by faculty to represent North Georgia Military College at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Student Conference on United States Affairs in November 2006. Chlapowski plans to attend Georgetown University to pursue a master’s degree in public policy in fall 2008 and will continue to focus on recruiting quality young veterans to speak out against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Here’s his blog: