On January 13, 2018, a relationship that had survived distance, secrecy, and harassment was at last made legally official—and made history in the process.
30-year old Daniel Hall and 26-year old Vincent Franchino, both Apache helicopter pilots in the United States Army, were married in the Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. The two pilots are believed to be the first active-duty, same-sex couple to exchange vows at this location!
Captain Hall and Captain Franchino met back in 2009 at West Point, when Hall was a senior and Franchino a freshman. They had an instant connection, and their relationship grew closer over the years, particularly when they were paired in a mentorship program starting in 2010.
The two men kept their friendship non-romantic at first, though not by choice. Before 2011, the Army still abided by the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, so neither Captain Hall nor Captain Franchino were open about their homosexuality among their peers. Today, both men look back on this period with sadness.
"It's really frustrating when two people have feelings for each other but are not allowed to act on them," says Hall. "We were serving under a policy that was telling all of us — perfectly capable soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines — to lie about ourselves."
That all changed when Congress repealed "don't ask, don't tell" in September 2011, however. The friends were finally able to be honest about themselves, and follow their hearts into one another's arms.
Congratulations to both Captain Hall and Captain Franchino on their historic marriage and a bright future together!