Bill Smith resides in Kansas City, MO, and works as a Health Promotion Professional in higher education. Originally from New London, CT, he has lived in the American heartland for 17 years.
Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1988 as part of the Delayed Entry Program while finishing high school. He enlisted under the Army's Training of Choice Enlistment option to be trained as an Intelligence Analyst.
After Bill went to basic training in 1989 at Ft. Dix, NJ, he was shipped to advance individual training for intelligence analyst at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. In 1989, Bill was assigned to the famed 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One at Ft. Riley, KS. He was also assigned to one of the oldest artillery units in the Army: Headquarters & Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment - Hamilton's Own. In 1990, Bill was deployed with his unit to Saudi Arabia.
When the 1st Infantry Division returned to Ft. Riley in 1991, Bill was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement service during Desert Storm. In 1992, Bill was awarded an honorable discharge from active duty. He had attained the rank Specialist (E4) and had been awarded these medals in addition to the Bronze Star: Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with Three Bronze Stars, Saudi Arabian Liberation of Kuwait Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.
In 1992, Bill re-enlisted into the Army Reserve where he continued to serve as an intelligence analyst with various units in CT and KS. Soon, Bill began to realize the impact of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. He drafted a letter with assistance from the Service Members Legal Defense Network explaining that he could no longer serve with integrity because of that policy. Continuing to serve under the policy would have gone against everything the Army had taught him about integrity. Bill remained in the Army Reserves until 1997 when he was again awarded an honorable discharge.
Bill's life experience as both a gay soldier in the U.S. Army and a professional in higher education gives him a unique perspective on local, national, and global events. His blog here is intended to allow him a space to share his thoughts on various issues and an opportunity to engage in dialogue with like-minded and not so like-minded others. We're delighted that Bill has joined our community! You can browse through Bill's historical blog archives here.