Kenton & Johnny

On the heels of Independence Day and amidst the increased activity due to the RIMPAC exercise at Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii, Kenton and Johnny Wandasan had their Civil Union ceremony performed at the Hickam Officer’s Club.  According to the catering manager, this was the first same-gender “wedding” ceremony and reception that the Hickam Officer’s Club has ever hosted.

Maj. Johnny Wandasan recently completed a combat command of a CH47 Chinook company that was deployed across two Regional Commands in Afghanistan, and is now actively serving as a Senior Aviation Advisor and Assistant Brigade Operations Officer for an Infantry Training Brigade.  The former Kenton Chang, now Kenton Wandasan, is an alumnus of Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is a Respiratory Technician at Queen’s Hospital.

The July 6th date holds a special meaning to Kenton and Johnny, as does the venue; Johnny received his commissioning from the 298th Regimental Training Institute’s Officer Candidate School program at the Hickam Officer’s Club, back in August 2000.

The repeal of DADT aided tremendously in transitioning from a life of secrecy to a life of openness and acceptance in the military.  Kenton and Johnny recently attended a Farewell event for the Senior Enlisted Advisor from Johnny’s previous unit and both were made to feel welcome.  In fact, a Platoon Sergeant from Johnny’s unit, along with other non-commissioned officers, volunteered to assist with the DJ and music entertainment during their wedding.

There is still a long road ahead for the couple, but their status as “husbands” in a Civil Union has certainly energized their hopes and desires for more acceptance and involvement in unit functions, and Family Readiness Program (FRG) activities.  For them, the repeal of DOMA is the beacon of hope that is still in sight, off in the distance.  Basic privileges, such as access to base shopping and fitness facilities, and ultimately being recognized as a family member by the DoD are but a handful of the many benefits that Kenton and Johnny are both hoping and praying for through the furtherance of marriage equality laws.

Kenton and Johnny currently reside in Honolulu, Hawaii, and are together raising a year-and-ten-month old American Pitbull, nicknamed “Haas”.  They often talk and dream about one day growing their family through adoption.

Comments

  1. Lance Stoll says:

    We have a large military presence in Jacksonville, FL but our city council just voted down protection under our human rights ordinance for glbt people. Your organization should advise your members NOT TO ACCEPT assignment in this community as their partners and loved ones will not be protected.

  2. Estrella Zamodio says:

    Congratulations to both of you!!!

  3. MARKLE-LIM FAMILY says:

    Congratulations to you both. I wish the whole world would be as accepting. Love is amazing and should be embraced completely. Love has no gender. We wish you both a long and happy life together. We were married in Washington, D.C. on the 24th of May, 2010. I wouldn’t want it any other way!!! Love and God Bless!!!

    Michael & Jesus

  4. nice and thanks.

  5. On January 15, 2012, CPT Michael Holtz, USAR, and Stephen Utley took a step 24 years in themaking – they exchanged vows before family and friends in a wedding ceremony in Worcester, MA. They met in college and have been partners since January 1988. Stephen supported Michael’s decision to enlist in 1997 and has been a regular participant in Family Readiness activities with the Reserves, including co-chairing an FRG with Michael’s mom during his 2003 Iraq deployment. Outside of their military lives, they reside in Arlington, VA, where Stephen is a public school teacher and Michael works for the Department of Energy.

  6. William says:

    Wonderful and thank you all. Today I can’t help but think of my friend, fomrer Air Force officer Rich Richenberg, expelled in 1995 under DADT, who took his own life this year. I wish he could be here to see this. Rich was a decorated Air Force officer. He received a commendation during the Persian Gulf war for detecting and countering an enemy threat. The nature of the threat remains classified.In 1993 Captain Richenberg was ranked among the top 10% of Air Force officers. He came out as gay to his commander. Discharge hearings began that year, and a board recommended a general discharge. The expulsion took effect in December, 1995 and was upheld in appellate court. The Supreme Court, without comment, refused to hear his appeal.In recent years he had sold real estate and held a variety of other jobs. Rich took his life on or about May 20, 2011.

  7. Louis Gary says:

    Congratulations on your ceremony and freedom of expression afforded by our newly re-elected President Obama. My life partner Rocky Nixon and I have celebrated our 30th year together this past August 22. 2012. We strongly support our community in uniform, SLDN, and our good friend Sgt. Eric L.
    Hats off to your committment to one another and your service to our great country.

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