During his career, he served as a platoon leader and a company executive officer in Vietnam. He received two Bronze Stars, one for valor, a Purple Heart and an Air Medal. He was chief of military education for the Army Reserve in St. Louis and an inspector general in California. His final assignment was as an engineer war plans officer at Fort Hood, Texas. After a fire at his home there in 1996, an arson investigation uncovered video that indicated Loomis is gay.
More than 14,000 service members have been discharged in 16 years under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. “That’s enough to form an entire Army infantry division,” Loomis points out.
His case went to Federal Court, and he won by arguing the Army did not follow its own regulations and discharge procedures. “The judge was looking for the easiest way to decide the case,” he says. Nine years after he was kicked out of the military, Loomis got his retirement. He returned home to New Mexico and joined the state’s chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, of which he is now president. Last year, members marched in the Albuquerque Veterans Day parade for the first time.