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Letter from Bettiker to Garrett

Letter from Bettiker to Garrett

To: H. Lawrence Garrett, secretary of the Navy

Re: Discharge and repayment of NROTC tuition funds

1. I am writing regarding my discharge from the US Navy on Jan. 31, 1990, and the Navy's decision to recoup tuition monies. These actions followed my statement of homosexuality to my commanding officer, Capt. Robert W. Sherer on Nov. 7, 1989. At that time he called a board to review my performance as a midshipman. This board recognized that upon entry of military service, I was unaware both of my homosexuality and of the Navy's heterosexuality requirement. The board acknowledged that I had demonstrated strong aptitude as evidenced by my admission to Naval Reactor's nuclear propulsion program. Furthermore, the board recommended that I be discharged and that recoupment be waived. While I disagree with the necessity of my discharge, I recognize that the board was bound by the Navy's policy against homosexuals. I did agree that I should not be doubly penalized with repayment on top of discharge. However, on Jan. 31, 1990, you decided to pursue recoupment of tuition monies. Such punishment is normally reserved for serious violations, such as misconduct or failure to complete the educational requirements. I am guilty only of coming forward with the truth.

2. I do not acknowledge indebtedness to the US government for advanced educational assistance in the amount of $38,612.00 received in the form of Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps scholarship benefits. The blame for this situation lies upon the Navy's discriminatory policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving.

3. I do acknowledge my commitment to serve as an officer in the US Navy, and request that I be reinstated in the NROTC program at MIT. I have demonstrated my capabilities and am fully willing to complete my duties as a midshipman and later as an officer.

Robert L. Bettiker '90

April 3, 1990