Meet Jeff Cleghorn,
MEI Board Chair
Jeff is a former Army Major, an attorney and director of
the Military Education Initiative, a non-profit public
education project working to inform America’s 27
million Veterans, and organizations representing them,
about current research and facts surrounding the military
service of gay and lesbian Americans.
Jeff was commissioned as an officer in the Army’s
Military Intelligence Corps, after graduating with distinction
from North Georgia College. Jeff’s military career
included overseas assignments in South Korea and Germany,
and two successful troop commands – one at Fort
Jackson, SC, and the second in Munich. Jeff spent his
final years in the Army working for the Defense Intelligence
Agency at the Pentagon, on the Joint Staff (Directorate
for Intelligence). Jeff’s military awards and decorations
include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint
Staff Commendation Medal, and the Parachutists Badge.
After leaving the Army in 1996, Jeff enrolled in The
George Washington University Law School, in Washington,
DC. During law school, Jeff became involved with the
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) where he
served as a Staff Attorney and Army Liaison through
While at SLDN, Jeff represented hundreds of gay and
lesbian Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, on matters
pertaining to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
policy. Jeff’s work often took him to Capitol Hill,
the White House and frequently back to the Pentagon,
where he met with members of Congress, and senior civilian
and uniformed Defense Department personnel, advocating
for the fair treatment of gay troops. As SLDN’s
Army Liaison, Jeff met with several General Officers,
including regular liaison with the Army Inspector General
and the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (G-1).
Jeff’s work also took him to Fort Campbell, Kentucky,
site of the 1999 murder of PFC Barry Winchell, where
he met with succeeding Commanding Generals in an effort
to improve conditions on the base for gay soldiers.
Jeff represented PFC Winchell’s family before the
Army Board for Clemency and Parole, successfully arguing
against prematurely releasing PFC Winchell’s killers
Jeff has traveled across the country and spoken extensively
about the policy before academic and military audiences,
including the Army War College. He has also discussed
and debated the issue on national television, including
appearances on CNN, C-Span, FOX News’ The O’Reilly
Factor, MSNBC’s Buchannan and Press and CNNfn.
Jeff has also written extensively about the “Don’t
Tell” policy, including contributions to SLDN’s
annual policy evaluation reports from 1999 through 2003,
as well as authoring opinion pieces in the Army/Navy/Air
Force/Marine Corps Times newspapers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
and other publications.
Jeff is admitted to the Georgia and District of Columbia
Bars, and is a member of the American Legion, the Association
of the United States Army, the Military Officers Association
of America and American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).
Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of Georgia
Equality, Inc., and The
Military Community Services Network. A native of
Griffin, Georgia, Jeff lives and practices law in Atlanta.