the fallen

Capt. Andrew Wilfahrt’s Mom: His Comrades Knew He Was Gay, And They Didn’t Care

Capt. Andrew Wilfahrt, who was killed in Afghanistan last month when an IED exploded, will be remembered by his family and loved ones for being a brave American. And a wonderful gay man. The video, via the Courage Campaign, features an interview with Andrew’s parents Lori and Jeff, who lament about Andrew’s forced re-closeting when he enlisted, though “people in his unit knew he was gay … and nobody cared,” says Lori. That’s what Andrew himself said when he talked to his mom: “Everyone knows, nobody cares.” Bless these parents, who are speaking so openly about one part of their son — the one part the U.S. military continues to forces gay soldiers to hide. “The Army has been very good to this family,” says Jeff. “They have treated us well. They have been respectful. They have been there for us. And I really do appreciate it.”

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  • Mick

    Queerty… I hate to be one of those guys, but you gave him quite the posthumous promotion there. Corporal is not abbreviated “Capt.”.

  • Jeff Wilfahrt

    Mick, not to worry, his gravestone is marked SPC. so this promotion to Capt, well at least it is not in stone.

    Jeff, Andrew’s father

  • Mark

    I’m so sorry for the Wilfahrt family’s loss.

  • Soupy

    Remember how the Bush administration used the Pat Tillman story for propaganda purposes? I don’t want Andrew to be used in anyway. He is a hero. To his family, his country, and himself. And the respect and dignity of his family is the most important thing to me.

  • Jeff Wilfahrt

    @Soupy: Soupy, not to worry, unlike Tillman this story is true. I know because his dearest friend was sent out of theater to be here with us, and he was on that road with Andrew. It was a diamond layout IED, three duds, one of which his friend was atop, and one live, the one that took Andrew. This family wishes he’d darken our doorway again, but I feel more for the 3rd platoon from whose life he was so violently ripped. We are acclimated to his absence. I tell you what, these IEDs are felt around the world.
    Jeff, Andrew’s father

  • ewe

    Well i care that he was gay. Bless his soul.

  • Sarah

    Deep condolences and profound thanks to Corporal Wilfahrt’s family for his service and his sacrifice. I hope your willingness to speak publicly about his gay identity in and out of uniform will help improve the lives of other gay servicemembers. I will keep him and you in my prayers.

  • Coffee&Chicory

    My prayers for Andrew and his family. Wonderful tribute.

  • Michael

    If it helps his parents to think it, he had an influence on a lot of gay guys. I work at a gay and lesbian center and a lot of kids read this article and pondered what this guy did. I never knew Andrew, but his story is one we have all been through. We all know what it is like to go through being harassed for who we are — he chose to bear it, to modify his behavior (understandable option that some do) and to join the Army. I know his parents don’t want his legacy used for some right wing propaganda, if it is any consolation: your son’s story made him a role model for many gay and lesbian young people in America. He proved that gay people can have honor, valor, be reliable comrades to other soldiers– that your sexuality need not be the ultimate definition of who you are.

  • Rich in St Paul MN

    I agree with Michael that “…a lot of kids read this article….” For them Andrew Wilfahrt’s legacy includes being a role model for gay people to grow up and live courageous lives. For any man or woman to volunteer to be in the military takes courage. For an openly gay man to volunteer to be in the military before the repeal of the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, and become among the most capable soldiers in a war zone, took exceptional courage.

    Andrew’s parents have chosen to honor his memory by supporting marriage equality, including conversations around “Andrew’s Round Table” about voting “NO” in 2012 on an anti-gay amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution.

    For insight into our Constitutional Republic form of government and marriage equality, go to:
    Posting Organization: catoinstitutevideo
    Video: The Constitutional Case for Marriage Equality

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