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Ilario Pantano is a combat veteran of two wars, a small business owner, an author and a constitional conservative. He is running for Congress to retire an entrenched politician who votes with Nancy Pelosi over 90% of the time in a district that has not elected a Republican since the 1800s. This race was recently upgraded from “Safely Democrat” to “Toss Up” because polls show that Ilario can win, and momentum is building on his side.

Pantano has another distinction in this race.  He was viciously attacked by the anti-war, anti-American Left as the result of his service to our nation in Iraq.

Ilario Pantano is a respected combat veteran, and bestselling author who has worked in both global markets and small business. The “born again Southerner” is a 38 year-old conservative committed to promoting job creation and revitalizing the economy, protecting the homeland and preserving our conservative values.

On his way to a meeting in Manhattan, he witnessed the Twin Towers burning in the attacks of September 11, 2001.   Friends and colleagues were killed in the attacks.

Pantano rushed to a recruiter’s office and began the lengthy process of returning to service in the Marines, this time as an officer.  

Pantano graduated Marine officer training in the top 2 percentile and was selected by his peers to lead their Infantry Officer Class. Upon graduation, 2nd Lt Pantano and his family were assigned to Camp Lejeune North Carolina, where he took command of an Infantry Platoon with the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Marine Regiment, the WARLORDS.  The WARLORDS deployed to the “Triangle of Death” Region in Iraq where they conducted combat operations in Latafiyah, Yusufiyah and Falluja.

After months of insurgent violence triggered by the infamous ambush and grisly hanging of Americans in Fallujah (2004), Pantano was investigated for actions in killing two terrorists after a disgruntled Marine that Pantano had publicly demoted filed a complaint. The case took on national attention. Media outlets from dozens of national networks and newspapers overflowed the courtroom.  After a lengthy and very public hearing of the facts, Pantano was cleared of all charges and given a new command, but death threats from jihadists and fear for his family ultimately led Pantano to resign his commission

Pantano was the subject of faux outrage from the wing of the Democrat Party (the only wing at this point).  He was falsely accused of murder and the anti-war loons went all Jack Murtha on him.  LINK:

Now, it is true that Pantano doesn’t think “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be repealed at this time.  Having never served in the military, I have to completely respect his perspective.  However, I also believe that someone like Pantano (a Gen-X’er who grew up under Reagan and responded to his nation’s call after 9/11/01) will have a completely different perspective on gay issues than many who currently sit in Congress (GOP & Dem alike).  What is that perspective?  An open mind. 

Pantano is a true American hero.  He’s a hard-working, hard-charging candidate and I believe he will be the new Congressman from NC-07.  If Pantano wins this seat, Nancy Pelosi has a very hard path to retaining her Speaker’s gavel. Please join me in supporting the candidacy of Ilario Pantano.  DONATE NOW!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)



  1. Bruce, thank you for this outstanding article about my military service and my bid for Congress in NC. I’m going after that 140 year old Democrat seat like only a hard-charging Marine can! We don’t aim to lose, and there’s no way we will with the backing of patriots like you.

    Your support is very much appreciated!

    I remain semper fi,

    Ilario Pantano

    Comment by Ilario Pantano — October 11, 2010 @ 11:30 am - October 11, 2010

  2. Bruce,

    I am queer and have served in the military. It is probably more helpful for gay military members to oppose the repeal of DADT until later, for reasons I’ve probably elaborated too much on this site.

    DADT protects gays and lesbians in an institution that is not yet prepared to roll back their privacy. Ilario Pantano absolutely deserves to win and you should not view his perspective on DADT as anti-gay.


    Comment by Coco — October 11, 2010 @ 2:34 pm - October 11, 2010

  3. Thanks Coco. Great perspective and one I’m hearing with more frequency.

    Comment by Bruce (GayPatriot) — October 11, 2010 @ 4:14 pm - October 11, 2010

  4. I remember this and would be willing to support Pantano if only because I do consider him to be a hero and the horrible crap he unjustly faced. Having said that I’ve been burned by Republicans before and do not trust one claiming to have an “open mind” on DADT. McCain springs to mind. Let me ask some questions:

    1) Since you say that Lt. Pantano has an “open mind” and doesn’t think DADT “should be repealed at this time“, why is that and at what time does this mean that he would support repeal?

    2) Would Lt. Pantano be willing to meet with Servicemembers United to discuss any concerns he may have about DADT repeal? If so, when and if not, why not?


    Comment by John — October 11, 2010 @ 5:42 pm - October 11, 2010

  5. Lets stop beating DADT. It is a dead horse. I served in the military 4 years before we even heard of DADT I can’t see it makes any difference one way or another. You can not bring your gay friend into the barrack with you. and if he happens to be in the bunk next to you (which is very very unlikely) you better just go to sleep. I know now that I served with gays but I did not know it when I was on base with them.

    During the 50s I lived near a large army base. There were no problems there. The gays could and did enjoy their selves off base. Although right after WW2 some politicians wanted to kick all gays out of the government and that included the military.

    Personally I don’t think women should be living with men in the military. Instances during the Iraq war proved that. We had WACs during WW2 and they did a great service.

    Comment by John W — October 11, 2010 @ 6:11 pm - October 11, 2010

  6. Just in case these links may help, here are some essays I’ve written about DADT. I hope they can bring a broader perspective. I appreciate John’s concerns:

    Sorry to bombard the comments, but I don’t hear much input from people are both gay and served, so I feel it’s kind of my duty to share.

    To be clear, I was happy about the court decision which ruled DADT unconstitutional, because it allowed me to come out of the closet, which has felt incredibly liberating.

    But I do not think we can repeal DADT itself yet, because doing so means that gays who need to get out because they’ve been discovered and are in physical danger have no way to chapter out. The court ruling means you can’t be thrown out against your will — but repealing the law entirely gives command the right to ask you about your orientation, and takes away your right to get discharged if you are in danger of being raped, discriminated against, or beaten as a result.

    Comment by Coco — October 11, 2010 @ 6:55 pm - October 11, 2010

  7. Coco,
    I served in the Army as both enlisted and officer. I spent many years living in the barracks. You believe that ending DADT will cause commanders to suddenly begin asking their soldiers about their sexual orientation? Attempts to justify the continuation of this immoral law are just pathetic. Defending anyone who supports this law is also pathetic.
    Brave men and women who risk their lives to defend this country should not be subjected to having their careers taken away and lives ruined. Any gay person who tries to justify LT Pantano’s support of DADT is a mindless amoral puppet for the Republican party. I dare any of the conservative gays who post on this site to state one anti-gay position that would cause them to vote against a republican candidate. If you tolerate destroying the lives of soldiers to justify voting for a republican candidate you will support anything.

    Comment by Craig — October 11, 2010 @ 8:09 pm - October 11, 2010

  8. Who wants to bet that Craig voted for Bill Clinton, the architect and promoter of DADT?

    And who wants to bet that Craig voted for at least one of the Obama Party Senators and Representatives who passed DADT in the first place?

    The funny part is that Craig no doubt supports Margaret Witt, who screamed and cried that she should not be discharged — only to have it revealed that the primary trigger for her discharge was that her lesbian affair was revealed by the husband of her sex partner.

    Perhaps as a former officer, Craig can tell us what the penalty for adultery is under the UCMJ. Does Craig know that?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 11, 2010 @ 8:45 pm - October 11, 2010

  9. I’d loose if I took your bet NDT, so I won’t!

    Comment by Steven E. Kalbach — October 11, 2010 @ 9:56 pm - October 11, 2010

  10. North Dallas Thirty,
    Where do I begin? Yes, I voted for Clinton. The first time he ran he was promising to end the ban outright. I think it is a bit of an exageration to call him the “architect and promoter” of DADT. He had plenty of help from the likes of Sam Nunn and Colin Powel. Since Clinton I have not voted for ANY politician who supports DADT. I had a very liberal representative in 1992, I think his name was Donald Pease, so I never voted for any congressman who supported DADT. I did NOT vote for Al Gore, specifically because he supported DADT.
    I don’t know everything about the Margaret Witt story, but if I remember correctly her lesbianism was discovered by the police who passed the information on to her commander. I don’t believe that adultery had anything to do with the original investigation, but I could be wrong.
    Off the top of my head I’m not certain of the penalty for adultery under the UCMJ, but I think it is 25 years. The fact of the matter is that heterosexual adultery is almost never an issue in the military. When I was an NCO one of my female soldiers was accused of adultery by her husband. He complained to the company commander and battalion commander. She was never charged with adultery, although it was widely known that she was extremely promiscuous.

    I was perhaps a bit histrionic in my original comments, if you are willing to overlook DADT because you support other issues a candidate believes in fine. But don’t try to justify the policy with BS about commanders suddenly asking their soldiers about their sexual orientation or that gays will suddenly be in physical danger. I have lived in the barracks in two combat arms units; any harrasement or intimidation can be dealt with. Any justification for DADT is complete garbage.

    Comment by Craig — October 11, 2010 @ 10:31 pm - October 11, 2010

  11. I was perhaps a bit histrionic in my original comments, if you are willing to overlook DADT because you support other issues a candidate believes in fine.

    No, you simply got called out on your hypocrisy.

    And it’s going to happen again.

    I don’t know everything about the Margaret Witt story, but if I remember correctly her lesbianism was discovered by the police who passed the information on to her commander. I don’t believe that adultery had anything to do with the original investigation, but I could be wrong.

    Wrong. She was having an adulterous relationship with a married woman, who ended up abandoning her four children. The husband of the woman who Witt was cheating with reported them.

    Turns out she also had other affairs with service members. Know the penalty for that?

    Off the top of my head I’m not certain of the penalty for adultery under the UCMJ, but I think it is 25 years.

    Wrong. The penalty for officers is dismissal and can include imprisonment if you lie, as Witt clearly did.

    The fact of the matter is that heterosexual adultery is almost never an issue in the military.


    So what we have here is a lesbian screaming and whining that gays and lesbians shouldn’t have to follow the same standards as everyone else. If you had any honor, you might find her behavior disgusting. But of course, you’re LGBT, so you’re going to side with Witt.

    And THAT is why we need DADT. You aren’t capable of making good decisions. Your sexual orientation is what is going to drive your decisionmaking, and the armed forces don’t need officers like yourself who let gays and lesbians break the rules.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 12, 2010 @ 12:09 am - October 12, 2010

  12. North Dallas Thirty,
    As I stated, I no little about the Margaret Witt story. I was thinking of the Jene Newsome case where an MP had been outed by police. Reading the story of Margaret Witt does show that she did commit adultery, but I stand behind the fact that the military goes out of its way to ignore heterosexual adultery which is proven by the article you link to describing the case of Kelly Flinn who was given several oportunities to stop her adultery before she was finally punished.

    Comment by Craig — October 12, 2010 @ 12:31 am - October 12, 2010

  13. Something I’ve not understood, and perhaps those of you who have honoured us with military service can elaborate.

    I hear all this talk about ‘ending DADT’. I never hear ‘then what’? I mean if we just repeal/EO DADT away, doesn’t that mean that it reverts to the previous of ‘Ask, Tell, Discharge’? What purpose does that serve?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 12, 2010 @ 6:40 am - October 12, 2010

  14. Guys, I don’t care to debate this again right now. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I think highly of Pantano the Marine and from what I can tell of him, Pantano the Man. Yet he is running for office and I’m being asked to give my money to his campaign. DADT may not be one of your concerns for whatever reason but it is one of mine – VERY high up on my list too btw – as it is for many other gays and lesbians who either have served as I did, are thinking of serving or are currently in uniform. I asked legitimate questions of Candidate Pantano, something I would do for anyone asking for my vote (not possible in this case since I don’t live in NC) and my dollars. I’d like a response before I consider opening my wallet for his or any other campaign that comes knocking.

    Comment by John — October 12, 2010 @ 8:32 am - October 12, 2010

  15. Livewire: Just for clarification purposes and NOT to debate, you are correct in a technical sense about DADT. However, the name “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in popular usage refers now to not only the policy by Clinton but also the ban he signed into law. So when you hear most folks talk about repealing DADT they usually are referring to the ban.

    Comment by John — October 12, 2010 @ 8:35 am - October 12, 2010

  16. Thank you John,

    It just always seemed to be missing a step to me.

    Step 1 Repeal DADT

    Step 2 Recind the EO

    Step 3 ???

    Step 4 Profit!

    I do think the UCMJ needs to be revised first, then we can get rid of DADT safely.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 12, 2010 @ 9:14 am - October 12, 2010

  17. Livewire: That would probably happen in conjunction with repeal, but really we are talking about 1 Article that would have to be revised which is 125 I believe on sodomy. Actually though, this article should be repealed regardless of what action is taken on DADT because heterosexuals engaging in oral/anal sex can and have been charged under this as well. This article is rarely enforced and is mostly used to add on to other charges against a servicemember, which I’m okay with but should be revised at least to apply only to those cases where consent isn’t given. The application of this article is also in doubt anyways due to the 2003 Lawrence decision.

    Comment by John — October 12, 2010 @ 10:06 am - October 12, 2010

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