A BRAVE LAD

P.F.C. Giles walked into HQ and asked if he could talk to the Colonel. Giles had the day off because he had just finished a field op with one of the line companies. He was a telegraph operator and from what I heard, he was a good one. I didn’t know much else about him. I remember a while back he was on a battalion jump with me. That was his cherry jump. That’s what they call the first jump after the five jumps in jump school. It is the first jump you make fully equipped and have to exit with a crowd. He had made another jump on that field op.

When I asked him what he wanted to see the Old Man about. He said,softly, that it was personal.

His talk with the Colonel took about a half hour and when he walked out of HQ he told Sgt Major Simpson and me the Colonel wanted to see us.

‘Close the door,’ the Old Man said, when we walked in, ‘And what I tell you will go no further. Understood?’

‘Yes, Sir.’ He motioned us to sit down.

“Sgt Major, I want you to see Giles gets to Repo Depot as soon as he gets packed. And then do what you when somebody is discharged. And Corporal, make out the necessary forms for a Medical Discharge.’

‘What’s should I put down as the reason?’ I asked.

‘Didn’t look sick to me,’ Sgt Simpson observed.

The Old Man held up a finger. ‘Hold off on the reason for now. I got to touch base with a friend in Division Personnel. I don’t want that kid demonized with a Dishonorable or a Mental discharge’, he said angrily. He stared at the door and then added in a calm voice, ‘That lad has a lot of backbone. A lot of balls. He is a brave lad. A brave lad.’

Neither Simpson or I said anything.

‘To tell his CO what he told me…He risked a lot. Risked getting ridiculed by some of the men. Risked getting beat up. Risked getting a Dishonorable Discharge. Maybe even stockade time.’

We waited as the Colonel lit a cigarette. I know Simpson was an anxious for the Old Man to tell us what he was talking about. as I was.

‘Took a brave lad to stand right there and tell me he is a homosexual…’

‘He’s a que…’ Simpson blurted out.

‘Let’s use the term “gay”, sergeant.’ the colonel interrupted, ‘It sounds better.’

‘Excuse me, Sir,’ Simpson apologized. ‘It just surprised me. He sure don’t look like a… gay.’

‘I won’t ask you, sergeant, just what a gay is suppose to look like.’

The Sergeant Major it would be best to keep still.

‘The lad just stood there and told me he was homosexual. Flat out told me he was gay.

‘He said he had hoped somehow being in the Army would put his feelings on the back burner, but he said that isn’t the case. He wants out. He know just by admitting his homosexuality will get him kicked out. He said at least in civilian life there are some people who understand.’

‘Like his family,’ I said.

The Old Man shook his head no. He told why Giles said he joined up and volunteered airborne in the first place. Seems like his father rode him pretty hard when he learned his son was gay. There’s another son and he’s in the 101st Airborne and the father always threw that in Giles’ face.’

‘Guess he showed the old bastard,’ Sgt Simpson said. ‘He got the balls to jump just like his brother.’ Then he asked,’ Is the brother gay too?’

‘I don’t know, sergeant,’ the Colonel answered. ‘Probably not.’

Then the Colonel held up his finger again. ‘You just gave me an idea, Sergeant,’ he said. ‘There’s just the two boys in the family and the other one just re-upped for another six. Giles mentioned his father has arthritis and is worried he won’t be able to work much longer. Don, forget the Medical Discharge. We’ll make it a Hardship Discharge instead. Be better for him.’

‘Too bad we have to lose a man like Giles,’ The Old Man said as Simpson and I stood up. ‘Took a brave lad to do what he did today. The Army can always use a brave lad like him.’

‘Maybe some day, Sir,’ I said, ‘The Army won’t kick out brave lads on account of them being gay.’ And we the office.

Simpson pulled me in his office and closed the door. ‘You don’t really think they will ever let homosexuals in the Army just like any body else.’

‘When you joined up did you ever think you’d be in the same outfit as blacks?’

‘No, but…Simpson stammered. ‘I mean…Could you serve with somebody you know is a homosexual?’

‘Well,’ I answered, ‘It’s like old Sergeant Estes said when he let me buy him a beer, ”Never held it against you for being a Yankee.I found out I can get along with just about any body…even a Yankee. Unless he of course he would to marry my sister.”

Master Sergeant Simpson frowned and shook his head. ‘You know, Don, sometimes, you just don’t make any sense at all.’

It took a long time after my saying some day they might not discriminate against gays 

But not in my wildest dream  I never imagined women would be jumping out of planes

and serving right along side men

in the 82nd 

And that’s a wrap for the day after the US Supreme Court ruled that

Equal Employment Rights

apply also to

LGBTQ

STAY SAFE: And let’s hope today’s discovery of a common steroid might be the cure for the Virus

26 thoughts on “A BRAVE LAD

  1. Well related, Don.

    As to your closing STAY SAFE, I saw the report of the steroid cure for the coronavirus on the evening news, and as I recall, it was curative in 30% of the people on ventilators and 20% of the pre-ventilator cases (one of the latter reported feeling almost immediate relief). This is certainly the most promising advancement yet reported, but still not 100% effective. Nonetheless, if these percentages hold up, thousands of lives will be saved.

  2. Cool story Don, there shouldn’t be any discrimination of men and women who want to serve their country. Dexamethasone is a good step forward, would still like a vaccine though 🙂

  3. I bet we’ll have a vaccine. If the politicians would let the scientists do their thing, we would have it a lot sooner. The anti-science Trumpsters here in the US is mind boggling.

  4. Don – nice post! I tried sport parachuting and made several jumps in my 20s – looong ago :o). Remember jumping from small aircraft with the door off, where the pilot cut the engine at 3000 feet and you climbed out on the strut and pushed off – terrifying – and also jumping from larger planes where you just went out the door. Made it off the static line but was never very good – last straw was landing in the ONE and only tree in a large open field :o( in Livermore California (outside San Francisco) and having to be cut out of the tree. At that point my ex-husband suggested giving it up.

  5. To be honest Don, sometimes you feel that back then the likelihood of three men in a room saying all these things seems unlikely given not even prejudice or even ignorance but just a lack of understanding that must have existed at the time. If something is unknown it doesn’t take a lot to worry about it, when you know someone you start to not fear them. I’m glad to hear the three of you pretty enlightened. Sometimes I worry if I was born earlier would I be like that. I like to think I would be.

  6. You got a way to tell stories about your personal experiences, you should write a book, I am sure you will do great Don.
    Best wishes. 🙂

  7. Thank you for your kind words. I always wrote and have several books, unpublished alas. As for my blog, it is enjoyable to remember and and write. Maybe someday one of the grandkids will put it all together in ‘book form’.

  8. I’m extremely inspired along with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you modify it your self? Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to peer a great weblog like this one today.

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