Sergeant Major William Bowles had an amazing career that stretched from Post-Word War II Germany as a young signals operator, to becoming one of the original members of the Special Forces Regiment.  As a Special Forces Communications Sergeant he deployed to South Korea, conducted a top-secret mission to Laos, and was with the first two ODA’s to arrive in Vietnam.

Thankfully, he recorded his experiences in a fictionalized manner, names changed to protect the innocent, in his novel, Covert Loves.  I was honored to have the chance to ask Sergeant Major Bowles a few questions after reading his book last month.

JM: In your book Covert Loves you write about the period in which the US Army desegregated. While there was some presumption that this would create chaos in the ranks it seems that it was a far cry from the apocalyptic scenario that some would have believed. It struck me that this was also the case with the recent repealing of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” now allowing gays to serve openly in the military which has also shown its self to be a non-issue. What do you think this says about the United States military? Are we sometimes more progressive than the media and the public would give us credit for?

WB: I think that it says that the military is an equal opportunity career, It also says that the military follows the US laws while it’s members do give up some rights upon entering the military. Discipline is the name of the game and the military demands and enforces it to its everlasting credit.

The military is not a society for testing social programs and trends. The military since WWII has been in the forefront in conforming to and enforcing lawful social changes within the military.

JM: As a young man deployed to Post-Word War II Germany you describe the awful conditions that the Germans were living in and the social effect that the war had on the civilian population. What did the war do to the Germans? Not just the destruction if infrastructure, but what was the effect you witnessed on the German psyche at this time?

WB: They were all mostly destitute, stunned and bewildered by the end of the war, their country divided, families and homes gone forever. The introduction of the “Marshall Plan,” gave them hope once more.

JM: What path did you take from being a Signals Sergeant to getting into Special Forces? Special Forces was a new and untested unit at that time so what motivated you to sign up?