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A different flight path: How 1 Amn’s journey brought him out of the AF only to rejoin nearly 16 years later

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class De'Quan Simmons
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

When one Team Scott Airman separated from the Air Force as a C-17 loadmaster under the shadow of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2007, he likely never expected his decision to cause him to meet the love of his life—or return to service.

For former enlisted Airman Evan Scott-Kristansen, who is now a 1st Lt., he felt he had to separate from the Air Force due to not being able to embrace his identity as a homosexual man.

“I've gotten so much from the Air Force. I grew up in the Air Force. I learned so much about myself and how to be successful in this world,” said Scott-Kristansen. “I took that, went to nursing school, and found another career I love.”

In 2008, he met his husband, Michael, a healthcare litigator, through a next-door neighbor. They got engaged in 2009. During the COVID pandemic, Michael began working from home, which helped them realize they could support Scott-Kristansen’s goal of commissioning as an officer and returning to the Air Force. 

“He was working from 8 am to 7 pm in the office until COVID hit, then everyone realized that you can work from home, so he started working from home,” said Scott-Kristansen. “That got us thinking... I think I could return to the Air Force.”

Scott-Kristansen's decision to reenter the Air Force was also significantly influenced by the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, marking a pivotal shift in military inclusion policies. During World War II, homosexual people were banned from serving in the military. In 1993, a bill widely referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was passed, instructing members not to ask, tell, pursue, or harass someone about their sexual orientation. DADT was repealed in 2011, allowing homosexual members to serve openly. 

Scott-Kristansen re-entered the service just over a year ago and has been a member of Team Scott for around 8 months. As an aeromedical evacuation flight nurse, he provides care to patients. He also has the secondary role of being a mission planner. 

With DADT being a policy of the past, the Rochester, N.Y., native felt the timing was right to return to his roots. Not only are LGBTQ+ service members allowed to serve openly, but they are also celebrated through Pride Month every June.

Pride Month holds special significance for Scott-Kristansen—it represents the Air Force's recognition of diversity and inclusion. He emphasizes that he believes being able to bring his whole self to work enhances mission success and fosters a supportive environment for all airmen.

“Pride Month, to me, means a lot,” he said. “It's who I am, so it's a big part of my everyday life. When I can bring myself fully to the job, that's when I achieve mission success. I can bring my full self. I don't have to hide away in the corner who I am.”

He is also actively involved in grassroots initiatives to connect LGBTQ+ service members across the base. 

As part of his advocacy, Scott-Kristansen echoes the necessity of inclusion for the overall success of the military.

“You can serve openly, and we need our Airmen to be diverse to bring their skills and talents to solve complex problems,” said Scott-Kristansen. “If we don't, then we're not getting the best of what the American people have to offer.”