Randy Miller always wanted to be a soldier. In 2004, he achieved that when he enlisted and was assigned to the elite 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He volunteered to be a paratrooper, not the safest of choices. He made 22 jumps and, along the way, picked up two Army Achievement Medals and a Combat Infantryman Badge.
One of the jumps didn’t go so well. Miller’s parachute didn’t open, and the backup only partially opened. He hit the ground pretty hard after falling from 900 feet, but walked away, though not uninjured. He didn’t know it, but he had torn the meniscus in his knee.
Then he was shipped off to Iraq, where he served from the winter of 2005 until the spring of 2006. Upon his return, his knee having gotten much worse (the meniscus tear increased to four times it’s original size) he went to a bunch of military doctors, none of whom did anything.
One fateful night, Miller was in a gay bar when he was propostioned by a male soldier. When he rejected the soldier’s advance, the propositioning soldier told Miller’s superior that he was gay.
So Miller was left with a choice – lie about who he is, or tell the truth and see his career ruined, his life forever altered. There was never a choice as far as Miller was concerned. He admitted he was gay, and got booted just days before the completion of his second year. Because of this, Miller had to repay his signing bonus, which of course he’d already spent. Also, whenever Miller applies for a job, his employer will know the reason for his “honorable” discharge because it is stated within the discharge papers.
Miller’s response? “I loved the Army. I’ve been trying to get back in, but I can’t. I never got in trouble for anything.” He’s now working for the U.S. Census Bureau. Miller plans to enroll in college to become an emergency medical technician. I’m sure the people whose lives he saves will shudder at his sexual orientation. You can read more here in Joe Goldeen’s piece for The Record.