Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt | Gay American Hero Killed in Action

By Jonathan Mills

In an earlier article in OutServe Magazine, we shared an intimate, heart-wrenching moment during the 2011 Armed Forces Leadership Summit in Las Vegas.

Editor David Small writes, “Just before the ban on openly gay troops ended, Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, who was gay, died by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. His parents, Lori and Jeff Wilfahrt, spoke about their experiences, their son and gay rights issues during the closing events of the OutServe’s Armed Forces Leadership Summit.”

As Cpl Wilfahrt’s parents took to the podium during the Summit’s culmination dinner, every single person in attendance put down their silverware, turned their chairs toward the stage, and a solemn hush descended over the crowd of nearly 250 military personnel, veterans and supporters in attendance. “…His death is no more or less significant than other soldiers killed in wars, but ‘Gay Soldier Killed in Afghanistan’ is a compelling headline and confounding story for some people,” said Mrs. Wilfahrt, who remarked that being gay was the least interesting thing about her son.

Watch the video of that inspirational tribute at the 2011 OutServe Armed Forces Leadership Summit here:

Inspired by his son’s service, Cpl. Wilfahrt’s father, Jeff Wilfahrt, is now challenging Rep. Kurt Bill’s seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives this fall. In a blog post by Jessica Lussenhop, his campaign letter reads, “I turn to you hoping you recognize that my wife and I have put ourselves forward to advance the protection of the MN Constitution and keep discriminatory amendments out of that document,” he writes. “I intend to work for progressive causes here at the state level.”

Thank you, Jeff and Lori, for your son’s service. And thank you for carrying on your son’s legacy.

About Jonathan Mills

Jonathan Mills, an active-duty Radio Frequency Transmissions technician, is the executive editor of OutServe Magazine, and is stationed in Washington, D.C. His blog posts focus on organizational perspectives and highlight open service and equality in the Armed Forces.

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  1. Michael
    February 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    I thank the Wilfahrts for their service!

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