Citizen Preview ~ Case Closed: Subject is homosexualBy Blanka Stratford
60 years after discharge, Canton airman gets the benefits he deserves ~
Editor’s note: The italicized portions have been taken from the subject’s military service record. Names have been altered for confidentiality purposes. All facts have remained the same.
U.S. AIR FORCE REPORT OF INVESTIGATION – Date: September 11, 1952. Location: Sampson Air Force Base, NY. Character: Sex Offenses … This is to certify that Captain S.J. examined Airman M.W. at the Outpatient Department of Neuropsychiatric Services … Airman M.W knows right from wrong and is able to adhere to the right. Psychiatric evaluation is not deemed possible within a reasonable length of time … It is of our opinion that the patient is homosexual and should be considered for discharge from the service under provision of AFR 35-66. No further investigative action is required.
Nearly half a century prior to the greatest foreign act of terrorism on U.S. soil — and to the exact date — Airman 3rd Class M.W was handed the above-mentioned statement from the same government he had solemnly sworn to protect. It was, without a doubt, the greatest act of domestic bombing on his soul.
One week after reading those caustic words, he refused to submit a signed statement of consent. One month later, still not one person bothered to listen to either his story or his defense. Airman M.W., like thousands of others following suit, was discharged from the United States military for being homosexual, without admittance to such standing. And like countless others who continue to hide their true identities due to the shame that was cast upon them, decades passed before he ultimately decided to ask for help and to share his story anonymously with the world.
CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE – Investigation predicated on information received from File Number XXX, to the effect that Airman M.W. possesses homosexual tendencies … Search of SUBJECT’s personal effects negative. Interview of four (4) associates reflected no knowledge of homosexuality on the part of SUBJECT. SUBJECT interrogated and executed sworn statement denying he is a homosexual.
“My entire life was uprooted in the blink of an eye,” recalled Air Force veteran M.W. during a recent telephone interview. “I couldn’t believe what had happened to me.”
Sixty years following his discharge, the 88-year-old Canton resident remembers the detailed chain of events as if it had happened yesterday.
“It’s difficult to forget something that painful,” he said. “My life was a struggle to accept and understand my identity. What I don’t understand is why other people would hold that against me…
See this week’s Canton Citizen to read more about the redemption of Airman M.W. Also, stay tuned for an upcoming Canton Community Television program hosted by Canton Veterans Agent Tony Andreotti. Watch the Cable Guide on page 2 for dates and times.
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