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Jack and Bob, Two Vets
Fifty Two Years and Counting

By Denny Meyer

Bob Claunch and Jack Reavley have been together for fifty two years of blissful mutual love since they met in the midst of the Korean War.  They have shared every moment for over half a century; first owning and operating a radio station together in Raymond, Washington for 23 years, and later having second careers in the motion picture industry in Los Angeles.

Bob was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the third child of a family that frequently moved around the country due to his father's work.  Settling in Indianapolis, Indiana in his teenage years, he attended a Catholic high school there.  Bob very much wanted to serve his country; his older brother had been killed in battle in World War II, leaving behind two small children.  Despite being at first denied due to a heart condition, he was determined to do the right thing in his life by offering his service as his brother had done, even knowing he was somehow different from others.  Finally, after volunteering over and over, he entered the US Army in 1948 and ended up being assigned to work in American Armed Forces radio in Germany during the early occupation period following the close of the war.  Bob Claunch served honorably, leaving as a Staff Sgt in 1952.

Jack was born in Springfield, Illinois.  He and his brother and sister were all drafted into the service during World War II.  Serving, during the war as a sergeant, he trained troops in Texas.  There he eventually applied for Officers Candidate School and began a career in radio while serving in the reserves after the war.  In 1950, due to his radio broadcast experience, he was recalled to active duty to serve in Germany in Armed Forces radio in Munich.

Bob became an announcer and copy writer at the Munich headquarters, and it was there that he met Jack.  Western civilization did not collapse because these two men fell in love over  50 years ago.

After being honorably discharged within a few months of each other, Bob and Jack joined each other back in the US, traveled the country, and eventually bought a small town radio station together.  For 23 years, they broadcast local sports and community activities, ran a small theatre, and were well appreciated.  In their 50s, they moved to Los Angeles and began careers in movies as extras and character actors in feature films and situation comedies, playing the roles of wise middle-aged doctors and judges, among others.

Bob and Jack do not see themselves as activists.  They have lived good decent faithful lives together and would simply like to have the same rights as any other Americans.  Jack at 85, and Bob at 83, are most concerned about the other getting his social security benefits, depending on who passes away first.   At present, of course, the right to that benefit does not exist for them despite all the years that they have been together.  Both being proud veterans who served their country, each is eligible for veterans benefits, but as individuals.

Hopefully, these two men, who faithfully served their country, will live to see their love and rights recognized.

  2009  Gay Military Signal