Jack Strouss, a gay 88-year old World War II veteran speaking at a ceremony marking repeal of DADT in Atlanta, Georgia’s Piedmont Park says his fellow soldiers all knew he was gay when they went overseas — and had no problem with it. “Back then there was no such thing as ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell,’ and there was no effort to search out the sexual orientation of anyone. We were all in the same situation, with a war to win, there was no time to fret over who was gay or lesbian.”
“I actually never thought I’d live long enough to this day, but here it is, and in a firm voice, I would just like to say, about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ good riddance!,” Strouss said.
Gay Military Signal last year noted, “Mr. Jack Strouss of Atlanta, also served under General George S. Patton in the European Theater of WWII. Strouss’ transport ship was torpedoed from beneath him in the English Channel, and he was rescued by a Free French frigate. He went on to fight in the final drive to Germany and served in the Army of Occupation following the Nazi surrender. When Strouss returned home to the US, he took a job working for the US Department of Civil Service, only to be fired during the infamous McCarthy era due to his homosexuality.”
In the transcript of an oral history Strouss gave in 2005, he described his introduction to the military.
“So, I walked in and I sat down and he look, he called me by name and he said, ‘Private, do you like girls?’ I said, ‘Well, of course I like girls.’ My best friends were girls, and I love girls. ‘Next!’ That was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t tell’ in those days.”
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