Major Margaret Witt
Major Margaret H. Witt is a decorated 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force who won a landmark legal battle against the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and now is retired with full benefits at age 60 and a completely restored service record. “I was one of the fortunate few who had a legal team who was willing to step up and fight” the discharge policy, Witt said in 2011 after announcing her settlement with the government after the seven-year fight. To those still serving and those she served with, Witt bestows her respect, loyalty, and a pledge to keep working on their behalf. “Continue to keep each other safe.” Major Witt was born in Tacoma, Wash. She is the daughter of Frank Witt, who served during World War II, and Gloria Witt. Both her parents are retired educators. Margie, as her friends call her, has an older brother and sister, Chris and Virginia. Major Witt was raised in University Place, a suburb of Tacoma, and on Fox Island in the Puget Sound. She graduated from Curtis High School in1982, and from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma in 1986 with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. She was commissioned into the United States Air Force in 1987 as a 2nd Lieutenant. She began her meritorious career as an operating room nurse at Castle Air Force Base in California, serving there from 1987-1990, while also working as the Base Health Promotion Officer. During Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf war, Major Witt was transferred to Wiesbaden Regional Medical Center in Wiesbaden, Germany, where she worked in the operating room and cared for injured, sick, or wounded airmen. Major Witt took to the skies as a flight nurse after transferring to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, serving with the 57th and 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. Her nursing and leadership skills earned her selection to flight nurse instructor/examiner, and chief of Medical Aircrew Standards and Evaluations for the 375th Operations Group. During her time at Scott, Major Witt was photographed for several Air Force recruitment posters caring for patients in flight. In 1996, Major Witt left active duty to pursue a master’s degree in physical therapy, which she earned in 1998 from Eastern Washington University. After transferring to the Reserves, Major Witt continued to serve in leadership roles as flight nurse instructor/examiner and Chief of Standards and Evaluation for the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In 2003 she was deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom, where she flew in the Southwest Asian Theater and transported hundreds of wounded to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. For her service and leadership she was awarded the Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, and an Air Force Commendation Medal. In her role as a flight nurse, Major Witt logged more than 2000 hours on six aircraft, the C-9, C-21, C-130, C-141, C-17, and KC-135. Witt was suspended from duty in 2004 and ultimately discharged under the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy after being outed by a third party. The Washington State American Civil Liberties Union took up her case, which became a seven-year effort to prove that she was not bad for the 446th unit morale and readiness. At trial in 2009 in Tacoma, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton ruled Major Witt had been improperly discharged and ordered her returned to service. While completing required hours for nursing recertification, Congress passed a law repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The landmark ruling took Major Witt all the way to the White House where she watched President Obama sign the order. In 2011, rather than return to her unit, Major Witt and her partner made the decision to settle the case and officially retire so she could concentrate on what challenges came next, including the completion of her doctorate in physical therapy and marriage equality in Washington state. Today, Witt is the rehabilitation supervisor for the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Portland, and lives with her wife and partner of fourteen years, Laurie Johnson. Margie has become a loved co-parent to Laurie’s three adult children, Abby, Dan and Stacer. In May of 2012 she told the Spokane Spokesman-Review “I get to serve my extended military family, just in another capacity.”Read more Read less
You're getting a free audiobook.
$14.95 per month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.