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First US Soldier Gets Sex Reassignment Surgery On Pentagon’s Dime

Italian instructors in western Afghanistan have been using the relatively quiet winter to bolster Afghan troops against the Taliban. Under the banner of NATO's Resolute Support mission, Italian forces at Camp Arena in Herat province are racing the coming spring to give their Afghan counterparts a fighting chance. (PHOTO: Getty Images/AFP/AREF KARIMI)In this photograph taken on February 9, 2017, an Italian soldier from NATO's Resolute Support Mission (2L) trains Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers at a Military Training centre on the outskirts of Herat. Italian instructors in western Afghanistan have been using the relatively quiet winter to bolster Afghan troops against the Taliban. Under the banner of NATO's Resolute Support mission, Italian forces at Camp Arena in Herat province are racing the coming spring to give their Afghan counterparts a fighting chance. PHOTO: Getty Images/AFP/AREF KARIMI)

America’s first active-duty soldier had a sex-change operation on the Pentagon’s dime Tuesday.

“This afternoon, an active-duty military member received a sex-reassignment surgery,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “Military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery, therefore it was conducted in a private hospital.”

The transgender infantry soldier received the necessary waiver for the surgery from the Defense Health Agency director Monday, allowing the civilian hospital to go ahead with the sex-change procedure. The soldier is a man who identifies as a woman, a person close to the soldier told NBC News.

“The Supplemental Health Care Program will cover this surgery in accordance with the Department’s interim guidance on transgender Service members,” added the statement, confirming that the Pentagon will foot the bill for the soldier’s surgery.

The surgery comes after the soldier’s doctor ruled that because he had begun transitioning while serving in the United States military, it would be unjust to withhold what was postulated as a medically necessary surgery.

The anonymous soldier’s surgery comes after President Trump tried to ban transgender service members from the military in August. He was blocked from doing so by a U.S. district judge in October who ruled that banning transgenders from the military was a Fifth Amendment violation. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also froze the implementation of Trump’s ban in August shortly after Trump called for the measure to take effect.

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