Keith Nolan has always has a wish to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-uncle’s experiences in fighting in Word War II.
However being born to deaf parents, meant that the young man would never pass the compulsory hearing test to gain admittance to the U.S. Army.
Determined not to give up on his dream, the 29-year-old spent a decade applying to the Army's Reserve Officers Training Corps' (ROTC) program, before he was finally allowed to audit classes.
A focused scholar he got perfect grades in his military sciences class at California State University and his superiors were so impressed they even allowed him to wear the uniform.
However in May he was once again disappointed when he could progress no further under the military’s current policy.
"All I really want to do is join the Army," said Nolan, who signed to an interpreter in an interview at the university's ROTC office.
Honoring the Irish emigrants – the story of the 'Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes'
Decorated Irish soldier loses rank after indecent exposure
An Irish scholar and soldier serves in Afghanistan
"I want to do my duty, serve my country and experience that camaraderie, and I can't, owed to the fact that I'm deaf."
He added 'I am convinced that there is a non-combat position that I can do in the military without harming our armed forces' effectiveness and readiness.'
Nolan who completed a Masters in Deaf Education, was described by Capt. Sid Mendoza, one of his supervisors on the training program as an oustanding student..
Born to deaf parents, his father, Kevin Nolan won a city council seat against a 20-year serving candidate and always taught his son to be tenacious.
More than 6,000 people have responded in support of Nolan's Facebook page, 'Commission Cadet Nolan Now.'
Log in with your social accounts:
Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:
Don't have an account yet? Register now !
Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:
Already have an account ? Log in
Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:
Make sure we gathered the correct information from you
You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.
Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: