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Watch: The Story of US Army Cpl Andrew Wilfahrt, a Gay Soldier Who Died in Combat Last Month in Afghanistan

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OutServe, the underground network of actively serving LGBT service members, and the Courage Campaign share with us a video from the parents of US Army Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay soldier killed in combat last month in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

3_wilfahrt Wilfahrt was forced to serve in the closet, as all service members still must. OutServe reports that in addition to Corporal Wilfahrt, at least three LGBT soldiers have died in combat since 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s' conditional repeal was signed into law on December 22, 2010.

Says Corporal Wilfahrt’s mother Lori: "The stories we’ve heard from people in his unit indicate that he kept some people calm when things got rough. People in his unit knew he was gay…and they didn’t care."

Said Jonathan Hopkins, OutServe spokesperson and gay combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: 

"Corporal Wilfahrt epitomized the courage, dedication and selflessness that gay and straight troops alike have shown in battle since our nation’s founding. Ultimately Corporal Wilfahrt’s story is not about differences or politics, but the values that unite all who wear the proud uniform of our nation—loyalty to each other, love of country, and the willingness to give their lives in its defense."

To the Wilfahrts, thank you for your story, and condolences on your loss.

The repeal of 'DADT' has yet to be certified.

Watch his story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Wilfahrt

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Comments

  1. My thoughts go out to the parents of Andrew. We think of them in this time of tragedy. We remember their son's service and his dedication to his unit and his country.

    Most of us out here in cyberspace didn't know Andrew but we do now. We shall remember him and pause in thought for him.

    Posted by: brian | Mar 31, 2011 8:16:20 AM


  2. How kind and generous of the grieving parents to speak out and support the families of other gay soldiers. Cpl. Wilfahrt's family and comrades knew and respected him as a brave gay soldier--everybody but the Pentagon and the politicians.

    Posted by: coolbearinmd | Mar 31, 2011 8:27:12 AM


  3. Something about this story really got to me. So I hopped over to OutServe and donated $100 because these stories need to be heard. Will you join me in donating?

    Posted by: navycmd | Mar 31, 2011 9:47:39 AM


  4. When they look back from the future and try to understand why we were so reticent to look beyond the stereotypes and break down the barriers which will, by then, have been long since broken, we will have this couple's articulate poignancy to remind us of the brave people, friends, family members, loved ones, who spoke out on our behalf and removed the barriers to our equality.

    Posted by: Jonster | Mar 31, 2011 10:22:41 AM


  5. I met your challenge, NAVYCMD...I made a donation to OutServe in the amount of $25.00. I am struggling financially right now, I wish it could have been more. It was donated with love, respect, and in honor of US Army Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt. May you rest in peace. Thank you for your service to your nation... and your community.

    Posted by: David Morgan | Mar 31, 2011 11:16:35 AM


  6. @David Morgan - the amount never matters - the action does.

    Posted by: navycmd | Mar 31, 2011 12:28:09 PM


  7. PLEASE DO NOT DECIDE WHETHER TO DONATE TO OUTSERVE UNTIL YOU READ ALL OF THIS:

    First, for those unaware: Andrew Wilfahrt's incredible parents, in the midst of their ineffable grief, volunteered proudly that their son was gay from the very beginning, and insisted that the transfer of his remains at Dover Air Force Base be open to the media, thus we can see these intimate images of what is usually a very private ceremony.

    Sad, too, is that one has to say that, contrasted with their and their son's courage, too many well-known, self-anointed gay service member "advocates"—such as Servicemembers United and, yes, OutServe—are just sitting on the sidelines clapping like trained seals as the Pentagon intentionally slow walks repeal while Andrew Wilfahrt and [at least] three other gays have been killed since the President signed the "repeal" bill on December 22nd while waiting for Freedom to actually ring for them.

    Tens of thousands more are still waiting. In the full commentary by Mr. Hopkins—whom I've previously greatly admired—he implies we should be GRATEFUL to the military despite the fact that, by the most optimistic estimate, the ban will not actually be lifted until nearly a year after that signing...and says NOTHING about the fact that gay service members are STILL being investigated, STILL being processed......Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado faces a discharge panel TODAY at California's Leemore Naval Air Station....nor that the ODOJ is STILL fighting the only thing that could prevent a future administration from restoring the ban—the ruling from the LCR case that it's unconstitutional.

    I have also be very critical of SLDN's relative silence, but, thankfully, they have begun to seriously call foul on the DoD's charade. So, why isn't Mr. Hopkins, and OutServe as a body, and SU, saying what Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich (Ret), SLDN Military Advisory Board, recently did?

    "I am embarrassed.... [T]hat it would take a military that can go halfway around the world to unseat a dictator in 30 days more than six months to communicate such a simple set of fundamental moral principles to its force is unacceptable and unnecessary - "Stars & Stripes," March 25, 2011.

    Or what SLDN Director Aubrey Sarvis said, March 22nd: "This training is not rocket science. The Services can get this done by April 30th."

    I urge everyone to contact the White House and demand that Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt be the last gay service member forced to die officially in the closet. The White House telephone number is 202-456-1414. You can send them an online message at:http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

    Thank you.

    Posted by: Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com | Mar 31, 2011 12:35:16 PM


  8. can't stop crying.

    Posted by: gregg | Mar 31, 2011 6:56:34 PM


  9. What a beautiful, selfless young man he was. He was, indeed, a soldier. How loving of his parents to share this with us - how fortunate he was to have parents that love and supported him for who he was. I do believe in angels - heaven has a new one.

    Posted by: TyInTenn | Mar 31, 2011 9:02:18 PM


  10. Wonderful family.

    Posted by: H.I.M. | Mar 31, 2011 10:47:26 PM


  11. What happened to him is sad,but the thing is,this is what happens in war.Some soldier will die regardless.It can happen to any soldier serving.

    Posted by: J | Apr 1, 2011 3:28:41 AM


  12. Very sad. I applaud their continued fight in Minnesota. I'm also glad that DADT is weeks away from being a shameful spot in history.

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 3, 2011 6:13:38 PM


  13. Lori Wilfahrt Speech at Outserve October 2011

    Thanks to the Internet, I watched the mother of U.S. Army Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt (Killed In Action in Afghanistan in 2011) speak at the first conference of OutServe.org (The Association of Actively Serving LGBT Military Personnel) after the repeal of the military's discriminatory Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy. Lori
    Wilfahrt's speech was elegant: graceful, dignified, and powerfully simple.

    Andrew Wilfahrt's legacy is just beginning because of the extraordinary efforts of both his parents for the cause of marriage equality. For military and civilian gay people, marriage equality would mark the end of the last major vestige of government-sanctioned discrimination
    in our country. The ideal of equality is baked into to soul of America. The Founding Fathers considered the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be unalienable rights, even though their own lives did not reconcile discrimination based on race, gender,
    and sexuality. The reconciliation of the ideal in concept with the actual experience of equality has taken hundreds of years. Andrew's legacy now contributes to that reconciliation of equality, through the speeches of his parents (multiplied on the Internet) and
    conversations around "Andrew's Round Table."

    I can imagine that the spirit of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt is dancing for joy to experience his mom and dad speaking with such elegant power. With grace and dignity, they are embracing positions of advocacy accidentally arising because their son (who happened to be gay) had the
    courage to volunteer for the military, and gave his life serving a country founded on the ideal of equality.

    Posted by: Rich in St. Paul MN | Oct 21, 2011 1:30:10 AM


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