We also strive for providing a path for "reconnection" for the many LGBT USAFA alumni who have over time been disassociated from the Academy and the AOG because of their sexuality or gender identity.
This is an exciting time for all of us as we enter the last phase of the repeal of DADT. Less than 60 days to go when so many of you can rest a little easier knowing your career is more secure. We know that much work remains to ensure that implementation goes well. There is also much work ahead to secure equal rights for our spouses and families. So we will celebrate this victory and continue with the work in front of us.
We will officially celebrate this victory at our annual dinner and Board Meeting on November 5th at the Air Force Academy. Please join us at Doolittle Hall on that evening for a fun.... yet a little less formal dinner celebration. Our theme this year is "A Celebration of Equality." We plan to tailgate at the Army Football game, cheer on the Falcons at the game, then head up the hill to Doolittle to celebrate the win over Army and celebrate the death of DADT.
So please save the date, plan to come to Colorado for the game and the dinner, and plan to have a great time with us there. We will be releasing more details in the next couple of weeks so check you email and keep an eye on the website.
Thanks for all your support!
To Our Membership:
As you all know this year marks the beginning of a new era for our LGBT military family. In just a few more weeks .... end of June maybe... DADT will draw its final desperate gasp and die. It will be a time long remembered and long overdue.
Blue Alliance has continued to work in our role as a support organization for LGBT graduates and cadets of USAFA. Recently we have done interviews with AP and NPR that have been widely disseminated. But more importantly we have been working with the office of Congressman Jared Polis to further our relationship with the Academy Administration. Congressman Polis is on the Board of Visitors and was the guest speaker at our dinner last year.
For this coming year we have set two new goals to go along with our day to day mission. First we intend to get Affinity Status with the AOG as quickly as we can. Our application will be presented at the next AOG Board meeting in May. To help us with this effort, we need to have 25 signatures from our membership on the application. If you would like to be a signatory please respond back to me here. Karl Alverez is currently working on the application and will contact you about the signature we need.
Second: We want to become a significant asset to the Administration and the Board of Visitors as they implement the repeal of DADT. This goal may be harder to achieve but we are already making headway.
In our continuing role as a social networking organization.... we have a big weekend planned at the Academy in November! Our annual dinner and Board Meeting will be held at USAFA on Army weekend. So save the dates... Nov 4th, 5th and 6th to come to Colorado Springs! We will be asking the AOG to allow the dinner at Doolittle this year and we expect to get it. We had a great dinner last year and plan to have this one be even bigger and better. Also, plan to attend the Army game on Saturday because we plan to invite Knights Out to tailgate with us for the event. There will be mandatory fun had by all!
As always we thank each of you for your support. In order for us to continue in our efforts we need a little help. We are asking for a voluntary suggested donation of $50 to Blue Alliance to keep us funded for another year. You can make a fully tax deductible donation at the website and it will be much appreciated. Your Board's work is totally voluntary and your entire donation will go to support our mission.
Again, thanks to all and if you would like to help with any future projects please let us know.
Right now, the top military brass, and the Obama administration are hammering out the details of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's the policy banning gays from serving openly. Leaders at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs say they’re preparing for a smooth transition once the change goes into effect. Captain Greg Mooneyham graduated from the Academy in 1987. He also expects a smooth transition. Mooneyham's affiliated with the group The Blue Alliance, which is a networking group for gays and lebsians who've attended the Academy. He talks with Ryan Warner.
Listen to the broadcast here on Colorado Public Radio
By DAN ELLIOTT
DENVER (AP) — The Air Force Academy will make a smooth transition when the military ends its "don't ask, don't tell" rule this year despite a history of problems in the academy's treatment of women and religious minorities, according to gay and lesbian alumni.
"I don't think it's going to be a big issue, honestly," said Greg Mooneyham, a 1987 academy graduate and executive director of the Blue Alliance, an association of gay and lesbian alumni. "I think the (AFA) administration is going to do the right thing."
The Defense Department is moving to lift the ban on openly gay and lesbian service members by the end of the year at the direction of Congress and President Barack Obama, but timetables for training and implementation aren't final.
On Friday, the Pentagon distributed training guidelines to top officials of each service branch and ordered them to report on their progress every two weeks starting March 1.
Air Force Academy officials said last week they couldn't discuss their preparations because they were waiting for guidance from Air Force higher-ups. But the academy superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michael
Gould, told cadets, faculty and staff in late January that "we will get this right."
"We will follow the letter of the law, and we will follow the spirit of the law, and we will do it together," Gould said in remarks quoted on the academy's website.
Commanders at the school outside Colorado Springs have confronted other tolerance issues over the past decade. A 2003 scandal prompted the ouster of top academy leaders after female cadets said they were ignored or ostracized by commanders when they reported sexual assaults by other cadets.
Reports in 2004 and 2005 found chaplains and other officials had been proselytizing cadets in settings in which such actions were forbidden by school rules and that the academy failed to accommodate the religious needs of some cadets and staff.
Mooneyham, who went on to pilot A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft before leaving the Air Force as a captain in 1994, said history "sometimes makes you wonder" whether the school's tolerance issues have been settled. While gay and lesbian cadets should encounter few problems overall, Mooneyham predicted,
they may run into obstacles in individual areas such as athletics or appointments to leadership roles in the cadet wing, as the student body is called.
"Are you going to have some kid who doesn't know any better do something stupid? Yes," he said. "They're not going to have all 1.4 million (personnel in all the services) on board."
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, an openly gay congressman and member of the academy's Board of Visitors, predicts gay and lesbian cadets will get a better welcome than did the first women admitted to the academy in 1976. Some women in the first co-ed class reported harassment and said male colleagues attributed their promotions to tokenism.
"There's a very high degree of professionalism in the Air Force Academy, as well as in the Air Force as a whole," said Polis, D-Colo.
The Board of Visitors reports to Congress and the Pentagon about academy matters.
Trish Heller, a 1987 graduate who is on the Blue Alliance board, said the academy and other service schools have invested time and thought to the transition.
"You're going to have your hiccups, just like anything. I don't expect it will be completely smooth sailing," said Heller, who left the Air Force about five years ago as a lieutenant colonel after piloting cargo planes and working on Capitol Hill as an adviser to a senator.
"I welcome today's vote by the Senate clearing the way for a legislative repeal of the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' law.
"Once this legislation is signed into law by the President, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully. This effort will be led by Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and himself a retired Marine Corps major general and infantry officer.
"The legislation provides that repeal will take effect once the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that implementation of the new policies and regulations written by the Department is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. As I have stated before, I will approach this process deliberately and will make such certification only
after careful consultation with the military service chiefs and our combatant commanders and when I am satisfied that those conditions have been met for all the Services, commands and units.
"It is therefore important that our men and women in uniform understand that while today's historic vote means that this policy will change, the implementation and certification process will take an additional period of time. In the meantime, the current law and policy will remain in effect.
"Successful implementation will depend upon strong leadership, a clear message and proactive education throughout the force. With a continued and sustained commitment to core values of leadership, professionalism and respect for all, I am convinced that the U.S. military can successfully accommodate and implement this change, as it has others in history."
U.S. Department of Defense
Rep. Jared Polis speaking to the members of Blue Alliance
On Friday, Nov 12th 2010, Blue Alliance, honored the most overlooked members of our military--our LGBT community. Speaking at this Dinner event, Congressman Jared Polis, D-CO, an openly gay man and a member of the Academy Board of Visitors, called this evening a courageous occasion, and asked for a bridge of cooperation among us all to end the current policy. There were over 30 Alumni and their guests in attendance at the dinner which was held at the Westin Resort in the Denver Area. Blue Alliance founder and past president Darrel Slack, '85 was amazed, "Never in my dreams did I think this event would happen so soon, with such dignity, with such poise." Indeed, the evening was amazing, and room filled with a palpable energy. Paul Sanders '98 commented "It was amazing to be in a room of such highly talented, ambitious, courageous people, I am proud to be a member of this organization and even prouder of what we are doing both individually and collectively as Blue Alliance." Dr Regina Brown '85 added, "this evening has fostered new relationships and friendships, creating an energy of outreach--it's the scared cadet who feels they have no where to turn, it is our fellow graduate who may be facing a difficult situation surrounding the don't ask don't tell policy (DADT) or the Academy itself as it is faced with issues surrounding the policy, the members of Blue Alliance are reaching out."
As the evening closed, the focus turned to the future and current Blue Alliance President Greg Mooneyham '87 declared, "Next year, let's double the attendance and hold it at the Academy. Seconds after a spontaneous toast erupted from the membership "Next Year USAFA!!". Members of the board met the next day and committed to the dinner next year at USAFA on Veterans Day 2011. We call our entire membership to make the same commitment and share what is certain to be an even more amazing evening! As Congressman Polis pointed out, it is only a matter of time before the policy is overturned.
We want your comments on the dinner so please post.
At Blue Alliance, we believe that increasing the knowledge and understanding of LGBT individuals will greatly help to reduce fear and prejudice and will also help to enable more dignity and respect.
We hope for a time when the military service of LGBT individuals is recognized without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. However, because that day is not yet here, military members of Blue Alliance may only participate anonymously. Because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, they are prohibited from publicly or professionally acknowledging this fundamental aspect of their personal identity.
Your fellow Academy alumni, who are required to serve in silence, need your help to obtain more of the the dignity and respect they have earned by serving their country with honor. Please express your support for our cadets and our fellow grads by adding your name to the Straight Allies page which simply says:
We value dignity and respect
for all members of the USAFA community.