WWII Vet Wants DADT Repealed

27 Oct

USS St. George (Wikipedia)

As the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell hangs in the balance, we here at Talk About Equality believe that telling our stories will continue to change the world we live in.

From BND.com, we’d like to share the story of Calvin Fritz. Now 84 years old, Calvin served on the U.S.S. St. George in World War II. He first learned about gay men in his unit during a battle drill. He was 18 and his ship was in areas that were threatened by Japanese Kamikaze fighter planes.

“We had a general quarters call…Sailors had to run to their battle stations on the ship. I had to go through the chain locker where they keep the anchor. I stepped over a couple of guys on the floor. I knew one of the guys. I didn’t know much about anything like that, but I kept running.”

It was later when he passed that guy in a corridor he asked, “What about that back there?”

The man’s answer was, “You think I would do that if I had a choice?”

Later the man told Fritz that he felt like that was how God had made him, and he had always been that way.

“He was a fightin’ son-of-a-gun,” Fritz said. He was a big guy, and strong. He could have beaten me up. He was brave, and in as much risk of dying in battle as I was.”

“I’ve thought about that all my life,” Fritz said. “I don’t think it makes a difference.”

We frequently hear stories of the older generation not being on board with equality for LGBT people. But between the incredible Philip Spooner (video below) and now Carl Fritz – it’s become clear that we need to keep talking. I once told someone that I wasn’t out to my grandmother because she just wouldn’t understand and it was better for her not to know. My friend replied, “Does she vote?” I nodded. He said “Then she needs to know who her grandson is.”


3 Responses to “WWII Vet Wants DADT Repealed”

  1. theconfirmedbachelor October 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    That’s pretty hard-core. I’ve talked to older ex-military queers and they say queerness was never in the public eye the way it is now… it just wouldn’t have occurred to most troops that there might be a queer person on the ship.

    Good point about the grandmother at the end. I’m not out to mine because I don’t want to fray her fragile nerves — but she’s a ballot-waving Tea Party sonofagun. I think I’m gonna bring it up.

  2. blackwatertown November 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    Good post. Very timely and interesting.

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