David Small News — 29 March 2012
Secretary Wilson’s Last Day

by David Small

Today, Mr. Doug Wilson will walk out of the Pentagon, leaving his post as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and his status as the highest-ranking openly gay man serving in the Department of Defense, and quite possibly the federal government.

In his exit interview with Politico, like many of us, he said being gay was only part of who he is. We can understand that. But because he was gay, he understood OutServe and what we are trying to do. He brought a kind and empathetic ear to the process of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to those of us serving under it.

He opened his office and his press briefing room to us to witness the historic event. And he recounted his personal journey toward repeal at OutServe’s first gathering in Las Vegas last fall. In short, he was a mentor to our small, but growing organization.

While being the top press officer during the demise of DADT may be well what he is most remembered for, let us not forget all of the other very significant trials and tribulations he had to deal with during his tenure. Two wars. The end of Iraq. Significant Budget Cuts.

I was particularly moved by a statement in the Politico article regarding Gen. McCrystal’s downfall that relayed Mr. Wilson’s guiding leadership principle.

“For Wilson, the incident reinforced his belief that military service is about quiet leadership, not loud personalities — a principle that he said has guided his decisions as head of Pentagon media operations.”

On behalf of OutServe Magazine, Mr. Wilson, I’d like to thank you publicly for your service to our nation and for all you did to include us. Inclusion and understanding is what we’ve fought hard for, and you helped get us to where we are today. In your quiet leadership, you have earned our utmost respect. Best of luck in your future endeavors.


About Author

David Small

David Small is the editor-in-chief of OutServe Magazine. He is a career public affairs professional, currently serving with the Department of Defense as a civilian. He is also a Major in the Air Force Reserve, stationed in New York, N.Y. See more from this contributor.

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