Kentucky Guardsman faces uncertain future after Trump tweet

The President's announcement hit home for a Kentucky Army National Guardsman who has served more than a decade.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Captain Jacob Eleazer was sitting at work when his phone began to “blow up.” The Kentucky Army National Guardsman joked that he’s not that popular, so he had no idea why so many people were contacting him.

Pausing to open up his social media accounts, the human resources specialist quickly realized what was going on.

“I was floored,” said Capt. Eleazer.

Early Wednesday morning President Donald Trump tweeted that he would no longer allow transgender Americans serve in the military.

Captain Eleazer, a transgender man, would not directly respond to the words of his Commander-in-Chief but vows to honorably serve as long as possible.

“We have been fighting this battle for a long time now, DOD has been working on implementing this policy change for two years now, so it really came as a surprise,” explained Captain Eleazer.

Captain Eleazer is not sure what the future holds. He's preparing to apply to an active duty military psychology internship. The Kentucky Army National Guardsman has studied psychology and wants to work with soldiers dealing trauma and specifically help transgender service members.

When asked how he can serve a President who doesn’t want him in the military, Eleazer responded, “I swore to defend and protect the Constitution of United States, I serve the American people.”

He said the announcement does not make him think about resigning.

“No! Absolutely not! For me it's about a larger mission and I serve with some of the best within the Kentucky National Guard,” he said. “We’ve got some incredible soldiers; my leadership is fantastic. They've set a tone of dignity and respect in the unit and I am honored to serve with those folks.”

But not everyone in Kentucky believes that Eleazer should serve.

The group “Family Foundation” applauded the President’s decision by releasing a statement:

"The purpose of the military is not to push someone's social agenda; the purpose of the military is national defense. Policies concerning who should serve in the military should be based on how they affect the national security of this nation, not on the basis of the fashionable ideological agendas of special interest groups."
"Why is it that the groups who are the loudest in denouncing hatred and intolerance are the quickest to abandon their stated principles and engage in what amounts to hate speech against the people with whom they disagree?"

WHAS11 Political Editor Chris Williams reached out to each of the Senators and Congressmen who represent Kentuckians and Hoosier in our area.

The only Senator who responded was Indiana Democrat, Senator Joe Donnelly. He released a statement:

“I have great respect for anyone who wears the uniform and is willing to fight and die for our country. When the stakes are as high as the safety and security of the United States, we should always have an open door for the best, most talented patriots. Military service should be about abilities, integrity, and performance, and I agree with my Republican Colleague Senator Shelby that everybody should be treated fairly and given a chance to serve.”

The only Congressman who responded was Kentucky Democrat, Representative John Yarmuth who wrote:

“Today, the President of the United States marked the anniversary of the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces by reintroducing division and discrimination into our military policy and forcing out thousands of Americans who volunteered to protect our country. With his transgender military ban, President Trump is exploiting both the LGBT community and many of our military heroes in an obvious attempt to distract from his flailing, scandal plagued White House. His assertion that the ban will improve military decisiveness is absurd and a weak attempt at justifying discrimination. It has no place in our military or a 21st Century America.”

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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