In Final 7 News Interview, Piatt Laments Treatment Of Gay SoldierPosted: Updated:
Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt says a gay soldier should not have been subjected to harassment and death threats while he was serving at Fort Drum several years ago.
"No one should be ever treated that way," Piatt said.
Piatt was commenting on an article published Wednesday in "The New York Times Magazine" written by Necko Fanning, a former intelligence analyst who claims he was repeatedly harassed for being gay after the September 2011 repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy about gays.
Piatt was on 7 News This Morning as he prepares to leave his post as senior commander of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division.
He is being promoted to lieutenant general and will serve as Director of the Army Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
You can see his full interview in the video.
Piatt says repealing "don't ask, don't tell" was the right decision for the military.
"So many soldiers, all they want to do is serve and we need to allow them that opportunity to serve and to serve in a place free of harassment and free of violence, because all they want to do is serve their country," he said.
Piatt said he wishes Fanning had reached out to the chain of command and the Army's support networks, even though Fanning said he didn't want to be "that guy."
"There's zero tolerance for any service member or their families to be treated to workplace harassment," Piatt said.
"I only wish he would have came forward, because that way we would have been able to prosecute those that were doing that to him."
Piatt said he's not worried about the country's future because the Army -- and the 10th -- are ready to protect it.
"When our country has a problem, they turn to the Army and when the Army has a problem, they always turn to the 10th Mountain Division," he said. "The sun never sets on this patch," he said, patting his shoulder.
Right now, he said, about 4,000 division troops are deployed in six different countries.
"That's a calm day for the 10th Mountain Division," he said.
Piatt said his biggest accomplishment at Fort Drum was being "fortunate enough to serve in such a beautiful place."
"For me, it was getting to know the people of the north country -- it reminds you of why you serve," he said. "It really is the best example of America and why so many soldiers serve."