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In a historic first, two openly gay U.S. army captains wed at West Point, the military academy where they first met. On the weekend of Jan. 13, 2018, 30-year-old Daniel Hall married 26-year-old Vincent Franchino at the West Point Cadet’s Chapel, nearly a decade after they first met as classmates. The gay West Point wedding marks the first time that a same-sex couple has ever wed at the famed U.S. military academy.
Details of the gay West Point wedding
The two men — who both serve as Apache helicopter pilots at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas — married in their military uniforms in front of a crowd of 150 people and exited the chapel under an archway of sabers made by other West Point attendees. Hall reportedly used his own saber — a graduation gift from his grandparents — to cut his wedding cake.
The two men met in August 2009, when Hall was a senior and Franchino was just a freshman. The reportedly began dating in February 2012, five months after the official repeal of the U.S. ban on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual military servicemembers known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Because of the policy, the two couldn’t admit their mutual attraction when they first met. “Through mutual friends at West Point, we had each learned the other was gay,” Hall said, “and though we were attracted to one another, we couldn’t say or do anything about it.”
Hall eventually became Franchino’s mentor in a program pairing younger cadets with older ones on a desired career path. After the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” they publicly shared their relationship online and with their families.
The men have been called “faggots” when holding hands in public. They’ve also worried about each other when serving apart at separate locations. They tried dating other people for a brief period rather than having a long-distance relationship, but they eventually reunited.
“We’ve just grown accustomed to being apart at times,” Franchino said. “It’s a part of who we are, a part of what we do, so we simply accept it.”