Meeting my First Homosexual

A long time ago at a fort in the middle of no where called Camp Irwin, CA, I was assigned as the supply officer for a unit training up for and deploying to Vietnam. Getting all the stuff issued was a giant task but because The supply room just acted as the transfer agent, the supply room was busy but not hectic and we could train a lot. When the training got over, we had to figure out how to box all the stuff up for the trip to Vietnam. There is a Training Manual on Logistics that describes how everything must be put in the vehicles and Connex (Big metal) shipping containers. It would have been nice if all the stuff to hold the shape of stuff had been available. Perhaps somewhere in the system it was but at Camp /Fort Irwin the inserts and cardboard boxes were just flat not available.
We had a regular run to the commissary and the PX to get as many boxes as we could and the stuff began to pile up in the supply room until it was just full of stuff. To add to the piles, the supply sergeant and the head cook also had managed to acquire a bunch of things they were told were hard to get in Vietnam. (Five pound of coffee could get you a jeep in some places). We had a kid that could leave with $20.00 and come back with a jeep full of stuff and generally have $40.00 to restock the coffee fund.
One day I was just so tired I could not handle any more pressure and I went over to the Orderly Room to see if I could get some help from the Battery Commander (BC). When I got there, the First sergeant saw me headed to the BCs office and said sit down here LT (Short for Lieutenant) the Ol'e man is as mad as he can be right now. You had better leave him alone. Tell me what you need.
After a short story (explanations don't help you vent and I needed vented) the First Sgt said have I got just the man for you. He'll be over to the supply room right after lunch. Right here is where I should have stopped and thought, what is the first shirt doing helping me a lowly 2 button LT. Being an egocentric stuffed shirt, I just assumed that I deserved the help and accepted the gift without looking that gift horse in the mouth.
The young man that showed up reported to me and we gave him the job of counting everything as it got packed. He would count, recount and get it right. He managed to bring the chaos to almost a normal level. He quickly moved his cot over to the supply room and slept there at night working from first light to late every day. No one in the supply section ever complained about him and the work was getting done. He was a great help and I never once noticed what he did besides work. The Army was full of Beetle Bailey's that would go into a supply room and sleep on the blankets but this kid always finsihed a job and came right back for more to do. Even the Supply Sergeant went home at a reasonable hour each day to help his wife pack their stuff as we were leaving.
Bright and early one morning the young soldier came into the supply room wearing his Class A Dress Green uniform with nothing on it. There were no insignias, ranks or name tag anywhere. I asked him what was up. He said he was being discharged today and he would take the bus to Barstow and then one to Vegas and fly home tonight. Our supply room was at one end of the post and the bust stop for Barstow was at the other end. I told him to throw his stuff in my car and I would drive him over. I took him to the bus stop and shook his hand as I wished him good luck. He saluted me and thanked me for my kindness. When I returned to the supply room, a young soldier asked me, "Hey LT, did he kiss you good-bye?" I asked what the hell he was talking about and he said, "didn't you know he was queer?" Thats when it hit me that the 1Sgt had sent him over to get him out of the line of fire in the barracks until his discharge went through. Moving his cot out of the barracks kept him from getting beat up by the thugs in the gun sections. There is just something about the gun sections in the Active Army that draws (or selects) very physical young men for the guns. I'm sure there were some of higher intellect but the association of the others lowered their thoughts to the lowest common denominator. Homophobia is a past time that some people revel in.
I had no clue nor any reason to think poorly about that young man. I didn't hate him, and I didn't have any reason to apply any of my stupid preconceptions to him. I grew up in a poor neighborhood on the east side of Wichita. Don't get me started about all the stupid things I said and did while growing up there.
If asked, I worked with a young homosexual and found his work to be excellent. I don't get why any man would want to have sex with another man, but hey, he didn't go to Vietnam either. Hum, who was the wrongest, strongest and most stupid? Oh well, I have long since found that I have people in my close family that I love that love people of their same sex. I just treat them the same way I do all the heterosexuals. What they do in their bedroom isn't one interest to me. If they are nice to me I am nice to them. After all, isn't love and sex two different birds? MUD

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