Often lost in the ado over DADT repeal were the stories of the actual gay and lesbian soldiers who have fought and died for this country, so when a friend sent me this article, I wanted to share the story of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt with you all:
[Jeff Wilfahrt’s] 31-year-old son was killed while on foot patrol outside Kandahar on February 27, around the same day the Sheen media blitz kicked into high gear.
Andrew Wilfahrt was a Renaissance man with an infectious laugh. In his obituary, his parents described him as “compassionate, smart and witty. He was an admirer, composer and player of music who believed deeply in art and humanity. Andrew was fascinated by math, palindromes, maps, patterns, mashed potatoes and the absurd.”
He was also anti-war – part of a “strong family of lefties” from Minnesota, his father said. Andrew stunned everyone when he announced two years ago he was joining the Army.
“He didn’t have a child and a wife,” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “In a way, he went over so that somebody with a young family wouldn’t die.”
The grieving father added, “He was a gay soldier.”
“Andrew told me one of the reasons he wanted to enlist was that he felt guilty as a civilian when so many men with wives and children were separated from their families,” one of his comrades posted on Facebook. “He joined the fight so that guys like me didn’t have to. He is my hero, my friend, and I miss him. Sleep well, buddy. You earned it.”
Andrew’s younger sister, Martha, said the “least interesting thing” about her brother was his sexuality.
“Quite frankly,” the father said, “nobody gave a s*** he was gay. He was a good soldier.”
The piece later mentions that Wilfahrt rode with an African-American guy and a Hawai’an guy in combat, and that they called themselves “Team Minority.” I love it.
Regardless of how you personally feel about the various wars we’re involved in [let us please not have that discussion right now, because I said so], I think we can all agree that this was the sort of guy we want fighting for us. It’s phenomenal that people still exist in this country who wouldn’t be able to get past Andrew Wilfahrt’s sexuality to see his heroism.
Condolences and thanks to the Wilfahrt family.
[h/t Norm Kent]