Soldier of the Year: The Story of a Gay American Patriot

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Pocket Books, 1995 - Gay men - 324 pages
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As a boy growing up in Indiana and Texas, Joe Zuniga originally wanted to be a priest - the Zunigas were devout Catholics. But his family had a strong military tradition, and Joe's Mexican-American father considered military service to be the one fittingly masculine profession for his only son. Joe was offered a congressional appointment to West Point, but declined it to stay near home when his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Arriving at boot camp in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1989, Joe began a military career that took off at an astounding pace. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm he excelled as both a journalist and a combat medic, earning decorations in both capacities, and rose rapidly to the rank of sergeant. After the war, Joe married to avoid questions about his personal life, and landed a plum assignment as editor of the newspaper at the Presidio of San Francisco, where he won both Journalist of the Year and Soldier of the Year. Joe appeared to be on a fast track to the Pentagon, his future in the military assured. Then he tired of living a lie. Picking up where Randy Shilts' Conduct Unbecoming leaves off, Soldier of the Year is an intensely candid account of the homophobia and hypocrisy that pervade the American military - and much of American society. While in the Army, Joe was horrified to discover the gestapo-like treatment of gays in the military, but was heartened by President Clinton's early pledges to open the ranks of the armed forces to all men and women, gay or straight. Joe felt that by very publicly coming out of the closet he could help make a difference. He could not have imagined the byzantine punishments the Army had in store for him - norClinton's political retreat that resulted in the infamous "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy. The Soldier of the Year was discharged. Honest and unflinching, Soldier of the Year is a powerful report from the front lines of a heated controversy that shows no signs of abatin

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SOLDIER OF THE YEAR: The Story of a Gay American Patriot

User Review  - Kirkus

The 1992 recipient of the Soldier of the Year award, who saw a brilliant Army career crumble when he decided to come out of the closet, breathlessly recaptures the events surrounding his sensational ... Read full review

Soldier of the year

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Sixth Army Soldier of the Year for 1992, Zuniga was discharged from the U.S. Army after coming out as a gay man at the 1993 March on Washington for gay and lesbian rights. A journalist before and ... Read full review

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About the author (1995)

Miller reports about conflict and culture in the American Southwest and Latin America. He has lectured often about the border in United States and Mexico, and he has taught writing to students from grade school to college in both countries.

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