Katherine Miller is the ninth-ranked Cadet in her class of 1,157 at the United States Military Academy. She has a grade point average of 3.829 out of 4.0, and has scored as high as 367 on the military's fitness test, beating the theoretical maximum score of 300 points. She has completed U.S. Army Airborne School and written for a Washington Post blog.
Yet Miller will not enroll in West Point for her third year, will not graduate, join the Army and serve her country, and it has nothing to do with a disciplinary infraction or lack of qualifications. Instead, it is her sexual orientation.
Miller, 20, submitted her letter of resignation to her superiors and in it, revealed to them that she is a lesbian. She has resigned because of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, or DADT, which forbids the military from asking a servicemember about her sexual orientation and calls for a servicemember to be discharged if she discloses that she is homosexual.
"At present, I find military service to be incompatible with personal values," Miller wrote in a draft of the letter, which was leaked to the media. She also wrote that she was not pressured or encouraged to resign, and came to the decision on her own.
Miller said in the letter that she can no longer bear to attend West Point, where the military's policy has forced her to conceal a portion of her identity, fabricate a straight dating history to appease her peers and stand by while others made derogatory comments about gays. She said she routinely endured sexual harassment for fear of being outed.
"In short, I have lied to my classmates and compromised my integrity and my identity by adhering to existing military policy," Miller wrote.
Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, former Army captain, and communications director of Knights Out, a group of gay and lesbian West Point graduates and allies, said being homosexual in the military is extremely difficult. Knights Out provides advice for closeted cadets, but also works to show the military that gays and lesbians can and do serve effectively and provide a positive impact on the military. They are also actively engaged in working to repeal DADT.
"It's a constant struggle. There are constant compromises to your integrity when you can't be honest about who you are," Fulton told ABCNews.com.
"I know that Katie agonized over this because she loves the military," she said. "I think it would be fair to say that she is sad, but she is very clear on this decision."
The timing of the decision was important, because cadets are required to make a commitment before their junior year to serve in the military after graduation, or they can face penalties like having to pay back the government for their education, which is usually provided for free in exchange for military service.
"To make a commitment of ten years, not knowing for sure that she wouldn't be hiding for the next decade, I think was just too much," Fulton said.
Lt. Col. Brian Tribus, Director of Public Affairs and Communications at West Point, confirmed in an e-mail to ABCNews.com that Miller's resignation has been granted, and was in the process of leaving the academy on Friday afternoon.
Miller was not available for comment further.