T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation
Controversial White House Nominee Declines To Meet With National Veterans Group
MG Robert T. Clark Declines Invitation to Texas Convention Featuring Parents of Slain Service Member
27 March 2003
San Antonio, TX – Major General Robert T. Clark, President Bush’s controversial nominee to command the Fifth United States Army, has declined an invitation to attend an April conference organized by American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER). President Bush recently re-nominated MG Clark, whose nomination was derailed at the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2002, for promotion to Lieutenant General, the Army’s second highest rank.
MG Clark is former commanding general of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where PFC Barry Winchell was murdered in 1999 by fellow soldiers who believed Winchell was gay. Winchell endured constant anti-gay harassment in the months leading up to his murder and reported the harassment to MG Clark’s Inspector General, who failed to act, sending him back to a chain of command that had harassed him. PFC Winchell’s parents, Patricia and Wally Kutteles, are scheduled to attend the conference, being held April 2 – 5 in San Antonio. Other guests include Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) and representatives from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
In a letter to AVER, Capt. Matthew R. Moore of the Fifth U.S. Army noted that MG Clark “will be happy to meet with [AVER] at a later date when his schedule permits.” “MG Clark has a long record of silence regarding the anti-gay environment so prevalent in our armed forces,” said Lt. Col. Nancy Russell, USA (Ret.), AVER’s conference organizer. “AVER has offered a unique opportunity for MG Clark to denounce anti-gay prejudice and to clarify his stance regarding the service and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military personnel. We fully expect that he will keep his word and meet with us soon.”