Last December our President signed into law a repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. But despite that the policy hasn't actually gone away. Until now. Tomorrow the U.S. Army will become the first branch of the military to officially do away with the policy. For all those worried that something was going to suddenly appear on the horizon and end the march of progress, well, breathe easy. Looks like we're in the clear. The full text of the announcement, after the jump.

Today marks the end of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” The law is repealed. From this day forward, gay and lesbian Soldiers may serve in our Army with the dignity and respect they deserve. Our rules, regulations and politics reflect the repeal guidance issued by the Department of Defense and will apply uniformly without regard to sexual orientation, which is a personal and private matter.

For over 236 years, the U.S. Army has been an extraordinary force for good in this world. Our Soldiers are the most agile, adaptable and capable warriors in history—and we are ready for this change.

Over the last several months, our Leaders, Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians have discussed, trained and prepared for this day. The President, Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have certified that repeal is consistant with military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruiting and retention. Your professionalism, leadership and respect for your fellow Soldiers will ensure that this effort is successful.

At the heart of our success is adherence to the Army Values. These standards not only infuse every facet of our culture and operations, but also guide us as we adapt to change. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, INtegrity and Personal Courage are not mere words to us—they are the very principles by which we live, train and fight.

Accordingly, we expect all personnel to follow our Values by implementing the repeal fully, fairly and in accordance with policy guidance. It is the duty of all personnel to treat each other with dignity and respect, while maintaining good order and discipline throughout our ranks. Doing so, will help the U.S. Army remain the Strength of the Nation.

Raymond F. Chandler II Raymond T. Odierno John M. McHugh
Sergeant Major of the Army General, U. S. Army Secretary of the Army
Chief of Staff