03/30/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt went back into the closet in order to join the military. OutServe and Courage Campaign have released a video interview with Wilfahrt’s parents. The openly gay soldier was killed last month in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The video includes footage of Wilfahrt’s remains being returned to Dover Air Force Base after his death.
From the press release, video at the end:
“He [Andrew] thought he’d go, so someone else with family and children wouldn’t have to go,” said Corporal Wilfahrt’s father Jeff . “His aptitude tests were off the charts…he was a soldiers’ soldier and all of his commanders were struck by him.”
“The stories we’ve heard from people in his unit indicate that he kept some people calm when things got rough,” added Corporal Wilfahrt’s mother Lori. “People in his unit knew he was gay…and they didn’t care.”
To date, nearly 6,000 Americans have been killed in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 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.
“Corporal Wilfahrt epitomized the courage, dedication and selflessness that gay and straight troops alike have shown in battle since our nation’s founding,” said Jonathan Hopkins, OutServe spokesperson and gay combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “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 eachother, love of country, and the willingness to give their lives in its defense.”
The Wilfahrt video will be featured on the Courage Campaign’s “Testimony” website. Testimony is a one-of-a-kind online tool featuring stories, images, and videos of LGBT families across the country, as well as their friends and allies.
“We are so grateful to the Wilfahrts for their service to our country and for sharing their powerful story,” said Courage Campaign Chairman and Founder Rick Jacobs. “While Andrew’s loss leaves a void in his unit and family, we all honor his legacy by ensuring the nation for which Corporal Wilfahrt made the ultimate sacrifice lives up to its highest ideals—to include full equality for LGBT Americans, both inside and outside of the military.”